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Teaching Fellow: Dr Sacha Hepburn

Please note, I have now left the History Department. From September 2020, I will take up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Birkbeck, University of London.



Telephone: 024 76574691, internal extension 74691

Office: H3.14, Humanities Building

Office Hours: Monday 3pm-4pm, Tuesday 3pm-4pm or by appointment. Term time only, excluding reading weeks.


Academic Profile

2017-Present: Teaching Fellow in African History, University of Warwick

2016-2018: Past and Present Fellow, Institute of Historical Research

2013-2016: DPhil in History, University of Oxford

2011-2012: MA in World History, University of Manchester

2008-2011: BA in History, University of Warwick


I will teach on the following courses in 2019-20:

HI177 A History of Africa from 1800 (undergraduate first-year option module)

HI3K7 Society and Politics in Southern Africa (undergraduate final-year advanced option module)


I am a social historian of modern Africa, with particular research interests in labour, gender and childhood. More widely, I am interested in international engagement with Africa (particularly the work of NGOs and UN agencies), and in imperial and global history.

I am currently writing my first monograph, a history of domestic service in post-colonial Zambia. Domestic service has been one of the largest areas of urban employment in southern Africa since the early twentieth century, and in Zambia both adults and children have been employed as domestic workers. Not only has domestic service been a key sector of employment in the region, it has been at the centre of a number of significant social struggles – over race relations, class and status, and gendered debates over the employment of women. Drawing upon oral history and a wealth of documentary evidence, the book examines how domestic service practices both persisted and were transformed after independence in response to economic decline, structural adjustment and changing social structures. It reveals how domestic service remained central to livelihood and housekeeping strategies and how Zambians reworked domestic labour relations and affiliations of kinship to secure access to labour, resources and support. The gender dynamics of these processes and the broader gendered shifts which reshaped the sector are shown to be of crucial importance. Men dominated domestic service at independence but found their position slowly eroded by a growing demand for and supply of women and girls’ labour. Working African women sought female labour for childcare, and female domestic workers increasingly played key roles in the urban and rural economy, running households and supporting themselves and their dependants. Overall, the book re-evaluates Zambian labour history and demonstrates the importance of domestic labour, kin-based labour and female workers to post-colonial African economies.

I am in the early stages of a new research project on child labour in Zambia and Kenya from the 1880s to the present.

Key Publications

'Girlhood, Domestic Service and Perceptions of Child Labor in Zambia, c. 1980-2010', Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, 12, 3 (2019), pp. 434-451.

‘Service and Solidarity: Domestic Workers, Informal Organising and the Limits of Unionisation in Zambia’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 45, 1 (2019), 31-47.

'Bringing a Girl from the Village: Gender, Child Migration and Domestic Service in Post-Colonial Zambia', in Marie Rodet and Elodie Razy (eds), Children on the Move in Africa: Past and Present Experiences of Migration (Woodbridge: James Currey, 2016), 69-84.

Other Publications

Review of Slavery and Its Legacy in Ghana and the Diaspora, by Rebecca Shumway and Trevor R. Getz (eds), in Cultural and Social History, 16, 2 (2019), 244-245.

‘Workers or Victims? Historicising Child Labour in Africa’, Past and Future: The Magazine of the Institute of Historical Research, 24 (Autumn/Winter 2018).

Review of Abortion Under Apartheid: Nationalism, Sexuality, and Women's Reproductive Rights in South Africa, by Susanne M. Klausen, in Journal of Southern African Studies, 44, 1 (2018), 190-192.

Review of Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhood, 1860-1895, by S. E. Duff, in Journal of Southern African Studies, 43, 4 (2017), 842-843.

'Beyond the Home: new histories of domestic servants', Past & Present Blog, 22 September 2017.

Review of The Infamous Rosalie, by Évelyne Trouillot, in Women’s History Review, 24, 3 (2015), 462-464.

Review of Abina and the Important Men: a Graphic History, by Trevor R. Getz and Liz Clarke, in Women’s History Review, 23, 1 (2014), 145-146.