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Teaching Fellow: Dr Sacha Hepburn



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)


My primary research interests are histories of labour, gender and childhood in Africa. 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 book, Domestic Service, Gender and Economic Decline in 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 were 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. This book is concerned with the ways in which domestic service practices were remade after independence in response to economic decline and changing social structures. It shows how Zambians used domestic service as a ‘safety net’, reworking domestic labour relations and affiliations of kinship to secure access to resources and forge ties of obligation and support. The gender dynamics of these processes and the broader gendered shifts which reshaped the sector are of crucial importance. Men dominated domestic service at independence but found their position slowly eroded by a growing demand for women and girls’ labour. Working African women sought female kin to provide childcare, and female domestic workers increasingly played key roles in the urban and rural economy, running households and supporting themselves and their dependants. Drawing upon a wealth of documentary evidence, as well as over 100 oral history interviews with Zambian domestic workers and their employers, this book re-evaluates Zambian labour history and demonstrates the importance of female workers, kinship-based labour relations and domestic labour 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

Domestic Service, Gender and Economic Decline in Zambia (manuscript in preparation).

'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.