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Anna Bruzzone

Ph.D., Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

I left Warwick in September 2019 to take up a Lectureship at Oriel College, University of Oxford. I can be contacted at anna.bruzzone@oriel.ox.ac.uk

https://www.oriel.ox.ac.uk/people/dr-anna-bruzzone

Background

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Bologna, in Italy, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Masters’ degree in Modern European History. I was also awarded an Advanced Diploma of Interdisciplinary Studies by Collegio Superiore, the School of Excellence of the University of Bologna. I then obtained a Master's degree in Political Science, African Studies, from Panthéon-Sorbonne University - Paris I. I successively worked as a research analyst for a French consultancy firm specialising in emerging markets, as a teaching assistant on the Europe-Africa Programme at Sciences Po, Paris, and as a junior research consultant for the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). In the meantime, I studied Arabic language and culture at the French National Institute of Oriental Languages (INALCO) in Paris, in Yemen and Syria. I then returned to History to write a doctoral thesis on territoriality, trade, and politics in the Somalia-Kenya borderlands during the colonial period. I defended my thesis in June 2019.

Research

I am presently adapting my thesis, entitled 'Territorial appropriation, trade and politics in the Somalia-Kenya Borderlands (c.1925-1963): state formation in transnational perspective' for publication as a monograph. It was funded by the University of Warwick through a Chancellor’s Scholarship and was jointly supervised by Professor David M. Anderson and Professor Daniel Branch. As part of my doctoral research, I travelled to archives in Kenya, Italy, and the U.K. and conducted multiple series of oral interviews in Nairobi, in various locations in north-eastern Kenya, and in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

My thesis examines the process of state formation in the Somalia-Kenya borderlands during the colonial period from a transnational perspective, focusing on the linkages between competing modes of territorial appropriation, trans-border trade, and the negotiation of political authority at the intersection of different geographies of power. Spanning four decades, from 1925, when the current Kenya-Somalia border was drawn, until independence (1960 in Somalia and 1963 in Kenya), my thesis highlights the dynamics of power, collusion, and resistance which regulated the distribution of resources and shaped political subjectivities on the colonial frontier, at the junction of British, Italian, and Ethiopian imperialisms in eastern Africa. My thesis pushes further a recent trend in the study of borderlands across the African continent increasingly challenging the notion that the margins of states are peripheral to state formation. Unlike other borderlands in Africa, however, the Somalia-Kenya borderlands haven’t so far been approached as an historical system in its own right, although this region constitutes a dynamic agglomeration composed of cross-border social, economic and political networks. My thesis challenges much of the existing literature on state formation and decay in the Somali-speaking parts of eastern Africa by envisaging factors which are usually associated with a-historical notions of identity and culture as social processes grounded in history, in local, regional and colonial economies, and in global reconfigurations of power. In so doing, my research seeks to de-exoticise state formation in the Somalia-Kenya borderlands and to situate it within the broader intellectual debates on the historicity of the state in Africa, on the one hand, and on the notion of entangled history, on the other hand.

Bringing to light new archival research and drawing on insights from across the social sciences, my thesis seeks to explore the role of the transnational as an integral part of the historical genesis of the state. By putting the specificities of the two state peripheries in relation to each other, to their respective centres, and to the wider international context, my thesis rejects the prevailing argument that the state was doomed to fail in these borderlands due to its imported origin and to in-conducive cultural and ecological conditions. It shows, instead, that historically contingent power relations shaped politics in this region in a way that undermined the state’s legitimacy and the borderlanders’ trust in state institutions. Challenging the idea that state formation was a unidirectional process from which the borderlanders attempted to escape, my thesis demonstrates that the local negotiation of authority and access to resources influenced socio-economic relationships and political options in the ‘periphery’, and that these, in turn, contributed to shaping the character of the emerging nation-states in both Somalia and Kenya.

My broader interests include imperial borderlands in the 19th and 20th centuries, colonial empires, resistance, and decolonisation in Africa, and contemporary politics in Eastern Africa, particularly Somalia.

Employment

  • 2019-2020 | College Lecturer in European & World History (1800-2000), Oriel College, University of Oxford
  • 2019 Michaelmas Term | Tutor for Modern Africa (c.1945-present), Middlebury College-CMRS Oxford Humanities Program
  • 2018-2019 | Seminar Tutor, University of Warwick
  • 2016-2017 | Seminar Tutor, University of Warwick
  • 2013 | Teaching assistant, Europe-Africa Programme, Sciences Po, Paris.

Education

  • 2014-2019 | Ph.D. in History, University of Warwick
  • 2007-2008 | MRes in Political Science, African Studies, Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris I
  • 2005-2007 | MA in Modern European History (cum laude), University of Bologna
  • 2002-2007 | Advanced Diploma of Interdisciplinary Studies, Collegio Superiore, School of Excellence of the University of Bologna, Italy
  • 2002-2007 | BA in History (cum laude), University of Bologna

Publications

  • ‘Territory and Belonging in the Kenya-Somalia Borderlands: Negotiating Political Authority in Wajir, c.1912-1963’, in Beyond Dispossession: Spatial Appropriations in Modern Empires, 1820-1960, ed. by Didier Guignard and Iris Seri-Hersch (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019), pp. 101-127.
  • ‘Somalia: Recent History’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2020, 49th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2019), pp. 1099-1114.
  • ‘Somalia: Economy’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2020, 49th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2019), pp. 1114-1118.
  • ‘Somalia: Recent History’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2019, 48th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2018), pp. 1101-1114.
  • ‘Somalia: Economy’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2019, 48th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2018), pp. 1114-1118.
  • ‘Somalia: Recent History’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2018, 47th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2017), pp. 1076-1088.
  • ‘Somalia: Economy’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2018, 47th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2017), pp. 1089-1092.
  • ‘Somalia: Recent History’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2017, 46th Edition, ed. Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2016), pp. 1075-1087.
  • ‘Somalia: Economy’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2017, 46th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2016), pp. 1087-1090.
  • ‘Somalia: Recent History’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2016, 45th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2015), pp. 1094-1104.
  • ‘Somalia: Economy’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2016, 45th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2015), pp. 1105-1108.
  • ‘Somalie, la renaissance manquée’, Politique Africaine, 132 (2013/14), pp. 161-174.

Select conference & seminar papers

  • ‘Amnesty and impunity in Kenya’s Shifta War, 1962-1971’, co-authored with Prof David M. Anderson, Leverhulme Research Network ‘Understanding Insurgencies’ Workshop on ‘Amnesty to counter insurgency: global comparisons in the colonial context since 1945’, Global History & Culture Centre, University of Warwick, 14-15 June 2018.
  • ‘Colonial order, territoriality and power in the Kenya-Somalia borderland: the case of Wajir district (c.1912-1963)’, International Conference on ‘Appropriating space in colonial and imperial contexts’, Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l'homme, Aix-en-Provence, 12-14 June 2017.
  • ‘The fabrication of history and the politics of land: new archival evidence on Italian decolonisation in Somalia (1950-1960)’, Warwick Postgraduate History Conference, University of Warwick, 1-2 June 2017.
  • ‘Secessionism and state formation in the Kenya-Somalia borderland, c. 1960-1963: popular mobilisation, alliances and conflicts’, Research Workshop on ‘Edgy states and boundary crossers: borders and borderlands in the ‘Short Twentieth Century’’, St Hugh’s College, Oxford, 19 May 2017.
  • ‘Land, trade and power in the Jubba Valley under Italian Trusteeship (1950-1960): a critical perspective on the formation of the Somali state’, African History Seminar, Durham University Centre for Contemporary African History (DUCCAH), Durham, 21 February 2017.
  • ‘Sovereignty at the edge of empires: colonial conquest, authority and power in the Somalia-Kenya borderlands, 1889-1930’, Colonial/Postcolonial New Researchers’ Workshop, Institute of Historical Research, London, 16 January 2017.
  • ‘Livelihoods, markets and power: terroirs and state formation in the Somalia-Kenya borderlands (c. 1925-1963)’, QUB History Seminar, Queen’s University, Belfast, 9 December 2016.
  • ‘The making of the Somalia-Kenya borderlands: boundary politics, trade and the emergence of colonial regimes of territorialisation (1925-1930)’, BIEA Nairobi Seminar Series, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi, 9 June 2015.
  • ‘Drawing the line between friends and foes: the politics of colonial pacification in Jubaland (1890-1925)’, Horn of Africa Seminar, African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, 11 November 2014.

Major scholarships

2014-2018 | Chancellor's Scholarship, University of Warwick.

2005-2007 | Postgraduate Scholarship, Collegio Superiore, School of excellence of Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, Italy.

2002-2005 | Undergraduate Scholarship, Collegio Superiore, School of excellence of Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Italy.

Events organised

Public engagement

I have written on contemporary politics in Somalia and Kenya for African Arguments, a multi-blogging platform run by the Royal African Society, and Focus on the Horn.

In December 2015, I was invited to the French Ministry of Defence, in Paris, to participate in a round table on Somalia, where I gave a presentation entitled ‘Whose state? A critical perspective on federalism and state building in Somalia’.



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Anna Bruzzone

anna dot bruzzone at oriel dot ox dot ac dot uk

https://www.oriel.ox.ac.uk/people/dr-anna-bruzzone