Department of History, Georgetown University
Department of History McKittrick@georgetown.edu
Georgetown University (202) 687-6121 (office)
37th and O Sts. NW (301) 785-0691 (mobile)
Washington, D.C. 20057 (202) 687-7245 (fax)
2003-present Associate Professor, Department of History and Edmund A. Walsh School of
Foreign Service, Georgetown University
1996-2003 Assistant Professor, Department of History and Edmund A. Walsh School of
Foreign Service, Georgetown University
1995-1996 Visiting Assistant Professor, History Department, Southwestern University
Stanford University, Stanford California
Ph.D. in History, 1995.
M.A. in History, 1992.
University of Texas, Austin
B.A. summa cum laude in History, 1989. Minor in journalism.
Current Projects The Redemption of the Kalahari: White Settler Society and the Agrarian Imagination in South Africa. Book manuscript in progress; anticipated submission to press in late 2017.
“Making Rain, Making Maps: Competing geographies of water and power in 19th-century southwestern Africa.” Invited resubmission to Journal of African History (May 2016).
“Talking about the Weather: The language of environmental crisis in South Africa, 1915-1945,” article in preparation for submission to Environmental History (April 2016). Currents of Power: A History of Three Southern African Rivers. Book manuscript in progress.
To Dwell Secure: Generation, Christianity, and Colonialism in Ovamboland, Northern Namibia.
Allan Isaacman, Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development, in International Journal of African Historical Studies 47:1 (2014), 153-55.
Giorgio Miescher, Namibia’s Red Line: The History of a Veterinary and Settlement Border, in International Journal of African Historical Studies 46:2 (2013), 337-39.
Emmanuel Kreike, Deforestation and Reforestation in Namibia: The Global Consequences of Local Contradictions, in International Journal of African Historical Studies 41:1 (2011), 167-9.
Laura Mitchell, Belongings: Property, Family and Identity in Colonial South Africa, in Journal of African History 51:1 (2010), 113-14.
Ute Dieckmann, Hai//om in the Etosha Region: A History of Colonial Settlement, Ethnicity, and Nature Conservation, in International Journal of African Historical Studies 41:3 (2008).
Sean Redding, Sorcery and Sovereignty: Taxation, Power and Rebellion in South Africa, 1880-1963, in African Studies Review 51:1 (2008), 144-145.
Märta Salokoski, How Kings Are Made – How Kingship Changes: A Study of Rituals and Ritual
Change in Pre-Colonial and Colonial Ovamboland, Namibia, in Journal of African History 48:3 (2007), 506-508.
Jeremy Silvester and Jan-Bart Gewald, Words Cannot Be Found: German Colonial Rule in
Namibia: An Annotated Reprint of the 1918 Blue Book, H-Net Reviews, 2007.
Kari Miettinen, On The Way to Whiteness: Christianization, Conflict and Change in Colonial Ovamboland, 1910-1965, in African Affairs 105:420 (2006) 490-491.
Emmanuel Kreike, Re-Creating Eden: Land Use, Environment and Society in Southern Angola and Northern Namibia, in International Journal of African Historical Studies 39:2 (2006), 311-313.
“The Measure of Atrocity: The German War Against the Hereros Revisited,” conference report in The German Historical Institute Bulletin 36 (2005).
Jean Allman, Susan Geiger, and Nakanyike Musisi, eds., Women in African Colonial Histories, on H-Net Reviews, 2004.
Axel Fleisch and Wilhelm J.G. Möhlig, The Kavango Peoples in the Past: Local
Historiographies from Northern Namibia, in International Journal of African Historical Studies 36:1 (2003): 227-228.
Jan-Bart Gewald, “We Thought We Could Be Free …”: Socio-Cultural Aspects of Herero
History in Namibia, 1915-1940, in African Affairs 101:405 (2002), 655-657.
Antti Erkilla, Living on the Land: Change in Forest Cover in North-Central Namibia 1943-1996, in International Journal of African Historical Studies 35:2/3 (2002), 625-626.
"The People's Republic of Ombalantu," The Namibian, Sept. 15, 2000 (monthly newspaper
feature designed to make academic history accessible to Namibians.)
Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution, vol. 2, in Anthropology
Quarterly 72:2 (2000), 100-101.
Research Presentations and Invited Lectures
“The Rainmaker Goes to Court.” Presented at the Georgetown African History Seminar Series, Dec. 2015.
“Murder in a Time of Famine: Life and death struggles in northern Namibia, 1933.” Presented at the African Studies Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, Nov. 2015.
“The Question to Abolish the Desert: A history of schemes on three continents.” Presented at the Global Deserts Conference, Tucson, Sept. 2015.
“Talking about the Weather: White vernaculars and agrarian crisis, 1920-1945.” Presented at the Southern African Historical Society biannual meeting, Stellenbosch, South Africa, July 2015.
“Restoring the rain: Settler knowledge and climate anxiety in South Africa, 1910-1950.” Presented at the American Society for Environmental History annual meeting, San Francisco, March 2014
“Making Rain, Making Maps: Competing geographies of power in Northern Namibia and Southern Angola.” Presented at the African History and Anthropology Workshop, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, December 2013.
“Techno-gigantism from below: The quest to flood the Kalahari, 1918-1950.” Presented at the Science and Technology Seminar, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, December 2013.
“An Empire of Rivers: Climate anxiety, imperial ambition, and the hydropolitical imagination in southern Africa, 1919-1950,” presented at Re-Figuring the South African Empire, Basel, Switzerland, Sept. 9-11 2013.
“’A Miracle in the North’: The Scheme to Flood the Kalahari, 1918-1945,” presented at the Northeastern Workshop on Southern Africa, Burlington VT, April 19 2013.
“Visual Conquests and Hidden Worlds at the River’s Edge,” presented at the African Studies Association annual meeting, Baltimore, Nov. 30 2012.
“Developing a Desert Nation: Water Procurement Schemes in the Quest for Namibian Prosperity,” presented at the World Economic History Congress, Stellenbosch, South Africa, July 12 2012.
“War by Other Means: Rivers as strategic resources in the Namibian and Angolan wars of independence,” presented at the American Society for Environmental History annual meeting, Madison, WI, March 30, 2012.
“ ‘A Miracle in the North’: The Scheme to Flood the Kalahari, 1910-1930,” presented at the African Studies Association annual meeting, San Francisco, November 19, 2010.
“Geologists, Rainmakers, and Border Guards: Constructing the Kavango River Environment,” paper presented at the Georgetown University History Department Seminar, March 2009.
“Landscapes of power: Ownership and identity on the Kavango River of Namibia,” Johns Hopkins History Seminar, 2007.
Water, sovereignty and power: Ownership and entitlement on the Kavango River,” African Studies Association, San Francisco, 2006.
Featured speaker, International Conference on Rivers and Civilization, LaCrosse, WI, 2006.
“Colonial backwater: International boundaries and political identities on the Kavango River,” Department of History, Emory University, 2005.
“Southern Africa’s History as Seen From Its Riverbanks,” Georgetown University History Department Seminar, 2005.
“Race Politics, River People, and Rational Resource Use: A Regional History of Southern Africa’s Rivers, 1945-2000,” Northeastern Workshop on Southern Africa, Burlington, Vermont, 2005.
“Defining the Kavango and Kunene: Wetland Communities, National Governments, and Riparian Politics in Historical Perspective,” African Studies Association, New Orleans, 2004.
"Securing the Land: Environmental Violence on the Namibian-Angolan Frontier," American Society for Environmental History, Victoria, British Columbia, 2004.
“The Curious River and the Problem Desert: 150 Years of Deciding What to Do With the Okavango," American Society for Environmental History, Providence, 2003.
Discussant, "Chieftaincy, Land, and Politics: Yorubaland and Asante in the 20th Century," Political Economy of Africa Revisited, Johns Hopkins University, 2002.
“‘The Wealth of These Nations’: Rain, Religion and Rulers in Northern Namibia, 1870-1910,” International Water History Conference, Bergen, Norway, 2001.
“Capricious Tyrants and Persecuted Subjects: Reading Between the Lines of Missionary Records in Pre-colonial Northern Namibia,” Pathways to Africa’s Past Conference, University of Texas, Austin, 2001.
“Killing the King: The Struggle to Control the Land in Precolonial Ombalantu, Northern Namibia,” African Environments Conference, Oxford University, 1999.
“The Right to be Human: Conflicts over Life, Death, and the Law in Colonial Northern Namibia,” Berkeley-Stanford Symposium on Law, Colonialism and Human Rights in Africa, 1999.
“Criminalizing Movement: Gender, Migrancy and the Colonial State in Ovamboland, Namibia, 1915-1955,” African Studies Association, Chicago, 1998.
“’Detribalised Natives’ and ‘Immoral Women’: Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Human Mobility in Colonial Namibia,” Making Race, Constructing History, Victoria, British Columbia, 1998.
“Recasting Generational Identities: Youth and Social Crisis in Northern Namibia, 1850-1910,” Southeastern Regional Seminar on African Studies, 1998.
“A Youthful Rebellion: Gender, Generation and the Creation of a Christian Community in Northern Namibia, 1880-1930,” African Studies Association, Columbus, Ohio, 1997.
“Disobedient Daughter: Reproduction, Agency and Social Control in Colonial Namibia,” Georgetown University History Department Seminar, 1997.
“Irrelevant Fathers? Conceptions of Matrilineality and Paternal Authority in Colonial Ovambo Society,” Berkeley-Stanford Symposium on Law, Colonialism, and Control over Children, 1997.
“Disobedient Daughters: Illegitimate Pregnancies in Colonial Northern Namibia,” African Studies Association, San Francisco, 1996.
“Housewives and Breadwinners: Transformations in the Division and Ideology of Labor in Northern Namibia, 1915-54,” American Historical Association, Atlanta, 1996.
“Generation and Gender in Northern Namibia: Social Conflict and Change in
Ombalantu and Ongandjera, 1915 to 1950,” Mobility and Containment in Namibia, 1915-45, University of Namibia, 1994.
”Reinventing the Meaning of Marriage and Kinship: Labor Contracts and Familial Obligations in Colonial Ovamboland, 1948-54,” Berkeley-Stanford Symposium on Law, Colonialism and Contracts in Africa, 1994.
“Of Media Vultures and the Ivory Tower: The Production of Images of Africa in Popular Culture,” Stanford-Berkeley Joint Centers for African Studies Spring Conference, 1994.
Awards and Fellowships
2015 Summer Academic Grant and SFS Summer Faculty Research Grant, for travel to South Africa/continuing work on book manuscript.
2015 Spring Academic Grant, for the digitization of interview tapes (for deposit into Namibian archives).
2014 SFS Fall Faculty Research Grant, for cartographic services
2014 SFS Spring Faculty Research Grant, for travel to South African archives