Nancy J. Jacobs Professor of History

I am an historian of South Africa, of colonial Africa, of the environment, of animals, and of knowledge about the environment and animals.  My works seeks out workings of power in obscure corners, in a dull South African dorp, in knowledge about birds, in everyday lives of Africans living under European rule. In once sense, I am a traditional social historian: The workings of class, race, and gender have been central to all my research. In considering those categories, I have tried to find fresh insights by looking at the environment, power/knowledge relationships, and micro political negotiations. With my current project, a transnational history of African Grey Parrots, I add species to groups that know each other, negotiate with each other, and exercise power over each other.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

selected