Katherine Bruce-Lockhart (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in History at the University of Waterloo. Previously, she was a SSHRC/CHCI Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute and the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
My research critically examines the afterlives of colonial carceral institutions, particularly prisons and detention camps. I historicize the ways in which the prison became a global institution, linking this to wider discussions about and movements for decolonization and prison abolition. My book, Carceral Afterlives: Prisons, Detention, and Punishment in Postcolonial Uganda, brings together social history, political history, and critical prison studies to analyze how prisons and other colonial carceral spaces persisted after independence and critique their ongoing existence. I have also done work on how gendered perceptions of deviancy impacted colonial punishment in Kenya, focusing specifically on the detention camp system in the 1950s.
I am currently working on several new projects. The first examines why governments around the globe have released prisoners en masse throughout history, as has been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. Another traces the role of the United Nations in shaping international penal discourses and policies in the second half of the twentieth century. I am also working on a comparative study that critically analyzes British colonial penal policies and practices on the African continent, and I am co-editing a special issue of Punishment & Society entitled “African Penal Histories in Global Perspective.”
In my research, teaching, and community engagement, I focus on how history can inform and impact ongoing struggles for justice and liberation, such as through my work on a reparations case between Kenyans who experienced colonial violence in the 1950s and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, archival accessibility projects in Uganda, and community work on prisoners’ rights and prison abolition. My teaching is grounded on student-centered learning and ongoing engagement with critical, anti-racist, and decolonial pedagogies. I am part of the Department of History’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (HART).
- PhD History, University of Cambridge
- MSc. African Studies, University of Oxford
- BA (Honours), University of Toronto
Research, Teaching, and Supervision Interests:
- Global History
- History of prisons and punishment
- Critical Prison Studies
- African History
- Gender History
- Social History
- Critical Archive Studies
- Oral History
- HIST263 - The Age of Revolution: Europe in the 19th Century
- HIST322 - Global History of the Detention Camp
- HIST323 - Global History of the Prison
- HIST422 - Incarceration and Resistance in South Africa During Apartheid
- HIST605 - Global Governance in Historical Perspective
Selected Awards and Honours
- President's Excellence Award in Research, University of Waterloo
- Distinguished Scholar Award, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
- Alice Wilson Award, Royal Society of Canada
- SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship
- Gates Cambridge Scholarship, University of Cambridge
- Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine. Carceral Afterlives: Prisons, Detention, and Punishment in Postcolonial Uganda. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2022.
- Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine. Decolonising State and Society in Uganda: The Politics of Knowledge & Public Life, forthcoming in 2022 with Boydell & Brewer
Journal Articles and Book Chapters:
- Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine. “Prisoner releases in postcolonial Uganda: Power, politics, and the public.” Incarceration: An international journal of imprisonment, detention and coercive confinement 3:1 (2022): 1-20.
- Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine. “The Archival Afterlives of Prison Officers in Idi Amin’s Uganda: Writing Social Histories of the Postcolonial State.” History in Africa 45 (2018): 245-274.
- Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine and Jonathon L. Earle. “Uganda Studies and Researching Institutional Life in Modern Africa.” History in Africa 45 (2018): 175-191.
- Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine. “Reconsidering Women’s Roles in the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya, 1952-1960.” In Decolonization and Conflict: Colonial Comparisons and Legacies. Edited by Martin Thomas and Gareth Curless, 227-256.London: Bloomsbury, 2017.
- Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine. “The ‘Truth’ about Kenya: Connection and Contestation in the 1956 Kamiti Controversy.” Journal of World History 26:4 (2015): 815-838.
- Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine. “‘Unsound’ minds and broken bodies: the detention of ‘hardcore’ Mau Mau women at Kamiti and Gitamayu Detention Camps in Kenya, 1954-1960.” Journal of Eastern African Studies 8:4 (2014): 590-608. Reprinted in Politics and Violence in Eastern Africa: The Struggles of Emerging States. Edited by David M. Anderson and Øystein H. Rolandsen. London: Routledge, 2015.
Media and Reports:
- Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine. “More than a million prisoners have been released during COVID-19, but it’s not enough.” The Conversation. November 9, 2021.
- Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine. “How politics have played a big role in the release of prisoners.” The Conversation. June 15, 2020.
- Unlawful Killings in Africa. Collaboration between the Centre for Governance and Human Rights (Cambridge) and UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions. June 2014, contributing researcher and author.