Katherine Bruce-Lockhart

Assistant Professor

Katherine Bruce-Lockhart Head ShotKatherine Bruce-Lockhart is an Assistant Professor in History at the University of Waterloo. Her research examines the legacies of colonial coercive institutions. Katherine’s current book manuscript, which is under advance contract with Ohio University Press in the New African Histories Series, illuminates the social history of the Uganda Prisons Service in the postcolonial period. Drawing on a range of archival, oral, visual, and media sources, it explores prison officers’ lives and professional imaginaries while also examining wider questions about the impact of the colonial encounter, the nature of the state after independence, and conceptions of penal modernity. Her previous research looked at the connections between gender, deviancy, and punishment during the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya. 

Katherine is currently working on several additional projects. These include an edited volume on the politics of knowledge production in Uganda, a comparative study of prisons in East Africa, projects on the police and military during Idi Amin’s presidency in Uganda, and a study that explores how prisons were reimagined in the Global South during the process of decolonization. Along with her research, Katherine has also worked on several archival restoration projects in Uganda, a reparations case between Kenyan citizens involved in the Mau Mau Rebellion and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and a report for the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions. 

Katherine’s research both informs and is informed by her teaching. Her pedagogical approach – which is grounded on research-driven teaching and student-centered learning – is shaped by her experiences teaching in Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. She has taught in multiple fields, including World History, African History, African Studies, Histories of Colonialism, Gender History, European History, and Research Methods.

Prior to coming to the University of Waterloo, Katherine was a SSHRC/CHCI Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute and the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga. 


  • PhD History, University of Cambridge
  • MSc. African Studies, University of Oxford 
  • BA (Honours) University of Toronto 

Research, Teaching, and Supervision Interests: 

  • African History 
  • Critical Archive Studies 
  • Gender History 
  • Histories of law, crime, punishment, and prisons
  • The politics of public memory, reconciliation, and reparations
  • Social History

Courses Taught: 

  • HIST263 – The Age of Revolution: Europe in the 19th Century  

  • HIST391 – The Global History of the Prison 

Selected Awards and Honours


Journal Articles and Book Chapters: 

Opinion Pieces & Blog Posts: 

Collaborative Research: 

  • 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. 
University of Waterloo