Katherine Bruce-Lockhart

Assistant Professor

Katherine Bruce-Lockhart Head Shot

Katherine Bruce-Lockhart 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.

Katherine’s research critically examines the legacies of colonial carceral institutions, particularly prisons. Her work historicizes the ways in which the prison became a global institution, linking this to wider discussions about decolonization and prison abolition. Katherine’s current book manuscript, which is under contract with Ohio University Press in the New African Histories Series, explores the social and political history of the prison system in postcolonial Uganda. Moving from the everyday routines of prison life to the global arena in which ideas about the prison were created and contested, this book examines the prison’s colonial origins and postcolonial persistence. Katherine’s previous research looked at the connections between gender, deviancy, and punishment in late colonial Kenya, focusing specifically on the detention camp system created by the British in the 1950s. She is also currently working on several additional projects, including an edited volume on the politics of knowledge production in Uganda Studies, projects on the police and military during Idi Amin’s regime, and two comparative projects: one that historicizes why governments choose to release prisoners en masse, as has been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic; and another that examines how prisons were reimagined and resisted across the Global South in the aftermath of formal colonial rule.

Katherine’s research both informs and is informed by her teaching, which is grounded on student-centered learning and ongoing engagement with critical and decolonial pedagogies. Along with her research and teaching, Katherine has also worked on several archival restoration projects in Uganda, a reparations case between Kenyan citizens who experienced colonial violence in the 1950s and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and a report for the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.



  • 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
  • African History 
  • Gender History 
  • Social History
  • Critical Archive Studies
  • Oral History

Courses Taught: 

  • HIST263 – The Age of Revolution: Europe in the 19th Century  
  • HIST391 – The Global History of the Prison 
  • HIST605 – Global Governance in Historical Perspective 

Selected Awards and Honours


Journal Articles and Book Chapters: 

Public Humanities: 

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