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    Emily Susan Burrill
    208 Smith Bldg
    CB #3135
    Chapel Hill, NC 27599
    work919-962-3908 (phone)
    fax919-962-5839 (fax)
    Associate Professor


    B.A., Anthropology, Mount Holyoke College, 1997

    M.A., History, University of Vermont, 2001

    Ph.D., History, Stanford University, 2007

    Areas of interest:

    modern African history, legal and gender history, Muslim societies and French colonial rule, French empire, global histories of women’s rights, postcolonialism, feminist theory.


    Emily Burrill’s research centers on twentieth century francophone West Africa and histories of gender and power within colonial and postcolonial contexts. She is currently completing a book entitled States of Marriage: Gender, Justice, and Rights in Colonial Mali. In States of Marriage, Burrill argues that marriage is both a set of practices and debates. She examines the ways in which the contours of marriage reform in French Soudan (colonial Mali) can be traced through transformations in the colonial court system and local African engagements with state-making processes. Her second book-length project is a social and political biography of Aoua Keita, the first woman elected to the National Assembly of Mali and a professionally-trained midwife. This project is centered on the late colonial context of nationalism and labor organizing in Africa and the Global South through the 1940s-1970s. The second project addresses themes of gendered expert knowledge, socialism and Muslim identity, and postcolonial feminism. Burrill is also engaged in a long-term collaborative and interdisciplinary study on the marital form in global context. She is interested in marriage as a cultural practice related to value, exchange, and belief, as well as an instrument for managing rights, obligations, and privileges between individuals and political communities.


    Select Publications:

    2010. Emily Burrill, Richard Roberts, and Elizabeth Thornberry, eds. Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa. Ohio University Press.

    2008. “‘Wives of Circumstance’: Slave Emancipation, Vulnerability, and Gender in Late Nineteenth Century Senegal," Slavery and Abolition, 29 (1): 49-64.

    2007. “Disputing Wife Abuse: Tribunal Narratives of the Corporal Punishment of Wives in Colonial Sikasso, 1930s,” Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines, 47 (3-4): 603-622.


    Teaching areas:

    Gender and Imperialism

    African Gender History

    Women and the Law in Africa and the Middle East

    Feminist Approaches to the Past

    Women and Islam in Africa

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