Dr Anna Bruzzone

Dr Anna Bruzzone
College Lecturer in History
Dr
Anna
Bruzzone
BA, MA, MRes, PhD

I studied history at the University of Bologna, in Italy. Between 2002 and 2007, I was a student of Collegio Superiore, the School of Excellence of the University of Bologna.

I then obtained a Master's degree in Political Science, African Studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University - Paris I. Later, I worked as a research analyst for a French consultancy firm specialising in emerging markets and as a teaching assistant on the Europe-Africa Programme at Sciences Po, Paris. In the meantime, I studied Arabic language and culture at the French National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations (INALCO) in Paris, in Yemen and Syria. I successively moved to Oxford to work as a research consultant for the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). I then returned to history to do a PhD at the University of Warwick.

Before coming to Oriel, I taught modern African history and nineteenth- and twentieth-century World history at the University of Warwick.

At undergraduate level, I teach nineteenth- and twentieth-century European and World history and historiography, including the general history papers EWP4, EWF11, EWF13, and EWF14. I also teach Approaches to History (Anthropology, Art, Gender, and Sociology).

I’m also a History Tutor on the Middlebury College-CMRS Oxford Humanities Program, teaching ‘Modern Africa (c.1940-present)’. I won the Program’s teaching award for Michaelmas Term 2019.

Research interests

I’m particularly interested in the entangled histories of domination, cooperation, and resistance in East African borderlands in the age of colonial Empires.

I am presently adapting my doctoral thesis, entitled ‘Territorial Appropriation, Trade, and Politics in the Somalia-Kenya Borderlands: State Formation in Transnational Perspective (c.1925-1963)’, for publication as a monograph. My thesis examines the process of state formation in these borderlands during the colonial period beyond the framework of national history, focusing on the interplay between transformations of territoriality, trans-border trade, and the negotiation of political authority at the intersection of different geographies of power. My thesis highlights the dynamics of domination, cooperation, and resistance which regulated the distribution of resources and shaped political subjectivities on the colonial frontier, at the junction of British, Italian, and Ethiopian imperialisms in Eastern Africa.

My research challenges much of the existing literature on state formation and decay in the Somali-speaking parts of Eastern Africa by envisaging factors which are usually associated with static notions of ethnicity, kinship, and cultural identity as dynamic processes grounded in history, in economic, social, and political transformations in which the state itself played a role, and in global reconfigurations of power. Bringing to light new archival research and drawing on insights from across the social sciences, my thesis seeks to explore the role of the transnational as an integral part of the historical genesis of the state. By putting the specificities of the two state peripheries in relation to each other, to their respective centres, and to the wider international context, my thesis rejects the prevailing argument that the state was doomed to fail in these borderlands due to its imported origin and to unconducive cultural and ecological conditions. It shows, instead, that historically contingent power relationships shaped politics in this region in a way that undermined the state’s legitimacy and the borderlanders’ trust in state institutions.

My broader research interests include imperial borderlands in the late nineteenth- and twentieth- centuries, slavery and its legacies in sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel, non-European responses to colonialism, and contemporary politics in Eastern Africa, particularly Somalia.

Selected publications

Existing Publications

  • ‘Territory and Belonging in the Kenya-Somalia Borderlands: Negotiating Political Authority in Wajir, c.1912-1963’, in Beyond Dispossession: Spatial Appropriations in Modern Empires, 1820-1960, ed. by Didier Guignard and Iris Seri-Hersch (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019), pp. 101-127.
  • ‘Somalia: Recent History’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2020, 49th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2019), pp. 1099-1114.
  • ‘Somalia: Economy’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2020, 49th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2019), pp. 1114-1118.
  • ‘Somalia: Recent History’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2019, 48th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2018), pp. 1101-1114.
  • ‘Somalia: Economy’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2019, 48th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2018), pp. 1114-1118.
  • ‘Somalia: Recent History’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2018, 47th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2017), pp. 1076-1088.
  • ‘Somalia: Economy’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2018, 47th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2017), pp. 1089-1092.
  • ‘Somalia: Recent History’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2017, 46th Edition, ed. Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2016), pp. 1075-1087.
  • ‘Somalia: Economy’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2017, 46th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2016), pp. 1087-1090.
  • ‘Somalia: Recent History’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2016, 45th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2015), pp. 1094-1104.
  • ‘Somalia: Economy’, in Africa South of the Sahara 2016, 45th Edition, ed. by Iain Frame (London: Europa/Routledge, 2015), pp. 1105-1108.
  • ‘Somalie, la renaissance manquée’, Politique Africaine, 132 (2013/14), pp. 161-174.

Work Accepted

  • ‘The Emergence of the Shifta Insurgency in Kenya (1960-1963): An Entangled History’, The Oxford Handbook of Colonial Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2020).
  • ‘Le courage de déplaire. Quelques réflexions sur le parcours scientifique de Roland Marchal’, Revue internationale des études du développement (forthcoming, 2020).