Jill E. Kelly

Associate Professor and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor




Office Location

Dallas Hall Room 55





Educational Background

Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2012
B.A., Saint Vincent College, 2004

Kelly CV 2023

Awards, Fellowships, and Grants

2022 Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study Writing Fellowship
2020 Altshuler Distinguished Teacher Professor Award
2020 M Award
2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant
2018 Dedman College Dean’s Research Council Grant
2017-2018 Southern Methodist University Research Council Research Grant
2016-2017 Sam Taylor Research Fellowship
2016 Engaged Learning Excellence in Mentoring Award
2015 Southern Methodist University Research Council Travel Grant 
2015 Southern Methodist University Golden Mustang Teaching Award
2015 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship
2012 Michigan State University Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship
2012 Donald Lammers Graduate Student Award
2008 Nnamdi Azikiwe Best Graduate Student Paper in African Studies (MSU African Studies)
2008 MSU Department of History Pre-Dissertation Research Grant
2007 Fulbright-Hays Zulu Group Project Abroad in South Africa
2006-2009 FLAS, MSU African Studies Center – Zulu



Articles and Chapters

  • “Nokukhanya Luthuli: South African Women’s Leader,” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History. Oxford University Press (forthcoming 2023).
  • “Collective Memory and Historical Denials: Local Conflicts during the Transition to Democracy in South Africa,” in Toyin Falola (ed.),Violence in the Postcolony: Creative Pasts and Entangled Histories (forthcoming).
  • “Land Reform for a Landless Chief in South Africa: History and Land Restitution in KwaZulu-Natal,”African Studies Review 64, no. 4 (2021): 884-908.
  • “King Zwelithini and the Historians,” with Jabulani Sithole and Liz Timbs, in South African Historical Journal 73, no. 2 (2021).
  • “In Peace and Rebellion: Inkosi Mhlabunzima Maphumulo” in Born out of Sorrow: Essays on Pietermaritzburg and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands under Apartheid (1948-1994), Natal Society Foundation (2021): 211-228.
  • “Teaching South African History in the Digital Age: Collaboration, Pedagogy, and Popularizing History,” with Omar Badsha, Special Issue, History in Africa 47 (2020): 297-325.
  • “Gender, Shame, and the ‘Efficacy of Congress Methods of Struggle’ in 1959 Natal Women’s Revolts,” South African Historical Journal 71, no. 2 (2019).
  • “Bantu Authorities and Betterment: The Ambiguous Responses of Natal’s Chiefs and Regents, 1955-1970,” Journal of Southern African Studies 41, no. 2 (2015).
  • “Women Were Not Supposed to Fight”: The Gendered Uses of Martial and Moral Zuluness during uDlame (1990-1994) in Jan Bender Shetler (ed.), Gendering Ethnicity in African Women’s Lives. University of Wisconsin Press (May 2015).
  • “‘It is because of our Islam that we are there’: The Call of Islam in the United Democratic Front,” African Historical Review 41, no. 1 (Jul 2009): 118-139.

Current Research

“‘The Burden is Heavy, We Need the Men’: Gendered Knowledge in the 1959 Rebellions in South Africa” examines the gendered nature of ethnicity and anti-apartheid resistance in 1950s South Africa. The project considers how women used knowledge about Zulu masculinity and the “patchwork of patriarchies” under which they lived as discourses to inform tactical interventions in rural struggles. Examining women’s motivations and strategies is significant because it reveals how gender and ethnicity shape the availability of violence as a political tactic and situates women at the forefront of violent actions that prompted liberation organizations to rethink tactics in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Jill kelly portrait