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Ph.D., 2006, History
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Katherine Luongo studies legal systems in colonial and contemporary Africa and global legal regimes. She is particularly interested in the intersections of the supernatural, law, and politics in Africa and in the interactions of African witchcraft and forced migration. Her historical ethnography of Kamba witchcraft, Witchcraft and Colonial Rule in Kenya, 1900–1955, was a finalist for the Bethwell Ogot Prize for the Best Book on East African History and for the American Historical Association Martin A. Klein Award. With Matthew Carotenuto, she is also the author of Obama and Kenya: Contested Histories of Politics and Belonging, which is the first scholarly work to examine the history of Kenya through the experiences of the Obama family. This book will be published by Ohio University Press in 2015.
Her current book project, Witches and Bureaucrats: Witchcraft Driven Violence in Africa and its Relation to Global Asylum-Seeking, investigates the persistence of witchcraft-driven violence across Africa from the related standpoints of legal anthropology and legal history and migration and human rights studies. It analyze how witchcraft allegations made by African asylum-seekers have interacted with the protocols of asylum-seeking on the local, national, and global levels over the last century and how NGOs such as the United Nations have engaged with witchcraft-driven violence.
In 2013-2014, Luongo was a fellow at the Cambridge University Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities and at the Princeton University Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies. In fall 2015, she will hold a John W. Kluge Fellowship at the Library of Congress.