Samson Ndanyi

Samson Ndanyi

Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies

Samson K. Ndanyi joins the Department of History as assistant professor of history and Africana studies. He received a Ph.D. from Indiana University, where he taught courses such as American History and Medieval Heroes as an associate instructor. His research interests include expressive popular cultures in Africa, maritime piracy in the Horn of Africa, Black cinema, Black protests, child labor, and the African diaspora. He likes indoor recreational activities, reggae concerts, and fine cuisine.  

My teaching interests include two survey courses in African history and contemporary African American: African civilization to 1900, and African American from 1900. 

My dissertation, “The Cinema is a Great Influence in the Life of the Modern Child”: Cinema and African Child Audiences in Colonial Kenya, 1926-1963, examines the interplay between instructional cinema and African child spectators. It acknowledges that instructional cinema influenced African child spectators to conceptualize modernity in a new way, but it argues that African children also influenced how colonial filmmakers produced the films, especially aesthetically. It exhorts us to think beyond the unidirectional approach propagated by colonialists and to consider a bidirectional perspective holding that African child spectators also influenced cinema production. 
My next research project expands on my recent study of child labor in colonial Kenya that appears in Journal of Retracing Africa 3, no. 1 (2016). Focusing almost exclusively on African boys as actors in child labor, this project will examine colonial labor history that reveals changes in the meaning of “minimum age” in an alien economic system that promised African children prosperity. 

Peer Reviewed Publications
“Read Africans, Decenter Scholarship.” Africa Today 63, no. 2 (winter 2016): 112-116
“’God Was With Us:’ Child Labor in Colonial Kenya, 1922-1950’s.” Journal of Retracing Africa 3, no 1 (216): 1-20. 

Book Reviews
Beek, Jan. Police in Africa. Oxford University Press, 2017. Journal of Retracing Africa (forthcoming)
Meiu, George Paul. Ethno-Erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2017 (forthcoming)

Essays Reviewed
“Yoruba Traditional and Contemporary Cultural Perspectives on Homosexuality: Questions of Human and Minority Rights,” Journal of Retracing Africa (2017)
“Greenfield-Liebst, Michelle. “Sin, Slave Status and the “City”: Zanzibar, 1864-c.1930.” African Studies Review 60, no. 1 (2017)

Online Scholarly Platforms
“Kenya’s Supreme Court Justices Willing to Pay the Ultimate Price for Kenya and Africa.” Africa Cradle, October 21, 2017 
“Kenya’s Return to Despotism.” Africa is a Country, September 12, 2017

Conference Presentations
“’This Title to Include the Words Mau Mau’: Visualizing Mau Mau War in Colonial Kenya,” African Studies Association 60th annual conference, Chicago. November 2017.
“Read Africans, Decenter Oral History: African Oral Historians and the Discourse of the West,” African Studies Association 59th annual conference, Washington, D.C. December 2016.
“Theatre for Development in Kenya: A Tumultuous Period, 1976-1978.” KESSA-Multimedia University of Kenya Joint International Interdisciplinary Conference, at Multimedia University of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. June 2016.
“Disrupting Rituals, Reversing Stereotypes: Africa Reexamined, 1895-Present.” African Studies Program 2014 Summer Institute Teaching for K-12 Teachers, Indiana University, Bloomington. June 2014.
“Black, Abstract, and Imagined Entities: Ideas and Thoughts that Shape the Identity of Africa and Africans.” Graduate Students in African Studies 4th annual symposium, Indiana University, Bloomington. March 2014.

Selected Awards
Royal Air Morocco-African Studies Association (ASA) Student Travel Award. 2017
Hill Fellowship for a Worthy Graduate Student in Any Field of History. 2017. IU
Arlene Lilly Fellowship for Outstanding Graduate Student. 2017. IU
African Students Research Award. 2016. IU
College of Arts and Sciences Travel Award. 2016. IU
Ruth Lilly Fellowship for dissertation fellowship. 2014-2017. IU
Louise McNutt Fellowship. 2013-2018. IU
Isabel McConnell Memorial Scholarship. 2012. Morgan State University
Society of Professional Journalists Scholarship Award. 2004. Maryland Chapter


Ph.D., African History, Indiana University, Bloomington
M.A., African History, Morgan State University
M.S., Social Sciences, Towson University
B.A., Film and T.V. Production, Towson University