Dr. Christopher J. Lee

Christopher J. Lee is a Lecturer at CISA and in the Department of International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand. He previously taught in the United States and Canada at Stanford, Harvard, and Dalhousie Universities and at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He received his PhD in African history from Stanford University. Trained as a socio-cultural historian, his teaching and research interests concern the social, political, and intellectual histories of southern Africa. He has conducted field and archival work in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, as well as having lived in Mozambique and Botswana. His recent work has addressed decolonization and the politics of the Indian Ocean during the Cold War. His articles and essays have appeared in the Journal of African History, Social History, Law and History Review, Politique Africaine, Gender and History, Transition, Radical History ReviewInterventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Kronos: Southern African Histories, and elsewhere. He is the editor of Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives (2010). He has a forthcoming book with Duke University Press on the politics of race and nativism in Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

email: Christopher.Lee@wits.ac.za

Edited books

Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives. Research in International Studies Series, Global and Comparative Studies Number 11. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2010. 400 pp.

Edited special Issues

Kronos: Southern African Histories, Vol. 37, No.1 (2011) on Rethinking the Cold War in Southern Africa. 144 pp.

Journal Articles (select)

“The Indian Ocean during the Cold War: Thinking Through a Critical Geography,” History Compass, 11, 7 (2013): 524-530.

“Gender without Groups: Confession, Resistance and Selfhood in the Colonial Archive,” Gender & History, Special Issue: Gender History Across Epistemologies, Volume 24, Issue 3 (2012): 701–717.

“Decolonization of a Special Type: Rethinking Cold War History in Southern Africa,” Kronos: Southern African Histories, Vol. 37, No.1 (2011): 6-11.

Jus Soli and Jus Sanguinis in the Colonies: The Interwar Politics of Race, Culture, and Multi-Racial Legal Status in British Africa,” Law and History Review, Vol. 29, Issue 2 (2011): 497-522.

“Do Colonial People Exist? Rethinking Ethno-genesis and Peoplehood through the Longue Durée in South-East Central Africa,” Social History, Vol. 36, No. 2 (May 2011): 169-191.

“Locating Hannah Arendt within Postcolonial Thought: A Prospectus,” College Literature, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Winter 2011): 95-114.

“Children in the Archives: Epistolary Evidence, Youth Agency, and the Social Meanings of ‘Coming of Age’ in Interwar Nyasaland,” Journal of Family History, Vol. 35, Issue 1 (2010): 24-47.

“At the Rendezvous of Decolonization: The Final Communiqué of the Asian-African Conference, Bandung, Indonesia, 18-24 April 1955,” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 1 (March 2009): 81-93.

“‘Causes’ versus ‘Conditions’: Imperial Sovereignty, Postcolonial Violence and the recent Re-Emergence of Arendtian Political Thought in African Studies,” South African Historical Journal, Vol. 60, Issue 1 (2008): 124-146.

“Crisis as Catalyst: Contemporary Zimbabwe and the Reinstatement of Region in a Global Era,” Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, Vol. 8, Number 2 (April 2007): 117-138.

“Entre La Rue et la Musée: le Problème du «Temps Présent» en Afrique du Sud,” Politique Africaine, Number 103 (October 2006): 81-99.

“The ‘Native’ Undefined: Colonial Categories, Anglo-African Status, and the Politics of Kinship in British Central Africa, 1929-1938,”  Journal of African History, Volume 46, Issue 3 (2005): 455-478.

“The Uses of the Comparative Imagination: South African History and World History in the Political Consciousness and Strategy of the South African Left, 1943-1959,”  Radical History Review, Issue 92 (Spring 2005): 31-61.

“Subaltern Studies and African Studies,” History Compass, 3 (2005): 1-13.

Book chapters (select)

“Between a Moment and an Era: The Origins and Afterlives of Bandung,” in The Rise and Fall of Modern Empires, Volume IV: Reactions to Colonialism, edited by Martin Shipway (London: Ashgate, 2013): 377-418.

“Gender without Groups: Confession, Resistance and Selfhood in the Colonial Archive,” in Gender History Across Epistemologies, edited by Donna R. Gabaccia and Mary Jo Maynes (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013): 181-197.

“Aftermath,” in The Ashgate Research Companion to Modern Imperial Histories, edited by Philippa Levine and John Marriott (London: Ashgate, 2012): 601-615.

“Between a Moment and an Era: The Origins and Afterlives of Bandung,” in Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives, edited by Christopher J. Lee (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2010): 1-43.

“Tricontinentalism in Question: The Cold War Politics of Alex La Guma and the African National Congress,” in Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives, edited by Christopher J. Lee (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2010): 266-287.

“Race and Bureaucracy Revisited: Hannah Arendt’s Recent Reemergence in African Studies,” in Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History: Imperialism, Nation, Race, and Genocide, edited by Richard H. King and Dan Stone (New York: Berghahn Books, 2007): 68-86.

Review Essays

“The Story of O,” Transition, No. 109 (2012): 117-129.

“Voices from the Margins: The ‘Coloured’ Factor in Southern African History,” South African Historical Journal, Number 56 (2006): 201-219.


“Malawian Literature after Banda and in the Age of AIDS: A Conversation with Steve Chimombo,” Research in African Literatures, Vol. 41, No. 3 (2010): 33-48.

“Sovereignty, Neo-Liberalism, and the Post-Diasporic Politics of Globalization: A Conversation about South Africa with Patrick Bond, Ashwin Desai, and Molefi Mafereka ka Ndlovu,” Radical History Review, Issue 103 (Winter 2009): 143-161.

“Desperately Seeking Tsitsi: A Conversation with Tsitsi Dangarembga,” Transition, Volume 13, Number 2, Issue 96 (2006): 128-150. Reprinted in The Power Money Sex Reader (Chimurenga Magazine, 2012).

“Power Rarely Fails: A Concluding Discussion with Noam Chomsky,”  Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, Issue 15 (July 2004): 1-6.

“South Africa, Israel-Palestine, and the Contours of the Contemporary World Order: An Interview with Noam Chomsky,” Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, Issue 13/14 (April 2004): 1-17.


“How to Do Things with Words: African Oral History and Its Textual Incarnations,” Words and Silences/Palabras y Silencios: The Journal of the International Oral History Association, New Series, Vol. 4, Nos. 1 and 2 (Nov. 2007-Nov. 2008): 1-5.

“Arendt’s Lesson: The Challenge and Need for Teaching Empire in the Present,”  Radical History Review, Issue 95 (Spring 2006): 129-144.


“Gandhi’s Lessons for al-Qaeda,” Mail & Guardian, September 13, 2013.

“Modernity and the Plural Vision,” Mail & Guardian, August 30, 2013.

Radio interview regarding the 1955 Asian-African Conference on “Crossroads Asia,” Voice of America (VOA) News, May 17, 2013.

“Street Politics in the West Bank,” Le Monde Diplomatique, June 30, 2011.

“Beyond the Madrassa Paradigm,” Foreign Policy, June 16, 2011.

“Why the Obama Presidency is Losing Its Lustre,” The Mercury (Durban, South Africa), November 3, 2010.

“Obama Has Become More Like Mbeki,” The Cape Times (Cape Town, South Africa), November 2, 2010.

“Fiscal Crises and the Question of Community,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2, 2010.

“Racist Undertones of the ‘Socialist’ Epithet,” The Christian Science Monitor, October 16, 2009.

Photography Essay

“Jerusalem Day, 2011,” Jerusalem Quarterly 47 (Autumn 2011): 39-45.

Book Reviews (recent)

Daniel R. Magaziner, The Law and the Prophets: Black Consciousness in South Africa, 1968-1977 (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2010) in Histoire sociale/Social History, 45, 90 (2012): 450-452.

“On Memory and Its Various Uses,” a review of Mamadou Diawara, Bernard Lategan, and Jörn Rüsen, eds., Historical Memory in Africa: Dealing with the Past, Reaching for the Future in an Intercultural Context (New York: Berghahn, 2010) in The Journal of African History, 53, 1 (2012): 115-116.

Rob Skinner, The Foundations of Anti-Apartheid: Liberal Humanitarians and Transnational Activists in Britain and the United States, c. 1919-1964 (New York: Palgrave, 2010) in Contemporary British History, 26, 1 (2012): 132-134.

Rudolf Mrazek, A Certain Age: Colonial Jakarta through the Memories of Its Intellectuals (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010) in Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 14, 1 (2012): 148-150.

Encyclopedia Entries

“Bandung Conference, 1955,” in Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, 2nd Edition, edited by Patrick L. Mason (London: Macmillan, 2013): 210-212.