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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Ruramisai Charumbira

Associate Faculty Ph.D., Yale University

Assistant Professor
Ruramisai Charumbira

Contact

  • Phone: 512-232-8361
  • Office: GAR 0.134
  • Office Hours: MW 12:00-2:00 p.m.
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000

Biography

Ruramisai Charumbira is an assistant professor in the Department of History; the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies; and a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Women's and Gender Studies. She researches and teaches on African History, comparative women's and gender history; historical memory; ethno-archaeology; Europeans in Africa, and Southern African intellectual life. Her forthcoming book will be out in 2014 and is titled: Imagine-Nation: History and Memory in the Making of Zimbabwe (University of Virginia Press, Series: Reconsiderations in Southern African History)

Her other publications include:"Becoming Imperial: Swiss Identity in British Southern Africa since 1880" in Patricia Purtschert, Harald Fischer-Tiné, eds.: Colonial Encounters of the Swiss Kind: Imperial Entanglements and Post-colonial Assemblages (forthcoming 2014); “Gender, Nehanda, and the Myth of Nation-hood in the Making of Zimbabwe” in Gerard Bouchard, ed., Wither National Myths? (2013);“'A School said to Resemble a Luxury Hotel': Historicizing African Women's Quest for Education before Oprah's School” History Compass Vol. 7 (April 2009); "Gender, Nehanda, and the Central Mashonaland 1896-97 Rebellions: Revisiting the Evidence" History in Africa, 35 (2008).

Ruramisai Charumbira welcomes graduate students for doctoral training in her areas of expertise.

WGS 340 • Becoming African: Euro In Afr

47775 • Fall 2014
Meets W 400pm-700pm MEZ 1.120
(also listed as AFR 372C, HIS 350L )
show description

Description: This course is a study of Europeans as they turned into “white Africans” in Southern African beginning with the Portuguese in the late fifteenth century through to the present. Of importance are the contingencies in global history that led to European trade, immigration, settlement, conquest, and uneasy peaceful relations with Southern Africans in the period under study. Of particular importance to this study of “becoming African” by people of European descent, are African responses to European presence in that region of Africa, especially what it tells us about African and European entanglements in global histories and cultures. The course will also use a comparative lens to study some of the similarities and differences in other regions of the world, especially North America. Objective: The main objective of the course is to introduce students to a dimension of the cultural history of Southern Africa through identity formations, those identities’ change over time; and complexities in the present. This being an upper division course, it is advisable that students be juniors and seniors, and if sophomore, to have taken an introductory and or another course in African History/Studies as it is an intensive reading and writing course. Those with less preparatory background will find it most challenging – to grasp content and the demands of this upper division level course.

 

Required Texts: All books available at the PCL on Reserve - and through the Co-op.

 

  • Herman Giliomee, The Afrikaners: Biography of a People
  • David M. Hughes, Whiteness in Zimbabwe: Race, Landscape and the Problem of Belonging
  • Doris Lessing, The Grass is Singing
  • J.M. Coetzee, Boyhood
  • Nadine Gordimer, July’s People
  • Melissa E. Steyn, Whiteness Just Ain’t what it Used to Be: White Identity in a Changing South Africa
  • Alexandra Fuller, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs

 

Assessment:

  •       60% – 12 Weekly Reflection Essays at 5% each
  •      20%  – Participation and Attendance
  •      20%  – Final Essay

 

 

WGS 340 • African Women's History

48041 • Spring 2014
Meets MW 300pm-430pm PAR 201
(also listed as AFR 372G, HIS 364G )
show description

Samukele, Mauya, Karibu, Welcome! to African Women’s History. The major objective of this course is to introduce and expose students to the richness of African history beyond media stereotypes through women’s eyes.  As you know, Africa is a continent and not a country, to that end; we will not be able to cover everything in the course of one semester – let alone a year.  Instead, we shall focus on particular regions and countries in Africa, which will allow students an in-depth study and understanding of women’s history in Africa up to the present. To pursue that objective effectively, the course will focus on particular themes and issues so students get a better understanding of the diversity of African peoples and cultures. The themes and issues include: feminism, culture, colonialism, labor, education, health, religion, exile, economics, and politics.  The above themes will be explored through assigned readings that include monographs, auto/biographies, and novels written by African women, as well as by professional historians to illuminate women’s lives and gender issues in Africa. We shall also explore those themes through film. The course’s major objective is to sharpen students’ critical thinking, research, and writing skills on the subject of African women beyond the stereotypes. The course is designed to be a rigorous and challenging, with plenty fun class time. So, Welcome!

Required Texts will include some of the following:

 

Ken Bugul, translated from the French by Marjolijn de Jager, The Abandoned Baobab: The Autobiography of a Senegalese Woman

Sindiwe Magona, To My Children's Children       

Mamphela Ramphele, Across Boundaries

Wangari Maathai, Unbowed: A Memoir

Oyeronke Oyewumi, African Gender Studies: A Reader

Jean Boyd, The Caliph's Sister: Nana Asma'i (1793-1865), Teacher, Poet and Islamic Leader

Mariama Bâ, So Long a Letter 

John Thornton, The Kongolese Saint Anthony 

Shireen Hassim, Women's Organizations and Democracy in South Africa

 

 

Course Requirements and Assignments

  • Class attendance and participation (20%)
  • Ten (10) Weekly Essays @ 5% each (50%)
  • Final Paper (30%)

WGS 393 • History And Memory

48235 • Spring 2014
Meets M 1200pm-300pm GAR 1.122
(also listed as AFR 381, HIS 382L )
show description

Welcome to this research seminar on the study of History and Memory. During the course of our study, we will consider how individuals, societies, and collectives have dealt with the push and pull of historical memory and amnesia. Though rooted in (African) History, the course is designed as an interdisciplinary and multi-local historical study of how, when, what, and why societies remember, forget, reenact, contest…, and preserve history. Because the field of History and Memory has grown significantly over the past five decades, and continues to grow, spanning disciplines – from Architecture to Zoology – the aim of this course is not to cover “everything.” Rather, we will aim for depth of knowledge and a common language on the debates, theories, and methods of the study of history and memory through our seminar readings, discussions, and written analysis. In addition, for breath and individual development of knowledge on the subject matter and a topic of personal interest, we will rely on each course participant’s presentation of research in progress or identified earlier in the semester. To the foregoing end, it is a pre-requisite that students come to the course with a project in mind, however vague, as the expectation is that their final paper is an original piece of work based on primary research in the student’s discipline and field. By embedding primary (source) research in the structure of the course, the instructor envisions students producing work which, after some revision, can be submitted to relevant scholarly journals for consideration, OR produce a solid chapter of the master’s thesis/doctoral dissertation. The course is designed to be rigorous, fun, and a wonderful learning experience for all. However, please note that because a good deal of class time is devoted to individual research and writing, it is critical that you plan your time wisely, as late assignments will not be accepted and sloppy presentations will not reflect very well on your final grade. I am here for you. If you need help with anything, do contact me during office hours, after class, or by phone/email.

 

Required Texts May Include the Following:

  • Paul Ricoeur, History, Memory, Forgetting
  • Jan Vansina, Oral Tradition as History
  • Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember
  • Maurice Halbwachs, (trans., ed., Lewis Coser), On Collective Memory
  • Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition
  • David Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory
  • Richard Flores, Remembering the Alamo
  • Carolyn Hamilton, Terrific Majesty: The Power of Shaka Zulu and the Limits of Historical Invention
  • Samuel Brunk, The Posthumous Career of Emiliano Zapata
  • Nell Irvin Painter, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol

 

Course Assessment/Requirements

  • Participation in class meetings and discussions – 20%.
  • Research Proposal with Annotated Bibliography – 10%.
  • Team Book Presentation (based on Part II) – 10%.
  • Individual Research Presentation – 10%.
  • Final Research Paper – 50% [20 pages (MA students); 25 pages (Ph.D. students)]

WGS 340 • Apartheid: South African Hist

47745 • Fall 2013
Meets M 300pm-600pm GAR 0.132
(also listed as AFR 374C, HIS 364G )
show description

 

Course Description and Objectives

This course is a study of one of the most traumatic periods in South African History. It is a study of a people’s agency and resilience in the face state sanctioned terror. With a brief detour into the deeper past of South Africa to contextualize the rise of apartheid, the course will predominantly focus on the period since 1948. We will study the social, political, economic, and cultural history of a nation in the grip of legalized oppression from the perspectives of women, children, and men - of all "racial" backgrounds - who lived through that particular period. While the course will focus on both oppression and agency, and the in-between-spaces, students are advised that some of the course content (books, audio, and video material) will include violent scenes. The course will NOT cover everything, but aim for a deeper understanding of some of the key moments that illuminate apartheid in the history of South Africa. The course’s two major objectives are: a) a firm grounding in Southern African history through the case study of South Africa in the period studied; b) facilitating the learning and practice of the historian’s craft of critical reflection through close reading, analysis, and writing. Please note that this is an intensive reading and writing course. Those students interested in honing their critical analysis and narrative writing skills will find this a rewarding course. Sam’kele, Kamohelo, Welcome!

 

REQUIRED TEXTS

Thompson, A History of South Africa – DT 1787 T48 2001

Biko (and Aelred Stubbs, ed.), I Write What I Like – DT 763 B48 1978

First, 117 Days: An Account of Confinement…– HV 8964 A35 F5 2009

Ramphele, Across Boundaries: The Journey of a South African… - DT 1949 R36 A3 1996

Ngcobo, And They Didn't Die – PR 9369.3 N4 1999

Mathabane, Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography - E 185.97 M38 A3 1989

Gordimer, July’s People - PR 9369.3 G6 J8 1982

Coetzee, Boyhood: Scenes from a Provincial Life - PR 9369.3 C58 Z463 1997

Gobodo-Madikizela, A Human Being Died That Night - HV 7911 D439 G63 2003

 

COURSE ASSESSMENT

  • 20% - Attendance and Participation

    10% - Two Map Quizzes (5% each)

    50% - Journal of Reflection Essays (5% each of 10 selected weeks, 3 double-space pages)

    20% - Final Essay (10 double-space pages)

WGS 340 • History Of Southern Africa

47770 • Fall 2013
Meets W 300pm-600pm WAG 112
(also listed as AFR 374C, HIS 350L )
show description

 

Southern Africa is one of the continent's rich and varied regions, with UNESCO recognized (heritage) sites as well as thriving modern cities and everything in-between. This course is designed to both introduce you to the history of the region as well as offer an opportunity to hone the historian’s art and craft through an in-depth study of one country in Southern Africa. This year’s country study is Namibia, a country that shares much of Africa’s complex history as well as its own unique story beyond its African borders. The course is designed to begin in the deep past in order to contextualize the main focus – the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – that created the current country we know as Namibia. To that end, it is important to note that this is a very challenging and rewarding course that is reading and writing intensive.  However, the challenge is all the more rewarding as assignments are cumulative and students begin thinking of their final research paper after the second analytical essay.

 

The two main objectives of the course are: a) to study and understand some of the historical events that shaped Africa’s current political, economic, social, and cultural situation where the continent is defined by “underdevelopment,” and b) to learn and exercise critical reading, research, and writing skills as practiced by (professional) historians.

 

 

 

Required Texts (ISBN and LC Call Numbers)           

 

(Available through the University Co-op Bookstore and @ the PCL on 24hr Closed Reserve)

 

v  Marion Wallace, History of Namibia, 9780199327225 –  DT 1575 W35 2011

 

v  Jan-Bart Gewald, Herero Heroes, 9780821412572 – DT 1558 H47 G47 1999  

 

v  Andre Brink, Other Side of Silence, 9780156029643 – PR 9369.3 B7 O84 2002

 

v  Leys and Brown, eds., Histories of Namibia, 9780850364996 – DT 1645 L49 2005

 

v  Orner, Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo978-0316066334 – PS 3615 R58 S43 2007  

 

v  Gretchen Bauer, Politics in Southern Africa: State Society in Transition, 2nd Edition (Optional)

 

 

 

 

Course Requirements and Assessment

 

 

·       20% - Attendance and Participation

 

·       10% - Research Proposal

 

·       40% - Analytical Essays (4 @ 10% each)

 

·       10% - Research Presentation

 

·       20% - Final paper (10 pages).

 

 

 

 

WGS F340 • Apartheid: South African Hist

88880 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am GAR 1.126
(also listed as AFR F374C, HIS F364G )
show description

Course Description This course is a study of one of the most traumatic periods in South African history. It is also a study of a people’s agency and resilience in the face state sanctioned terror. With a brief detour into the deeper past of South Africa to contextualize the rise of apartheid, the course will predominantly focus on the period since 1948. We will study the social, political, economic, and cultural history of a nation in the grip of legalized oppression from the perspectives of women, children, and men - of all "racial" backgrounds - who lived through that particular period. The course will NOT cover everything, but aim for a deeper understanding of some of the key moments that illuminate apartheid – and especially resistance to it – in the history of South Africa through a historian’s lens (Ross), autobiography (Mandela), historical fiction (Ngcobo), and multimedia, especially film. Samukele, Kamohelo, Welcome!

 

Required Texts:

  • Robert Ross, A Concise History Of South Africa, (2nd Edition)
  • Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (Unabridged version)
  • Lauretta Ngcobo, And They Didn’t Die

Course Requirements and Assessment

  • 20% - Attendance and Participation
  • 30% - Two Analytical Essays (15% each,3 double-spaced pages,)
  • 30% - Three Reflection Essays (10% each, 2 double-spaced pages)
  • 20% - Final Essay (5-6 double-spaced pages).

 

WGS 393 • History And Memory

47520 • Spring 2013
Meets M 300pm-600pm GAR 2.124
(also listed as AFR 381, HIS 382L )
show description

This course is designed to explore the theoretical and conceptual issues of how individuals, families, cultures, societies, social movements, scholars, nations..., have dealt with the push and pull of historical memory and amnesia over time. Though rooted in (African) History, the course is designed as an interdisciplinary and multi-local historical study of the changes, causalities, contexts, contingencies, and complexities of how and why societies remember, forget, contest..., and preserve history. Because the field of Memory Studies has grown significantly over the past five decades – and continues to grow – spanning disciplines, from Architecture to Zoology, the aim of this course is not to cover a bit of everything. Rather, we will aim for depth of knowledge and a common language on the concepts, theories, methods, and debates in the study of History and Memory, especially in the humanities and social sciences. Most importantly, the course is designed for seminar participants’ engagement with the course material as they develop and pursue original research projects on a topic of interest in the seminar’s subject matter. To that end, it is imperative that students come to the course with a project in mind as this is a research seminar based on primary source material(s), where students’ final assignment/papers carry 50% of the grade. By focusing on original research in primary source material, the instructor hopes the course will serve as a vehicle for students’ production of research papers ready for submission to scholarly journals for publication and/or a solid chapter for theses/dissertations. The seminar is designed to be rigorous, fun, introduce students to competing ideas on History and Memory, and coaxing them out of their usual comfort zones. Welcome!

WGS 340 • History Of Southern Africa

47080 • Fall 2012
Meets M 500pm-800pm MEZ 2.118
(also listed as AFR 374C, HIS 350L )
show description

Course Description and Objective

Southern Africa is one of the continent's rich and varied regions, a region that holds cradle of humanity historical sites as well as thriving modern cities and everything in-between. Designed to both introduce students to the history of the region and give an in-depth understanding of particular countries as case studies, the course is both challenging and rewarding in the readings and writing assignments expected of students. Each year, the country case studies (may) change, and this year, 2012-13, the case countries will be Namibia and Botswana. We will particularly focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, analyzing how historical events and figures from that time- period inform what is going on in those countries and that region of Africa today. The main objective of the course is that students develop knowledge of Southern Africa, critical and analytical thinking, as well as excellent writing skills. Yes, this is a reading and writing intensive course.

 

Texts (all available at the University Co-op Bookstore as well as 24hr Reserve @ PLC)

  •  Jan-Bart Gewald, Herero Heroes: A Social Political History of the Herero of Namibia
  • Colin Leys and Susan Brown, Histories of Namibia: Living through the Liberation Struggle
  • Andre Brink, The Other Side of Silence
  • Bessie Head, Maru (Classic Edition)
  • Marjorie Shostak, Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman
  • Kenneth Good, Diamonds, Dispossession, and Democracy in Botswana

Course Requirements and Assessment

  • 10% - Two Map Quizzes (5% each)
  • 10% - Final Paper Proposal and Bibliography
  • 10% - Reflection Essay
  • 20% - Attendance and Participation
  • 20% - Analytical Essays (2 @ 10% each)
  • 30% - Final paper.

WGS 340 • Apartheid: South African Hist

46940 • Fall 2011
Meets W 300pm-600pm GAR 1.126
(also listed as AFR 374C, HIS 364G )
show description

Course Description

This course is a study of one of the most traumatic periods in South  Africa;but it is also a study of a people’s agency and  resilience in the face state sanctioned terror. With a brief detour  into the deeper past of South Africa to contextualize the rise of  apartheid, the course will predominantly focus on the period since  1948. We will study the social, political, economic, and cultural  history of a nation in the grip of legalized oppression from the  perspectives of women, children, and men - of all "racial"  backgrounds - who lived through that particular period. While the  course will focus on both oppression and agency, and the  in-between-spaces, students are advised that some of the course  content (books, audio, and video material) will include violent  scenes. Such was the history of apartheid in South Africa, but  overall, students will come away with a greater appreciation not  only of the history of that country, but of Southern Africa, and the  United States, which had its own version of apartheid in Jim Crow.  Most importantly, because of the complexity of events and issues, we  will NOT cover everything,  but aim to touch on a few to that  illuminate on historical period. This course is designed for  critical reading and writing. Those students interested in improving  their writing skills will find this a rewarding course. Samukele,  Kamohelo, Welcome!

 

Required Texts (all available at the University Co-op Bookstore as  well as 24hr Reserve @ PLC)

*Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

*Steve Biko (and Aelred Stubbs, ed.), I Write What I Like: Selected Writings

*Mamphela Ramphele, Across Boundaries: The Journey of a South  African Woman Leader

*Lauretta Ngcobo, And They Didn't Die

* Raymond Suttner, The ANC Underground in South Africa, 1950-1976

*Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, A Human Being Died That Night: A South  African Woman Confronts the Legacy of Apartheid

*Gillian Slovo, Every Secret Thing: My Family, My Country

*Mark Mathabane, Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography: The True Story of a  Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa

 

Course Requirements and Assessment

20% - Attendance and Participation

20% - Journal (4 entries @ 5% each)

10% - One Book Report (3-4 pages)

10% - Two Map Quizzes (5% each)

20% - Two Analytical Essays (10% each, 3-4 pages).

20% - Final paper (10 pages).

 

WGS 340 • History Of Southern Africa

46960 • Fall 2011
Meets M 300pm-600pm GAR 2.124
(also listed as AFR 374C, HIS 350L )
show description

Southern Africa is one of the continent's rich and varied regions, a region that holds cradle of humanity, historical sites as well as thriving modern cities and everything in-between. Designed to both introduce students to the history of the region and give an in-depth understanding of particular countries as case studies, the course is both challenging and rewarding in the readings and writing assignments expected of students. Each year, the country case studies may change, and this year, 2011-12, the case countries will be Namibia and Botswana. We will particularly focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, analyzing how historical events and figures from that time- period inform what is going in those countries and that region of Africa today.

 

Texts may include some of the following:

Gretchen Bauer, Politics in Southern Africa: State Society in Transition 

Colin Leys and Susan Brown, Histories of Namibia: Living through the Liberation Struggle

Andre Brink, The Other Side of Silence

W.A. Edge and M.H. Lekorwe, eds., Botswana: Politics and Society

Marjorie Shostak, Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman

 

Grading: This is a Writing Intensive Course, Assessment Includes

➢ 20% Attendance & Participation 

➢ 40%  Four Analytical Essays (x10% each)

➢ 10% Two map quizzes 

➢ 30% Final Essay

WGS S301 • Introduction To Modern Africa

89440 • Summer 2011
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am WAG 112
(also listed as AFR S310K, HIS S310 )
show description

This course introduces students to the history of Africa since 1800 to the present. The course is divided into four parts: Part I – an overview of African life before 1800. Part II: - an overview of the partition of Africa and the upheavals to economic, political, cultural, and social institutions. Part III: - an over view of colonial histories, the struggles for freedom, and the euphoria of independence. Part IV: - an overview of the legacies and disappointments of colonialism, and the post-colonialism. Because the continent is so vast, its history complex, and the time period so wide, each part will have a case study to illuminate each section of the course more concretely, giving students both depth and breadth in a subject for which they have little or no prior knowledge. The readings augment the lectures and allow students to follow their interests from the topics covered. This is a great course to take before “that trip to Africa!” The class will also utilize feature films and documentaries to illustrate the historical issues more vividly. Karibu! Welcome!

Required Texts (all available at the University Co-op Bookstore as well as 24hr Reserve @ PLC)

Toyin Falola, ed., Africa, Vol. 5, Contemporary Africa

Roland Oliver and Anthony Atmore, Africa since 1800

Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions

Course Requirements and Assessment

Grading 

30% - Attendance and Participation

20% - Four Map Quizzes (5% each)

15% - Three in class Quizzes (5% each) 

15% - One Book Report

20% - Final paper

WGS 301 • Introduction To Modern Africa

88850 • Summer 2010
Meets MTWTHF 400pm-530pm GAR 3.116
(also listed as AFR 310K, HIS 310 )
show description

HIS 310 (84960) – Introduction to Africa since 1800

Cross-listed AFR 310K, WGS 301 – Summer 2010

Meets: MTWThF 4:00-5:30 PM

Instructor: Ruramisai Charumbira

 

This course introduces students to the history of Africa since 1800 to the present. Because the continent is vast, its history complex, and the time period wide, we shall explore the issues through the prism of the Southern African region of Africa, as well as specific thematic issues to illuminate this fascinating phase of African history and concretely give students both depth and breadth in a subject for which they have little or no prior knowledge. The readings augment the lectures and allow students to follow their interests from the topics covered, it is therefore imperative to keep up with the readings so lectures are not overwhelming. This is a great course to take before “that trip to Africa!” The class will also utilize feature films and documentaries to illustrate the historical issues more vividly. Samukele! Welcome!

Required Texts (all available at the University Co-op Bookstore)

Toyin Falola, ed., Africa, Vol. 5, Contemporary Africa;
Roland Oliver and Anthony Atmore, Africa since 1800
Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions

Course Requirements and Assessment and Due Dates

20% - Attendance and Participation
20% - One Film Report – due in class, June 28, 2010
20% - One Book Report – due in class July 05, 2010
40% - Final paper – due via email with on Monday, July 12 no later than 5:00pm.

 

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