Institute of Historical Studies
Institute of Historical Studies

History Gender Symposium presents “Gender Without Groups: Confession, Resistance, and Selfhood in the Colonial Archive," by Dr. Christopher J. Lee

Fri, October 5, 2012 | GAR 1.102

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

The Graduate Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality presents:

“Gender Without Groups: Confession, Resistance, and Selfhood in the Colonial Archive"

A talk by and discussion with
Dr. Christopher J. Lee

This presentation offers a text/context analysis drawn from a document found in the National Archives of Malawi. The document is a confession by an anonymous European settler and the relationship he had with an African woman named Adaima. Decisively limited in certain respects, it nevertheless offers a detailed account of one woman's agency. It also raises fundamental questions as to how typical this personal experience is and how individual histories should be positioned vis-a-vis “group” histories and their claims of categorical representation. This paper consequently argues for the value and importance of individual lives against group conformities, concluding that historians should critically engage with the issue of “groups” and how they shape historical meaning.

Editor of Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives (Ohio University Press, 2010) and author of a forthcoming book on colonial nativism and its legacies (Duke University Press, 2013), Dr. Christopher Lee is currently assistant professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Historical Studies at UT Austin. His teaching and research interests encompass the socio-cultural, political, and intellectual histories of sub-Saharan Africa, particularly southern Africa.

Professor Lee's faculty home page:

To request a copy of the pre-circulated paper, please email:

The Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality has been a fixture in Department of History since 2001, offering a forum for graduate students and faculty to present papers and works-in-progress for discussion in a relaxed and collegial atmosphere.


Gender Symposium web page:

"Institute Fellows Examine Diplomacy in 2012-2013"

Sponsored by: Graduate Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality, and the Department of History

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