Harmony O'Rourke, Associate Professor of African History

Harmony O’Rourke

Professor of History
On Sabbatical Fall 2023

With Pitzer Since: 2009
Field Group: History
Campus Address: Bernard 215
Phone: 909.621.8657
Campus email: [email protected]
Office Hours: See Faculty Directory

Educational Background

PhD, Harvard University
MA, Harvard University
BA, Macalester College

Harmony O’Rourke is a cultural historian with research interests that focus on gender, ethnicity, race, mobility, colonialism, and Islam in nineteenth- and twentieth-century West Africa, in particular the region encompassing Nigeria and Cameroon. Her research has been supported by a number of grants and awards, including the U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award.

Research and Teaching Interests

Cultural and Social History of Early Modern and Modern Africa, Global Diasporas, Gender and Sexuality, West Africa, Slavery, Colonialism, Oral History


The World Since 1492 (Hist/Anth 11 co-taught with Professors Carina Johnson and Daniel Segal)

Modern Africa (Hist 24)

West African History through Novel and Film (Hist 45)

Oral History: Methodology and Practice (Hist 66)

Slavery and Slave Trading in Africa and Beyond (Hist 142)

Death and Dying in African History (Hist 144)

Gender and Sexuality in Africa (Hist 148)

Diaspora, Gender, and Identity (Hist 168)

Seminar in History (Hist 197)

Women and Political Change in Africa (First-Year Seminar)

Selected Publications

Hadija’s Story: Diaspora, Gender, and Belonging in the Cameroon Grassfields, Indiana University Press (2017).

“Beyond the World of Commerce: Rethinking Hausa Diaspora History through Marriage, Distance, and Legal Testimony,” History in Africa: A Journal of Method, 43 (June 2016), 141-167.

“The Life and Experiences of Saeed Ibn Hayatu, A Mahdist Leader: New Findings from the Buea Archive,” with Mohammed Bashir Salau, Journal of West African History, 2, 2 (2016), pp. 51-78.

“Native Foreigners and the Ambiguity of Order and Identity: The Case of African Diasporas and Islamic Law in British Cameroon,” History in Africa: A Journal of Method, 39 (2012), 97-122.

“’I am not his slave’: Contesting Marriage among the Hausa on a Cameroonian Frontier, c. 1920-1955,” in Gender, Sexuality, and Mothering in Africa, ed. Toyin Falola and Bessie House-Soremekun. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2011, 103-120.

“Foncha, John Ngu,” in Dictionary of African Biography, ed. Emmanuel K. Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Selected Conference and Symposia Papers

“Female Enslavement, Marriage, and Muslim Trading Diaspora in West Africa: The Case of Hausa Settlement in Twentieth-Century Cameroon,” paper presented at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., January 3, 2014.

“Slavery, Marriage, and Muslim Trading Diaspora in Trans-Saharan West Africa,” paper presented at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Collaborative Workshop, “Connected Histories of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.” Pomona College, Claremont, CA, February 4, 2012.

“The Life and Experiences of Sa’id Ibn Hayatu, A Mahdist Leader: New Findings from the Buea Archive,” paper presented at the Canadian Association of African Studies Annual Conference. With Mohammed Bashir Salau. Toronto, Canada, May 6, 2011.

“Establishing the Historicity of African Women and Politics in the Age of International Development,” paper presented at the Western Association of Women Historians Annual Conference. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, April 8, 2011.

“Slavery and Marriage in a Settler Society: Contesting narratives of belonging in the Hausa diaspora of Cameroon Grassfields, c.1915 to c.1955,” paper presented at the conference Searching for the African Voice: Studying Slavery and the Slave Trade in Africa. University of Buea, Cameroon, December 15, 2010.

“British Indirect Rule and the Challenge of African Diasporas: Hausas, Fulanis, and Islamic Authority in Colonial Cameroon,” paper presented at the African Studies Association Annual Conference. San Francisco, CA, November 19, 2010.

Additional Information

Curriculum Vitae

Page last updated on December 4, 2023