Publication Date

October 22, 2015

Perspectives Section

Member Spotlight, Perspectives Daily

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

MacDonald_photoMairi S. MacDonald is the director of the International Relations Program at the University of Toronto. She lives in Toronto, Canada, and has been a member since 2008.

Alma maters: BA, Queen’s University, 1981; LLB, University of Toronto, 1984; PhD, University of Toronto, 2009

Fields of interest: international history, African history, history of international law, colonial history

When did you first develop an interest in history?

I can’t remember “developing” an interest in history: I’ve had it all my life!

What projects are you currently working on?

My current project considers the implications of the fact that the Scramble for Africa was framed as international humanitarian law.

Have your interests changed since graduation?  If so, how?

My PhD project focused on decolonization and independence-era Guinea. I am still thinking about West and Central Africa, but I’m now looking at the period when formal European colonial rule began rather than when it ended.

Is there an article, book, movie, blog etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members?

My favorite blog is, from the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter.

What do you value most about the history profession?

The professional study of history forms the basis for critical analysis of the world we live in, and thereby the tools to change what we have to change. It is also endlessly fascinating.

Why have you continued to be a member of the AHA?

I value the connection it gives me to both the substance of historical inquiry and the circumstances in which we carry it out.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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Matthew Keough
Matthew Keough

American Historical Association