Kathleen Keller


Professor in History and Director in African Studies

Professor Kathleen Keller specializes in the history of connections between France and West Africa in the 20th century, especially related to colonialism. Her current research is on the life of a curious character in French history--Mamadou Kane, a Senegalese man who embarked on a variety of adventures in 20th c. France as a prince, wizard, and charlatan.

Dr. Keller's first book Colonial Suspects: Suspicion, Imperial Rule, and Colonial Society in Interwar French West Africa was published in April 2018 by University of Nebraska Press. It recounts the surveillance of "suspicious persons" by French colonial police in the interwar era. The book delves into the politics of colonial identity, the role of the "civilizing mission," and understandings of urban people and space.


Prof. Keller has published articles in the journals French Historical Studies and French Colonial History

Dr. Keller offers courses at Gustavus on culture and empire, European history, modern Africa, Vichy France, women's history, world history, and a first term seminar on surveillance. 


Ph.D. History, Rutgers University; B.A. History and French, University of Notre Dame

Areas of Expertise

colonialism, France, West Africa, and world history


cooking, travel, reading, and history

Courses Taught

FTS-100 (FTS:Surveillance), HIS-150 (Modern Africa), and HIS-251 (Memorializing Mau Mau)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HIS-150 Modern Africa 10 2020/FA, 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/FA, 2013/FA, and 2011/FA
HIS-120 Europe 1648-Present 6 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2015/SP, 2012/SP, and 2011/FA
HIS-105 World History 6 2017/FA, 2017/SP, 2014/FA, and 2012/FA
HIS-300 Research Seminar 4 2020/FA, 2020/SP, 2017/FA, and 2015/SP
HIS-251 Africa since 1945 4 2018/FA, 2016/FA, 2015/SP, and 2012/FA
HIS-397 Honors Tutorial II 3 2021/SP, 2020/SP, and 2019/SP
HIS-200 History Seminar 3 2019/FA, 2018/FA, and 2018/SP
HIS-201 Empire and Culture 3 2019/SP, 2013/FA, and 2012/SP
HIS-312 France Under the Nazis 2 2021/SP and 2017/SP
CUR-115 Understanding the Past 2 2021/SP
HIS-226 European Women 2 2020/SP and 2013/SP
HIS-344 ST:Apartheid 2 2017/FA and 2014/FA
CUR-110 Historical Perspective II 2 2013/SP
HIS-350 Apartheid 1 2019/FA
HIS-396 Honors Tutorial I 1 2019/FA
FTS-100 FTS:Surveillance 1 2016/FA