After earning her PhD from Northwestern University, Raevin Jimenez joined the Department of History this fall as an LSA Collegiate Fellow. Her work examines the gender history of Nguni speakers in southern Africa between the ninth and twentieth centuries.

What’s it like coming to Michigan?

The University of Michigan has always been the dream job! Our department has one of the best programs in African history in the country, and I feel lucky to be a part of this amazing intellectual community. Coming to the university through the LSA Collegiate Fellowship has also been a wonderful experience. I have a ton of support and it’s great to see the collective investment in diversity, equity and inclusion.

What is your current research project?

I’m working on a very long history of South Africa—from the ninth to the nineteenth century. My book project looks at how household efforts to advance the interests of their young people reshaped politics and political economy. Over a millennium, gendered and generational institutions like initiation and marriage mediated the social capacity to maintain connections over long distances, desires to participate in expanding regional trade, and the rise of centralized chiefdoms and kingdoms. The deep-time perspective allows me to reframe gender inequities in the late nineteenth century usually considered to be a product of "tradition."

What non-academic book are you reading?

I’m reading Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. It’s a fictionalized account of Uganda’s history from the founding of the Kingdom of Buganda to the making of the modern nation.

Learn more about Dr. Jimenez's work in her History Department faculty profile