Department of History

Nancy Jacobs

Professor of History
Sharpe House 216
Areas of Expertise Africa, History of Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine
Office Hours Mondays from 1:00-3:00PM by appointment. Thursdays from 4:00-5:00PM in 216 Sharpe (drop-in)


I am an historian of South Africa, of colonial Africa, of the environment, of animals, and of knowledge about the environment and animals.  My work seeks out workings of power in obscure corners, in a quiet South African dorp, in scientific collaborations, in everyday lives of Africans living under European rule, and in interspecies relationships. In one sense, I am a traditional social historian: The workings of class, race, and gender have been central to all my research. In considering those categories, I have tried to find fresh insights by looking at the environment, power/knowledge relationships, and micro political negotiations. With my current project, a transnational history of African Grey Parrots, I add species to groups that know each other, negotiate with each other, and exercise power over each other.