James L. Giblin


Drop-in hours: Tuesday 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. and 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. and Thursday 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. or by appointment

James Giblin has been a member of the History Department since 1986. His primary research interest is Tanzania and East Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

His first book, The Politics of Environmental Control in Northeastern Tanzania, 1840-1940 (University of Pennsylvania Press), explored connections between environmental and political change. More recent research on social history in twentieth-century Tanzania has been published as A History of the Excluded: Making Family and Memory a Refuge from State in Twentieth-Century Tanzania (James Currey, 2006). He is the co-editor of two books, and has contributed articles to a number of edited volumes and journals, including the Journal of African History and Azania. In recent years he has held major fellowships from Fulbright-Hays, the Faculty Scholar program of the University of Iowa, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His current work includes co-direction of a collaborative research project on the oral history of the Maji Maji war, a major rebellion against German colonialism in Tanzania during 1905-06.

He earned a PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1986.


He teaches the history of Africa. Courses recently taught include:

  • HIST:1000  First Year Seminar
  • HIST:4710  Pre-Colonial African History
  • HIST:4715  African History Since 1880
  • HIST:6001  First Year Graduate Colloquium
  • HIST:6002  History Research Methods
  • HIST:7710  Seminar: Interpreting Oral Histories

Awards and service

  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History, University of Iowa (2004-06)
  • Honors Director, Department of History, University of Iowa (2004)
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of History, University of Iowa (2001-04)
  • Moody Grant, The Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation (2004)
  • U.S. Department of State, Speaker and Specialist Grant (2004)
  • Collaborative Project Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities, co-recipient with J. Monson, Carleton College (2001)
  • Arts and Humanities Initiative, University of Iowa (1998, 1999, 2003)
  • Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Award (1997)
  • Faculty Scholar, University of Iowa (1996-97, 1998-99, 2000-01)
  • Council on Teaching Grant, University of Iowa (1995)
  • Summer Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities (1984)
  • Central Investment Fund for Research Enhancement Grant, University of Iowa (1993)
  • Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Research Grant (1989)
  • National Institute of Health, Junior Faculty Seed Grant (1989)
  • Old Gold Fellowship, University of Iowa (1987, 1988)
  • American Council of Learned Societies, Grant-in-Aid (1987)
  • Travel to Collections Award, National Endowment for the Humanities (1987)




Research areas
  • African History
  • 19th-20th Century Tanzania and East Africa
  • Social History of Africa
  • Political History of Post-Colonial Tanzania
  • History of Health and Healing in Africa
James Giblin

117 Schaeffer Hall (SH)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States