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Dr Cécile Feza Bushidi

Dr Cécile  Feza Bushidi

Junior Research Fellow

Cécile Bushidi is available for consultancy.


Cécile is an artist and an early career scholar in the arts and humanities. She is currently a Newby Trust junior research fellow at Newnham College. Previously, she held the Isobel Thornley Bequest at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. She received a Ph.D in History from SOAS, an MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford and a BA in History and African Studies from SOAS. She is presently working on a monograph entitled In the Name of Dance: Settler Colonialism, Performance and Being in Central Kenya, 1880-1963. During Lent Term 2019, Cécile will take up a fellowship at NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts.


Subject groups/Research projects

World History:

Departments and Institutes

Newnham College:
Research Fellow

Research Interests

Modern Africa, 1800-Present Day.

Dance History (Europe, Africa, America), 1850s-early 1990s.

Global history; Christianity and dance; Affect and self-reflexivity in history; the body; Dance historiography; Performance theory.

Other Professional Activities

Annual Lecture Murray Edwards History Society, University of Cambridge, 'Reading Stories about Dance in Colonial Central Kenya', March 2018.

Roll Commemoration Lecture Newnham College, University of Cambridge, '"Ballroom-style dancing" in Africa: innovations, spaces and receptions, 1920s-1960s', April 2017.

Co-organiser of the event 'Cultures, societies and history in the making of the moralities of dance' held at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, June 2016.

Guest on Radio France International (RFI) Afrique special programme 'Kenya’s 50th anniversary of independence'. I talked about dance in the history of Kenya. Broadcast on 12.12.2013.

Key Publications

Articles, book chapters and reviews

 • ‘Anxiogenic Prospects: Dance in Early Colonial Africa', in Andrea Grant and Yolana Pringle (eds), Anxiety in and about Africa: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Approaches (Ohio University Press, forthcoming 2020).

• ‘“The Sport and Fun of the Countryside!”: Dance, Novelty, and Cosmopolitan Lifestyle in Interwar Rural Kenya’, Critical African Studies (forthcoming 2019).

 Recension du livre d'Emily Callaci, Street Archives and City Life: Popular Intellectuals in Postcolonial Tanzania, « Revue des livres », Politique africaine, vol. 151, no. 3, 2018, pp. 179-192.

 ‘Mwomboko', with Bill Odidi and Tabu Osusa, in Ketebul Music (eds.), Shades of Benga: the History of Popular Music in Kenya, 1946-2016 (Ketebul Music, 2017). 

• Review of Dance Circles: Movement, Morality and Self-fashioning in Urban Senegal by Hélène Neveu Kringelbach, AFRICA Journal of the International African Institute, 85, 2, May 2015, pp. 369-371.


Other Publications

Selected conference/working papers

• ‘Old and New Dances in the Making of Communities: Settler Colonialism, Nationalist Politics and Moralities in Colonial Central Kenya, 1918-1937’. Studies in Dance Seminar, Columbia University, New York, March 2019.

 'Epistemology and the dance archive in colonial central Kenya'. African Studies Association, Chicago, November 2017.

'The politics of culture in late colonial Kenya', with Christian Damm Pedersen. World History seminar, University of Cambridge, October 2017.

'Mwomboko: history, performance and beyond', with Peter Mwangi Muhoro. BIEA, Nairobi, September 2017.

'La maîtrise des jeunes hommes au Kenya central: danse, cooptation et conversations, 1880s-1914'. Presented at ''Actualité de la recherche en Afrique de l'Est: textes et terrains", Institut des mondes africains (Imaf), April 2017.

'Missionary interventions into body cultures among the Gikuyu people of Kenya, 1900s-late 1930s' with Tom Cunningham. Presented at Colonial Missions and their Legacies, University of Copenhagen, April 2015; the History of the Body: Approaches and Directions, the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, May 2015.

• 'The politics of music recording and collection in Kenya from the colonial period to the late 1970s', Mapping the Field, second ESSA Conference. University of Copenhagen, June 2014. Printed as ‘Reflections on the fabrication of musical folklore in Kenya from the early 1920s to the late 1970s’ in Cahiers d'Afrique de l'Est, 50, 2015.   

'Danse, histoire, et méthodologie: le cas de mwomboko', Figures du geste dansé: mythes, identités, interprétations. Centre d’Histoire et de Théorie des Arts/Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, May 2013.