Jeff Schauer

Jeff Schauer

Associate Professor



I am from Shasta County in rural northern California, and arrived at UNLV from the University of California, where I earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology and history from Irvine, and a doctoral degree in history from Berkeley. I also studied at King’s College, London, and was a visiting researcher at Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge.

I am a historian of colonialism, decolonization, and nationhood in eastern and southern Africa. My research, drawing on archival work in Britain, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, explores environmental politics and tensions, and the broad meanings, experiences, and contestations of late-British colonialism, decolonization, and nation-making.

I have published work in the African Studies Review (2015) discussing how science and administration in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park were affected by decolonization and globalization, and in the Journal of British Studies (2018) exploring how the creation of a wildlife management training college in Tanzania exhibited elements of both change and continuity between the colonial and national eras. My forthcoming (2023) article in the Zambia Social Science Journal investigates the national and neocolonial tensions in arms deals between Britain and Zambia.

My book, Wildlife between Empire and Nation in Twentieth-Century Africa (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), is a history of wildlife conservation in eastern and southern Africa spanning the periods of British colonial rule, decolonization, and the first decades of nationhood. I show that the colonial era that left a lasting imprint on conservation regimes in Africa was deeply complex, and that although the period began the process of militarizing conservation practice, African colonial subjects also exercised surprising agency in shaping and contesting colonial conservation. The book identifies strong continuities between colonial and national conservation ideas and structures but also argues that international conservation and scientific communities curtailed the abilities of African governments to manage their nations’ wildlife populations and protected areas.

I am currently working on two book projects. One, provisionally titled Theirs from Time Immemorial: Wildlife Conservation and the Making of Northern Rhodesia and Zambia, continues my interest in environmental history and will explore conservation as a state-building enterprise during the colonial and national periods, consider the role of customary authorities in shaping wildlife conservation, examine the relationships between political and scientific projects, think about youth education and activism, and consider the utility and limits of “decolonization” as a framework for thinking about conservation in and beyond the twentieth century.

The second project is tentatively titled A Devil Somewhere in Africa: Security, Nationhood, and Neocolonialism, and seeks to document Britain’s continued entanglement with former colonies in eastern and central Africa after independence, and how these entanglements were caught up with those new nations’ efforts to address independence, belonging, and security.

A third small project will examine how the Kenyan government and business community dealt with and sought opportunities in the fallout from settler colonialism in southern Africa during the 1960s.

Expert areas

  • Twentieth-century/Postwar
  • Empire/Colonialism/Decolonization
  • Modern Britain/British Empire
  • Eastern/Southern Africa
  • Environmental history


Like my research, my teaching focuses on European, African, environmental, and colonial history. Courses I have recently taught include:

  • History 103 (Global Problems in Historical Perspective. Topics include: 'Apartheid in a Global Context' and ‘The Anthropocene’.)
  • History 106 (Europe Since 1648)
  • History 232 (History of Africa) [Cross-listed with African American and African Diaspora Studies]
  • History 350 (Modern Africa) [Cross-listed with African American and African Diaspora Studies]
  • History 443/643 (Comparative Environmental History)
  • History 464/664 (Twentieth Century Europe)
  • History 477B/677B (Topics in African History. Topics include ‘Making Modern East Africa’) [Cross-listed with African American and African Diaspora Studies]
  • History 479/679 (the British Empire)
  • History 732 (Comparative Colonialism)
  • History 738 (Global Africa/Colonialism of a Special Type)