Professor of History
My new project is a book manuscript entitled “Claiming Civic Virtue: Gendered Network Memory in the Mara Region, Tanzania.” I was in Tanzania fall 2010 for the initial research, interviewing over 90 elderly women in the Mara Region. I will also draw on over fifteen years of work in the region. It is under contract with Wisconsin University Press.
I am also in the process of creating the Mara Cultural Heritage Digital Library, using the Greenstone platform. This will make primary sources from my research in the Mara Region including audio, video, text and visual available to people in the region as well as scholars anywhere in the world.
My dissertation research was on oral tradition, social identity and landscape memory in the western Serengeti, Tanzania. http://www.archive.org/details/landscapesofmemo00shet Later publications on the Mara region deal with memory, the social theory of space and environmental history. Research connected to a Fulbright-Hays grant “Studying Peace in Eastern Africa” allowed me to look at social network theory and peace in North Mara, Tanzania and Harar, Ethiopia (Muslim-Christian relations). My current project is about gendered memory.
Ancient Roots of Cultures (Syllabus)
Geography and Culture
Global Issues: History of Global Poverty (Syllabus)
Gender in World History (Syllabus)
GC Seminar: Hope for a New World and Social Memory
History of Ethnic Conflict
The Religious History of Africa
African History (Syllabus)
Representations in Public History: Native America (on-site course in the Southwest, May term)
History Seminar: Analysis
History Seminar: Synthesis
Supervision of Secondary Social Studies Student Teachers
Secondary Social Studies Methods Class for Teacher Education
Oral History Workshop at the OMSC, New Haven CT (2003 and 2004)
Publication of Teaching Portfolio, CITL 2009
“Uncovering Gendered Debates over Civic Virtue in Women’s Historical Memory,”Panel on Methodologies of Institutional History: Gender and the State, African Studies Association, Chicago, Nov. 16, 2017.
“Civil Society Associations as the Root of Intercommunal Peace: The Case of Muslim/Christian Relations in Harar, Ethiopia”and “Building Peaceful Relations between Muslims and Christians: What Can We Learn from Ethiopian Mennonites?” at the University of Winnipeg and Canadian Mennonite University, Menno Simons College International Development Studies and Conflict Resolution Studies program, October 2017.
“Landscape Memory in Oral Tradition of Western Serengeti, Tanzania and Current Wildlife Conservation Debates,” Notre Dame University, October 7, 2017.
Invited speaker for the “Undocumented Stories: Writing Africa and the Americas across the Disciplines” workshop at Columbia University in NYC on November 11, 2016 to discuss a chapter from my manuscript.
“Environmental History and Women’s Memory of Floating Reed Islands in Lake Victoria (Mara Region, Tanzania) During the Period of Disasters 1880-1920,” African Studies Association Meetings, San Diego, November 19-22, 2015.
“Gendering the History of Social Memory in the Mara Region, Tanzania, as an Antidote to Tribal History,” on a panel for Gendering Ethnicity in African Women’s Lives, The 16th Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Toronto, May 24, 2014.
“The Mara Cultural Heritage Digital Library: The Implications of Repatriating Oral Tradition in Digital Media,” African Studies Association, Baltimore, Nov. 22, 2013.
“Gendering the History of Social Memory,” Invited Lecture, African Studies Center Baraza, University of Florida, October 25, 2013.
“Restriction of Women’s Networks and the Rise of Domestic Violence in Interior areas of Colonial Mara Region Tanzania, 1930s-40s,” African Studies Association, Philadelphia, Nov. 30, 2012.
Discussant, chair and review of literature for panel “Women have no Tribe: Why Gendering Ethnicity Matters in the Ongoing Liberation Struggle” and discussant for panel “(Re)Examining Mission and Education: Legacies and Future Directions” at ASA November 2011, Washington DC.
“Landscape Memory in Oral Tradition of Western Serengeti, Tanzania and Current Wildlife Conservation Debates,” Africa Working Group invited lecture series, Notre Dame, Oct. 7, 2011.
“Historical Memory and Expanding Social Networks of Mennonite Mission School Women, Mara Region Tanzania, 1938-present,” Yale-Edinburgh Group: History of the Missionary Movement and World Christianity, Conference on Missions and Education, Yale Divinity School on June 30, 2011.
“Gendering the History of Social Memory in the Mara Region, Tanzania, as an Antidote to Tribal History.” African Studies Association Meetings, San Francisco, November, 2010.
“Building Peaceful Relations between Muslims and Christians: Lessons from Ethiopia and the Meserete Kristos Church.” With Dawit Yehualashet, C. Henry Smith Peace Lecture at Goshen College and Bluffton College, April 2010, and Messiah College March 2011.
“Mapping the Spaces of Muslim-Christian Association: The Walled City of Harar, Ethiopia 1887-present.” With Dawit Yehualashet, African Studies Association Meetings, New Orleans, November 2009.
“The Roots of Intercommunal Peace between Muslims and Christians in Harar, Ethiopia, 1887-2009.” Henry Marten Institute, Hydrabad, India. July 31, 2009.
“Muslim-Christian Relations in Harar, Ethiopia: The Role of Inter-communal Associations in Maintaining Peace.” African Studies Association Meetings, NYC, Oct. 18, 2007.
“Imagining Serengeti.” Afternoon Sabbatical, Goshen College, May 15, 2007
“Narratives of unity and difference: Post-colonial popular historians of North and South Mara, Tanzania.” African Studies Association Meetings, San Francisco, November 16-19, 2006
“Ethnic Narratives of Unity and Difference: Post-colonial Popular Historians of North and South Mara, Tanzania.” Cambridge Workshop, “Ethno-History and the Construction of Identity in Twentieth-Century Africa”. 31 March – 1 April 2006. http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/2005-6/ethnohist.html
“Memory and Pre-colonial Clan Identity as Strategies for Prosperity in the Western Serengeti, Tanzania.” African Studies Association Meetings, New Orleans, 2004
“Restoring People to the Historical Serengeti Landscape: How western Serengeti peoples came to be ‘poachers,’” Panel on “Serengeti: The Human Dimension.” African Studies Association Meetings, Boston, October 30 to November 2, 2003
“Comparative Studies in World History Approach to the Curriculum.” Panel: “New Approaches to World History Curriculum at the Small Liberal Arts College”. World History Association, Atlanta, June 26-29, 2003
“New Strategies for Teaching the African Past.” Alumni Seminar on African History, Center for African Studies, University of Florida, April 25, 2003
“Some Ideas for Coping with Teaching all of Africa through all of Time in One Semester.” Indiana Consortium for International Programs and the Indiana University African Studies Program, “Teaching About Africa in the New Millennium”, Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park, March 22, 2003
“Historical Precedents for Radical Social Change in a Global Context: The Western Serengeti Meaning of ‘Coming from Sonjo’ in a 19th Century Maasai World.” African Studies Association Meetings, Washington D.C., December 5-8, 2002
“Giving Back: How Scholars Relate to the People They Study.” Goshen College Convocation, November 2002.
“Learning How to Give and Receive: African Approaches to Rethinking Aid.” Afternoon Sabbatical, Goshen College, February 12, 2002
“Identifying Changes in Intergenerational Relations through Oral Sources: The Western Serengeti Innovation during the Generation of Disasters (1870-1895).” Millennium Conference, University of Dar es Salaam, Department of History and the Historical Association of Tanzania. June 27-29, 2001
“What will the Elders Say?: The Politics of Publishing Oral Sources from the Mara Region, Tanzania.” African Studies Association Meetings, Nashville, November 16, 2000
“The Gendered Control of Ethnic Histories from the Mara Region, Tanzania.” African Studies Association Meetings, Philadelphia, November 11-14, 1999
“Ethnic Identity in Colonial Tanganyika and its Consequences: The Serengeti National Park Controversy, 1930-1958.” African Studies Association, Chicago, October 1998
“‘Region’ as a Historical Product: Mental Maps of Western Serengeti Oral Tradition.” American Historical Association Meetings, Seattle, January 11, 1998
“The Choosing of the Early German Chiefs and Maps of Local Authority in the Musoma District, Tanzania.” African Studies Association, Columbus, November 14, 1997
“The Gendered Spaces of Historical Knowledge: Women’s Knowledge and Extraordinary Women in the Western Serengeti, Tanzania.” Conference on Gender, Power and Difference in African Societies, I.S.G.A., UCLA. June 6-8, 1997
“The Emerging Space of Ethnicity: The Disasters of the Late Nineteenth Century in Western Serengeti, Tanzania.” Center for African Studies and Department of History Colloquium, University of Florida, February 12, 1997
“Place-names in the Oral Traditions of the Western Serengeti, Tanzania.” African Studies Association Meetings, San Francisco, November 1996
“Is There Anything “New” in Precolonial History? Spatial Aspects of Oral Traditions in the Mara Region.” University of Dar es Salaam History Department Seminar, Tanzania, May 23, 1996
“Claiming Civic Virtue: Gendered Network Memory in the Mara Region, Tanzania,” book manuscript under contract with University of Wisconsin Press.
Editor, introduction and one chapter: Gendering Ethnicity in African Women’s Lives, University of Wisconsin Press, Women in Africa and the Diaspora series, 2015.
Editor: Grasp the Shield Firmly, the Journey is Hard: The History of Luo and Bantu Migrations to North Mara, Tanzania, 1850-1950, written by Zedekia Oloo Siso, Mkuki na Nyota Press, Dar es Salaam, 2010.
Imagining Serengeti: A History of Landscape Memory in Tanzania from Earliest Times to the Present, Athens: Ohio University Press, May 2007.
Telling our Own Stories: Local Histories from South Mara, Tanzania, African Sources for African History, Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2003.
Edited and produced by Jan Shetler, Goshen College, 2001
Historia ya Ikizu na Sizaki, by P. M. Mturi and S. Sasora.
Historia ya Abakiroba: Desturi na Mila Zao, by Marwa Kishamuri.
Historia ya Mzee Magoto Mossi Magoto, by Nyamaganda Magoto.
Kamusi Ndogo ya Kinata-Kiswahili, by Augustine N. M. Kisigiro.
“The Mara Cultural Heritage Digital Library: The Implications of the Digital Return of Oral Tradition.” In Searching for Sharing: Heritage and Multimedia in Africa, edited by Daniela Merolla and Mark Turin. World Oral Literature Project, Cambridge UK: Open Book Publishers, 2017. https://www.openbookpublishers.com/product.php/590?590
“Gendering the History of Social Memory in the Mara Region, Tanzania, as an Antidote to “Tribal” History.” In Gendering Ethnicity in African Women’s Lives, edited by Jan Bender Shetler, University of Wisconsin Press, 2015.
“‘Region’ as Historical Production: Narrative Maps from the Western Serengeti, Tanzania.” in The Spatial Factor in African History, edited by Allen M. Howard and Richard M. Shain, Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2005.
“Building Peaceful Relations between Muslims and Christians: What Can we Learn from Ethiopia?” The Mennonite Quarterly Review, 67, 3 (July 2013): 317-334.
“Historical Memory and Expanding Social Networks of Mennonite Mission School Women, Mara Region Tanzania, 1938-present. Studies in World Christianity, 18, 1 (April, 2012): 63-81. http://www.euppublishing.com/journal/swc
“Building a ‘City of Peace’ through Intercommunal Association: Muslim-Christian Relations in Harar, Ethiopia, 1887-2009.” With Dawit Yehualashet. Journal of Religion, Conflict and Peace, Vol. 4, Issue 1 (Fall 2010). http://www.religionconflictpeace.org/node/75
“Historical Memory as a Foundation for Peace: Network Formation and Ethnic Identity in North Mara, Tanzania.” Journal of Peace Research, 47, 5 (2010): 639-650.
“Interpreting Rupture in Oral Memory: The Regional Context for Changes in Western Serengeti Age Organization.” Journal of African History, 44 (2004): 385-412.
“The Gendered Spaces of Historical Knowledge: Women’s Knowledge and Extraordinary Women in the Serengeti District, Tanzania.” International Journal of African Historical Studies, 36, 2 (2003): 283-307.
“How then shall we teach a ‘collective alternative imagination’?” Mennonite Life, 58, 1 (March 2003) http://www.bethelks.edu/mennonitelife/2003Mar/shetler.php
“The Politics of Publishing Oral Sources from the Mara Region, Tanzania.” History in Africa, Vol. 29, 2002. pp. 413-26. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0361-5413(2002)29%3C413%3ATPOPOS%3E2.0.CO%3B2-9%20
“Of Boundary Shifters and Disappearing Tribes: Reverberations between East Africa and the American Southwest.” New Mexico Historical Review, Vol. 71, No. 3 (July 1996) 257-267.
“A Gift for Generations to Come: A Kiroba Popular History from Tanzania and Identity as Social Capital in the 1980s.” International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1 (1995): 69-112.
Peoples of the Western Serengeti, a video produced with Goshen College ITS Media, June 2002
Digital Library under Construction
The Mara Cultural Heritage Digital Library, Greenstone platform, primary sources from research in the Mara Region including audio, video, text and visual.
Faculty Research Fellow, Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning 2011-12
Sabbatical Year 2010-11 from Goshen College for 3 months of research in Tanzania, writing a book manuscript, “Claiming Civic Virtue: Gendered Network Memory in the Mara Region, Tanzania,” and work on the Mara Cultural Heritage Digital Library.
C. Henry Smith Peace Lectureship, Goshen College and Bluffton University, 2009 –2010. “What Mennonites Can Learn from Ethiopia and the Meserete Kristos Church about Building Peaceful Relations between Muslims and Christians.” With Dawit Yehualashet at Bluffton and Goshen Colleges, 2010 and Messiah College, 2011.
Finalist for the 2005 Paul Hair Prize, for Telling our own Stories: Local Histories from South Mara, Tanzania, African Studies Association, November 2005
Choice Outstanding Academic Titles for 2003, for Telling our own Stories: Local Histories from South Mara
The Institute for the Study of Religion and Culture in Africa and the African Diaspora, University of Notre Dame, Fellow 2001-2002
Linda Vance Scholarship Award, for best dissertation in Women’s History, University of Florida, 1998
Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Program, to Tanzania and Ethiopia, 2007-2009. “Studying Peace in Eastern Africa”
Mininger Center Faculty Research Grant, Goshen College, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.
National Endowment for the Humanities, Research Fellowship, June 1– December 30, 2003
Multi-Cultural Education Grant and Faculty Women’s Scholarship Grant for summer research trip to Tanzania, June 2001 and 2003
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Florida, Dissertation Write-up Fellowship, 1997
Social Science Research Council Fellowship, International Doctoral Research, 1995-1996
Fulbright IIE, 1995
Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship, 1992-1994
University of Florida Grinter Fellowship and Research Assistant, 1991-1992
African Studies Quarterly Advisory and Editorial Board 2009 – present
African Studies Association
American Historical Association
Tanzania Studies Association, Vice President 2005-2008
Mennonite Historical Society
Elkhart County Historical Society Board Member
World History Association
Jan Bender Shetler teaches World History, particularly Africa and the developing world, at Goshen College. Her research is on oral tradition, social identity and landscape memory in the western Serengeti, Tanzania. Before teaching she worked eleven years for Mennonite Central Committee doing community development in Ethiopia, the Congo and Tanzania. Courses such a as Ethnic Conflict, Global Poverty, Environmental History and Women’s History reflect her desire to connect history with issues of current concern.
- Department of History, Goshen College
- Grant writing for Dolores Co, CO, public school substitute teacher, farmer
- Dissertation Research, Tanzania
- Research Assistant and FLAS Fellow, University of Florida
- Mennonite Central Committee (M.C.C.). Ethiopia. Secondary School teacher (1980-83). Portugal (1984), Zaire (1984) and Tanzania. Coordinator for rural community development projects including women’s groups, and Co-Country Representative for M.C.C. (1985-1991).