Elliot James

Currently, I hold a Diversity Pre-Doctoral Teaching Fellowship at the University of Minnesota, Morris, where I am completing my dissertation, "Sithutha Isizwe ('We carry the nation'): Gender and the (un) Making of the Taxi in South Africa, 1908-Present." At UMM I teach Africa Since 1700 and Gender & Sexuality in African History, and serve on the African and Black American Studies curriculum committee. Born and raised in the Bronx, NYC, my 11-year engagement with intellectuals and institutions in South Africa shapes my approach to African History. My teaching and research additionally benefit from 15 years of social justice work in U.S. queer people of color communities.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • BA: History, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, 2005.


  • African History
  • Southern Africa
  • History of Technology
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Public History
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Research Assistant, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, 2014 - 2015:
  • Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Witwatersrand; Seminar in Experimental Critical Theory IX, University of California Humanities Research Institute, 2014:
  • Visiting Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Doctoral Fellow, Programme on the Study of the Humanities in Africa, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, 2013:


  • "Sithutha Isizwe ('We carry the nation'): Gender and the (un) Making of the Taxi in South Africa, 1908-Present": As cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg gentrify, my dissertation analyzes various primary sources from 1908 to the present to show how gender was central to the development of the biggest black business under apartheid--the minibus taxi industry. This is a gendered history of technology and capitalism, which has widely been taken for granted, but that powerfully bears upon how diverse people engage and plan the futures of global cities divided by race and class.:


  • Board of Directors Member, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota:
  • AmeriCorps Alumnus, College Possible (formerly Admission Possible) Senior Coach, Harding High School, St. Paul, MN:
  • Workshop Organizer, Discussion Facilitator, and/or Invited Speaker/Panelist: Upper Midwest Queer Indigenous and People of Color Conference, Walker Art Center, U of M Black Faculty and Staff Association, Tongues Untied U of M Queer People of Color Group, Out After Carleton LGBT Alumni Reunion, Carleton College Multicultural Alumni Network Gathering, ICGC Brown Bag Seminar Series, U of M Departments of African and African American Studies, History, and Political Science, and the Universities of Fort Hare and the Western Cape in South Africa.:


  • "Black Conviviality" Project with Tia-Simone Gardner (Juxtaposition Arts; U of M Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies), 2015:
  • University of Minnesota Morris Diversity Pre-Doctoral Teaching Fellowship, 2015 - 2016
  • Oxford Bibliographies in African Studies Graduate Student Article Award, 2015
  • Steven J. Schochet Endowment in GLBT Studies Best Graduate Academic Paper Award, 2014
  • ICGC Mellon Scholar Dissertation Fellowship, 2013 - 2014