Janeke D Thumbran

Photo of Janeke D Thumbran

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I am a PhD candidate in African history at the University of Minnesota. My dissertation “Community by Design: Self-Reliance and Trusteeship at the University of Pretoria, 1948-2012” is on a former all-white university in South Africa. It examines the university’s attempts to create community during the apartheid period by conceiving of itself as a trustee of black neighborhoods in and around Pretoria. Looking specifically at how the disciplines of sociology, social work and architecture were used as the mechanisms for community and trusteeship during apartheid, I argue that the university’s policy of community engagement serves a similar function in the post-apartheid period.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Education: Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, 2007.
  • BA Honors Historical and Cultural Studies: History, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, 2009.
  • MA, Communication and Information Sciences: Information Sciences, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands, 2010.
  • MA, History: History, Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana, 2012.


  • Africa, southern Africa, architecture, universities
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Imagining America PAGE Fellow: 2013 - 2014
  • National Advisory Board, Imagining America: 2015 - 2017
  • Rethinking Narratives of Removal and Resistance in Post-apartheid South Africa: Thumbran, Janeke, African Studies Review, 57 186-191, 2014. Link
  • Fulbright Foreign Student Program, 2010 - 2012
  • ICGC/Mellon Scholars Fellowship, 2012 - current
  • National Research Foundation Fellowship, South Africa, 2015 - 2016
  • Distinguished Paper (for Visiting Scholar) Award, Breaking Futures Conference, Indiana University (Bloomington), 2015