Keller’s Analysis Featured in Washington Post

Kathleen Keller, professor of history and director of the African Studies program, wrote about the recent royal tour of the Caribbean.
Posted on March 31st, 2022 by

Dr. Kathleen Keller

Professor Kathleen Keller, who serves as a professor in the Gustavus Department of History and director of the College’s African Studies Program, had an article published in the Washington Post’s perspective section on Thursday, March 31, 2022. Her piece features an analysis of the recent visit by Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, to several Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean.

Set against the backdrop of other royal tours by figures in the British monarchy, Keller weaves a compelling tapestry that illustrates that the recent protests faced by William and Kate are part of a broader historical pattern of pushback against colonial rule. She draws on examples from India and Kenya to highlight that the carefully curated images and narratives surrounding royal visits are often at odds with the experiences of the people who live as colonial subjects.

Will and Kate’s tour was at once a celebration of the queen’s jubilee and an attempt to generate goodwill that could preserve the role of the British head of state in these countries,” Keller wrote. “But by the end of the current royal tour, voices in opposition to the monarchy had only grown. William issued a closing statement that conceded that the future of the Commonwealth may well mean members choosing someone else to ‘lead its family in the future.'”

Keller, who has taught at Gustavus since 2011, is an expert on the complicated history of European colonization. Her first book, Colonial Suspects: Suspicion, Imperial Rule, and Colonial Society in Interwar French West Africa, was published in April 2018 by University of Nebraska Press. It recounts the surveillance of “suspicious persons” by French colonial police in the interwar era. The book delves into the politics of colonial rule, the role of the “civilizing mission,” and understandings of urban people and space. Keller holds a PhD in history from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s degree in history and French from the University of Notre Dame.

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