Iris B. Berger

Region of Interest


Primary Country of Residence

United States of America


Professor of History


University at Albany, State University of New York


Mailing Address

History Department
Social Science 145
University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12222 USA

Phone/Fax Number(s)

phone: 518-442-5315/5300
fax: 518-442-5301

Countries of Specialization

South Africa

Research Interests

Research interests in Twentieth Century South Africa, particularly gender,
labor, political movements, and popular culture; continuing interest in
gender and religion in precolonial East Africa.

Teaching Interests

Teaching areas on Africa include precolonial and modern history, women's
history (African and comparative), and the history of South Africa.


South Africa in World History, New York: Oxford University Press
(forthcoming, 2008).

Associate Editor, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World
History, General Ed., Bonnie Smith, 4 vols., New York: Oxford University
Press, 2008.

Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: Restoring Women to History, with E. Frances
White. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999; [Japanese
translation, Chizuko Tominaga, Tokyo: Miraisha, 2004].

Threads of Solidarity: Women in South African Industry, 1900-1980,
Bloomington: Indiana University Press and London: James Currey, 1992.

Women and Class in Africa, ed. with Claire Robertson, New York: Holmes
and Meier/Africana Publishing Co., 1986.

Religion and Resistance: East African Kingdoms in the Precolonial Period,
Tervuren, Belgium: Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale and Butare,
Rwanda: Institut National de Recherche Scientifique, 1981.

Edited Volumes

Editor, Journal of African History, Cambridge University Press,

Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, co-editor, special issue
on .Postcolonial, Emergent and Indigenous Feminisms,. 20, No. 4 (Summer

Women in International Perspective: Course Outlines, Albany, NY: IROW,


"Feminism, Patriarchy, and African Women.s History," Journal of Women's
History (forthcoming 20, No. 2, 2008)

"East Africa: Twentieth Century," Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World
History, General Ed. Bonnie Smith, New York: Oxford University Press,

"Frances Baard," Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, General
Ed. Bonnie Smith, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

"From Ethnography to Social Welfare: Ray Phillips and Representations of
Urban Women in South Africa," LFM/Social Sciences & Missions, No. 19,
(December 2006), 91-116 [Published in 2007].

"Generations of Struggle: Trade Unions and the Roots of Feminism,
1930-60," Basus'iimbokodo, bawel'imilambo/They Remove Boulders and Cross
Rivers: Women in South African History, ed. Nomboniso Gasa. Cape Town:
Human Sciences Research Council, 2007.

"Perspectives, Interpretations, and Challenges," Northeast African Studies
8, No. 2 (New Series) 2001, 5-11. [Published in 2005]

"Women's Movements in South Africa, Past and Present," Phoebe: Journal of
Gender & Cultural Critiques 16, No. 2 (Fall 2004), 1-11.

"'One Big Gender Fight?' Women, Gender and the Reconceptualization of
African History," ed., Chizuko Tominaga, Rethinking African History from
Women.s/Gender Perspectives. Osaka: The Japan Center for Area Studies,
National Museum of Ethnology, 2004. [Japanese translation, 2007]

"Introduction," Ray Alexander Simons, All My Life and All My Strength, ed.
Raymond Suttner. Johannesburg: STE Press, 2004.

"African Women's History: Themes and Perspectives," Journal of Colonialism
and Colonial History 4, No. 1 (2003). [On-line refereed journal]

"An African American 'Mother of the Nation': Madie Hall Xuma in South
Africa, 1940-1963," Journal of Southern African Studies 27, No. 3
(September 2001), 547-66. [Reprinted with revisions in Extending the
Diaspora: New Scholarship on the History of Black Peoples, eds. Dawne
Curry and Eric Duke. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, forthcoming

"Modikwe Dikobe's The Marabi Dance," African Novels in the Classroom, ed.
Margaret Jean Hay. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2000.

"Marxists or Fashionable Ladies? Gender, Identity and Working-Class
History," South Africa in Comparative Perspective, ed. Ran Greenstein.
London: Macmillan, 1998.

"Contested Boundaries: African Studies Facing the Millennium," African
Studies Review 40, No. 2 (September 1997), 1-14.

"Marxism and Women.s History: African Perspectives," Contention: Debates
in Society, Culture, and Science, 4, No. 3 (Spring 1995), 31-45.
[Reprinted in Debating Gender, Debating Sexuality, ed. Nikki R. Keddie,
New York: New York University Press, 1996.]

"'Beasts of Burden' Revisited: Interpretations of Women and Gender in
Southern Africa," Paths Toward the Past: African Historical Essays in
Honor of Jan Vansina eds. Robert W. Harms, Joseph C. Miller, David S.
Newbury and Michele D. Wagner. Atlanta: ASA Press, 1994.

"Fertility as Power: Spirit Mediums, Priestesses and the State," in
Revealing Prophets: Prophecy in East African History, eds. David Anderson
and Douglas Johnson, London: James Currey, 1994.

"Women of Sub-Saharan Africa: Eastern and Southern Africa," in Restoring
Women to History: Women in the History of Africa, Asia, Latin America and
the Caribbean, and the Middle East, eds. Cheryl Johnson-Odim and Margaret
Strobel, Bloomington: Organization of American Historians, 1988 (revised

"Categories and Contexts: Reflections on the Politics of Identity in
South Africa," Feminist Studies, 18, No. 4 (Summer 1992), 284-94.

"Gender, Race, and Political Empowerment: South African Canning Workers,
1940-1960," Gender & Society, 4, No. 3 (September 1990), 398-420.

"Creating Solidarity: Food and Canning Workers at the Cape, 1940-1960,"
The Societies of Southern Africa in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Vol. 15,
Collected Seminar Papers No. 38, University of London, Institute of
Commonwealth Studies, 1990, 128-40.

"Gender and Working-Class History: South Africa in Comparative
Perspective," Journal of Women's History, 1, No. 2 (Fall 1989), 117-133.
[Reprinted in Expanding the Boundaries of Women.s History: Essays on
Women in the Third World, eds. Cheryl Johnson-Odim and Margaret Strobel,
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.]

"Forum: Beyond Dichotomies, III African Perspective," Gender and History,
1, No. 3 (Autumn 1989), 315-18.

"Solidarity Fragmented: Garment Workers of the Transvaal, 1930-1960," in
The Politics of Race, Class and Nationalism in Twentieth Century South
Africa, eds. Shula Marks and Stanley Trapido, London: Longman, 1987.

"Analyzing Class and Gender: African Perspectives," with C. Robertson, in
Women and Class in Africa, eds. I. Berger and C. Robertson, New York:
Holmes and Meier, 1986, pp. 3-24.

"Whose Past? Perspectives on African Women.s History," Issue, 14 (1985),

"Sources of Class Consciousness: South African Women in Recent Labor
Struggles," International Journal of African Historical Studies, 16, No. 1
(1983), 49-66. [Reprinted in Women and Class in Africa, eds. I. Berger
and C. Robertson.]

"Deities, Dynasties and Oral Tradition: The History and Legend of the
Abacwezi," in The African Past Speaks, ed. Joseph Miller, London: Dawson
Publishing Co., 1980.

"Rebels or Status Seekers? Women as Spirit Mediums in East Africa," in
Women in Africa: Studies in Social and Economic Change, eds. Nancy Hafkin
and Edna Bay, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1976. [Reprinted in
Readings in Gender in Africa, ed. Andrea Cornwall, Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 2005; Problems in African History: The Precolonial
Centuries, ed. Robert Collins, New York: Markus Weiner, 1993.]

"The Cwezi Cults and the History of Western Uganda," with Carole Buchanan,
in East African Culture History, ed. Joseph T. Gallagher, Syracuse:
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University,


gender ; labor ; political movements ; popular culture ; religion.