Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Helsinki
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Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a researcher working in the intersection of oral history, gender studies, and cultural history. My areal specialisation is in eastern and southern Africa.

In my doctoral research, I started with the study of recent history, focusing on the shifting gendered aesthetics of belonging in the life historical memories of female ex-combatants of Mozambique’s independence war (1964-1974). This research was published in my first book, Women’s Lived Landscapes of War and Liberation in Mozambique: Bodily Memory and the Gendered Aesthetics of Belonging, which appeared in the Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Africa series in 2019. In my Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship project (2019-2021) based at Ghent University in Belgium, I sought to go deeper into the past. Combining research in oral history and oral traditions (along with archival sources), I studied female political and spiritual authority in nineteenth century Yaawo society (in present-day northern Mozambique) and the ways that this past still echoes in the present. In my current research, I’m interested in further expanding the temporal scope of my research and developing new methodological skills in the process. Thus, building on my acquired expertise in the field of oral history research, I add a new dimension to my research by combining it with the study of word histories. Overall, I am interested in exploring new methodological routes in the research and writing of African gender histories over the long timespan.

Recent Publications

A Peer-reviewed scientific articles

Scientific books (monographs)

  • Katto, Jonna. Women’s Narratives of War and Liberation in Mozambique: Bodily Memory and The Gendered Aesthetics of Belonging. London: Routledge, 2019. Open access to book:

Key Research-Based Popular Publications

  • Katto, Jonna (in collaboration with Helena Baide and Domingos Aly). The Queen is the Boss! On Gender and Power in Northern Mozambique. An Online Oral History Exhibition. 29 Sept 2022, GENHIS-AFRICA research project. This research-based exhibit is available in English, Portuguese, and Ciyaawo.
  • Katto, Jonna. “On Gender, Power and Time in Northern Mozambique: A Three-Part Photo Essay Series.” 28 Jan 2021, GENHIS-AFRICA research project.
  • Katto, Jonna. “Women’s Memories of Food Offer Insights into Mozambique’s Liberation Struggle.” The Conversation Africa, 8 Nov 2020,
  • Katto, Jonna. ‘A Avó foi Guerrilheira’: Memórias de Vida das Mulheres que Lutaram pela Independência de Moçambique no Norte do Niassa / ‘Grandma was a Guerrilla Fighter’: Life Memories of the Women who Fought for Mozambique’s Independence in Northern Niassa, translated by João Figueiredo (Helsinki: 2018). This dual-language popular monograph is a collection of the life histories of 35 women ex-combatants. The e-book is freely available at
Media Coverage
Country Focus
Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania
Expertise by Geography
Expertise by Chronology
Expertise by Topic
Gender, Women