Participant Info

First Name
Sarah Emily
Last Name
Colby College
Website URL
modern South Africa, British Empire, childhood, age, gender and sexuality, education, nineteenth-century evangelicalism
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am an historian at Colby College in Maine, and I hold a PhD in Modern History from Birkbeck, University of London. My research is on histories of childhood and sexuality in nineteenth- and twentieth-century South Africa, and my current project traces histories of sex education in twentieth-century South Africa. I am also interested in histories of age, education, food, and nineteenth-century Protestant evangelicalism.

I am the author of Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhood, 1860-1895 (Palgrave Studies in the History of Childhood, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). I have published in the Journal of Southern African Studies, the South African Historical Journal, the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, Kronos, as well as in several edited collections. My journalism has appeared in the Guardian, Fire and Knives, the New Humanist, The Conversation, Notches, Nursing Clio, and Africa is a Country.

Before joining Colby, I was based at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I was funded by a prestigious, five-year Research Career Advancement Fellowship from the National Research Foundation (NRF). Before that, I held an NRF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Stellenbosch University, and lectured at Goldsmiths, University of London.

I have held fellowships at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (2017), as well as the Summer Programme in Social Science (2015-2017), an initiative run jointly by the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), the L’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris), and the Swedish Collegium (Uppsala).

Recent Publications

S.E. Duff, Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhood, 1860-1895, Palgrave Studies in the History of Childhood (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

S.E. Duff, ‘The Dutch Reformed Church and the Protestant Atlantic: Revivalism and Evangelicalism in the Nineteenth-Century Cape Colony,’ South African Historical Journal, Special Edition on New Histories of Christianity in Southern Africa, vol. 70, no. 2 (2018).

S.E. Duff, ‘Babies of the Empire: Science, Nation, and Truby King’s Mothercraft in Early Twentieth-Century South Africa,’ in Children, Childhood and Youth in the British World: Historical Perspectives, eds. Simon Sleight and Shirleene Robinson (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), pp. 59-73.

S.E. Duff, ‘Facts about Ourselves: Negotiating Sexual Knowledge in Early Twentieth-Century South Africa,’ Kronos, Special Edition on the Micro-Politics of Knowledge, vol. 41 (2015), pp. 199-219.

S.E. Duff, ‘Capture the Children: Writing Children and Childhood into the South African War, 1899-1902,’ Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, vol. 7, no. 3 (Fall 2014), pp. 355-376.

S.E. Duff, ‘The Jam and Matchsticks Problem: Working-Class Girlhood in Late Nineteenth-Century Cape Town,’ Colonial Girlhood in Literature, Culture, and History, 1840-1950, eds. Kristine Moruzi and Michelle Smith (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 124-140.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
South Africa
Expertise by Geography
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Family, Food History, Gender, Religion, Sexuality, Women