Dr. Julie MacArthur’s research interests revolve around the role of cartography and geographic imaginations, borders and local practices of space, memory and representation in constructions of community, power, and dissent in modern Africa. She has previously published on electoral politics, linguistic history, and the making of political communities. Her first book, Cartography and the Political Imagination in Colonial Kenya (Ohio University Press, 2016) explores mapping, ethnogenesis, and dissenting politics in colonial Kenya. In 2017, she edited and served as primary author on Dedan Kimathi on Trial: Colonial Justice and Popular Memory in Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion (Ohio University Press, 2017). This edited volume makes public the recently uncovered trial of Mau Mau rebel Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi and contains contributions from leading scholars reflecting on the nature of colonial justice; the moral arguments over rebellion, nationalism, and the end of empire; the gaps between historical and popular imaginations; and the complex politics of postcolonial memory and memorialization. Her new research project entitled Radical Cartographies focuses on the alternative mappings of decolonization, sovereignty, and citizenship across eastern Africa, 1950-1976.
Dr. MacArthur has also worked extensively in the field of African cinema, both as a curator and as an academic. Her new project, entitled African Cinema and the Political Imagination, explores film as a central technology through which Africans compose, edit and consolidate their pasts, and as a means to express and engage with pressing social and political concerns in contemporary Africa. She is fellow with the Jackman Humanities Institute, who have partnered with the University of Western Cape, South Africa, for a multi-year collaboration entitled “Aesthetic Education”. She has worked as a programming associate with the Toronto International Film Festival and Film Africa in London as well as serving as the Director of the Cambridge African Film Festival for several years. She previously served as the Director of Content Acquisition for Buni.TV, an online platform for the distribution of African content and she regularly curates film programmes and participates in film forums and festivals across the world.