Caitlin Barker

Year in Program: 3

Committee: Nwando Achebe (co-chair), Jamie Monson (co-chair), Aminda Smith, Charles Keith

Research Languages: French, Hausa, Mandarin Chinese

Educational Background: B.A. Political Science, Kenyon College, 2013


I am a PhD candidate studying modern African intellectual history, with a particular interest in China-Africa relations during the Cold War. My research investigates how a diverse array of Cameroonians mediated Chinese knowledge of Africa and imperialism during delegation visits to the PRC, and as they hosted Chinese delegates in Cameroon.

My dissertation research is supported by a Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) from the Social Science Research Council and the Gliozzo Dissertation Research Scholarship from MSU. Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships from the U.S. Department of Education for the study of Hausa and Mandarin Chinese supported my coursework and language training, and I also hold a University Distinguished Fellowship from the MSU Graduate School. 

After graduating from Kenyon College in 2013 with a B.A. in political science, I taught American history for a year at Hefei No. 8 Senior Middle School in Hefei, China. I then served as a Peace Corps Community Health Volunteer in the Eastern Adamawa region of Cameroon, before returning to Hefei to teach English at Anhui Agricultural University for two years. At MSU, I worked for one year as an Editorial Assistant and Office Manager for the Journal of West African History, and have served as a research assistant for both Dr. Nwando Achebe and Dr. Jamie Monson. I have also served as a teaching assistant for HST 150: World History since 1500 (online).