Liz Timbs


Website: NginguThembi

Twitter: @tizlimbs

Year in Program: 6

Advisor: Dr. Peter Alegi

Committee: Dr. Pero Dagbovie, Dr. Walter Hawtorne III, Dr. John Waller

Fields: African History (specifically South Africa), African American History, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Languages: isiZulu

Educational Background: M.A., Comparative World History, 2009, George Mason University;  B.A., History and Political Science, 2006, Belmont University

Teaching Experience:
Michigan State University
Graduate Assistant: LEADR (Fall 2014-Spring 2017)
Teaching Assistant: ISS 328: Social Science of Sport; ISS 330A: Africa, Social Science Perspectives; IAH 205: Africa and the World

Columbia State Community College
Adjunct Faculty: HIST 1110: Survey of World Civilization I; HIST 1120: Survey of World Civilization II; HIST 2010: Survey of US History

“An In(ter)vention of Tradition: Medical Male Circumcision in KwaZulu-Natal, 2009–2016.” Journal of Natal and Zulu History (2018). PDF available here

Office: 222 Old Horticulture

I am a sixth year doctoral candidate, working with Peter Alegi.  My research focuses on the intersections of age, gender, and ethnicity in identity formation among Zulu-speakers in South Africa.  My dissertation traces the institution of the amabutho (Zulu regiments) from its origins as a pre-colonial military system to its contemporary invocations in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I conducted the research for this project during the 2016 calendar year as a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellow.

Prior to joining the History Department at MSU, I earned a B.A. in History and Political Science at Belmont University.  I followed this with a M.A. in Comparative World History at George Mason University, under the supervision of Benedict Carton.  While at GMU, I also produced a M.A. thesis on the history of the first U.S. government-funded HIV programs in South Africa, investigating the gendered policies of the program and the connections between early interventions in South Africa and their contemporary legacies.

As a digital historian, I work to integrate digital methods and tools to enhance both my research and my workflow.  As a Cultural Heritage Informatics fellow in the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 academic years, I learned tools and methods that allowed me to build my first digital project, Imbiza: A Digital Repository of the 2010 World Cup (Another project, Zulus on Display, was also built during my time at CHI but currently is under construction).  I have also worked as a graduate assistant in LEADR, working with instructors to design digital assignments and integrate digital tools into undergraduate and graduate courses.  In 2014, I began the Digital Archive series for Africa Is A Country, reviewing new projects and archives of interest to Africanists.  I have also contributed content to Football Is Coming Home and GradHacker.


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