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Title: Militancy, moderation, & Mau Mau
Author: Ostendorff, Daniel A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 2026
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines the lives of Senior Chief Koinange wa Mbiyu and his eldest son, Peter Mbiyu Koinange. It joins with the growing rise of biographical work within African Studies. It challenges the historical understanding of late colonial rule in Kenya and the role of official myth in pre- and post-independence historical narratives. Koinange wa Mbiyu was the patriarch of one of the most respected, wealthy, and politically influential Kikuyu families of Kenya's colonial and post-colonial period. His eldest son, Peter Mbiyu, received a prestigious education abroad and returned to Kenya where he became a prominent leader for African independent education African political action. Koinange and Peter bear frequent mention in academic discussions of collaboration, discontent, nationalism, and militancy in Kenya's colonial era. This thesis challenges the widely held narrative that Koinange and Peter embraced militant politics opposing colonial rule during the 1940s. While fitting larger understandings of decolonisation, it is not an honest depiction of the Koinange's political actions. As a result, this thesis is intentionally a work of revisionist history that looks to the profound changes in the culture and nature of colinal rule during the 1940s, rather than a political shift in the Koinanges. In addition to challenging the prevalent understanding of Koinange and Peter's political action, this thesis raises a number of areas - gender, wealth, elite and family dynamics, to name a few - where the Koinange family history would further illuminate the historical understanding of the colonial era. This thesis is a dual biography, crafted as a work of narrative history. It challenges a breadth of current scholarship, utilizing the largest collection of pre-Mau Mau archival records to date. This thesis engages with a number of historiographical challenges related to biography, the individual, the family, and the challenges of oral history shaped in the crucible of cultural crisis.
Supervisor: Branch, Dan ; Mahone, Sloan ; Anderson, David ; Larmer, Miles Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Narrative History ; Revisionist History ; African History ; History ; Biography ; African chiefs ; Kenya ; African politics ; decolonization ; Mau Mau ; colonial Kenya