Instructor (2018–21)

PhD 2017 (history) University of Pennsylvania
AM 2009 (Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies) Columbia University


Mailing Address

The University of Chicago
Department of History
1126 E. 59th Street, Mailbox 23
Chicago, IL 60637

Foster Hall, room 511 – Office
(773) 834-6674 – Office telephone
(773) 702-7550 – Fax

hickerson@uchicago.edu


Research Interests

African history; Middle Eastern history; race and ethnicity; religion; imperialism in East and Central Africa; the global nineteenth century; visual and material culture

Biography

I am a cultural and political historian of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Nile Valley. My first book manuscript examines cultural practices surrounding death throughout the era of Turco-Egyptian imperialism, the Islamic-inspired independent state known as the Mahdiyya, and the beginning of the co-dominion of Sudan by Great Britain and Egypt, as well as the violent transitions between these periods. With examples ranging from the construction of tombs, ceremonies of mourning, the establishment of medical memorials, and the creation of an ethnographic archive, it argues that the legacies of the dead became crucial sites of political struggle in the Nile Valley. My work demonstrates the ways in which these struggles link the history of the Sudans to that of Ottoman Egypt and the British Empire, as well as to political theory, the discipline of anthropology, the history of medicine, and museum collections across Europe and North America.

I am currently working on several additional projects related to African fashion and Islamic textiles, African arms and armor, and the history of photography.

Before coming to the University of Chicago, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a Mary Catherine Mooney Fellow at the Boston Athenæum. I participated in the American Academy of Arts and Science, the American Philosophical Society, and the British Academy’s Early Career Research Workshop in January 2018. My work has been supported by the African Studies Association's Student Travel Fellowship, the Janet Lee Stevens Award, and several Foreign Language Area Studies fellowships. 

I have given invited talks at the University of Oxford, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and Durham University, and presented papers at the Max Planck Institute's Kunsthistorisches Institut, the Centre for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, the University of Cambridge, the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London, and Stanford University, as well as the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, Middle East Studies Association, African Studies Association, and the Sudanese Studies Association. I have contributed to the Journal of Northeast African Studies, the Encyclopaedia of Islam, 3rd edition; and the Sudan Studies Bulletin.