Marie Kruger

Associate Professor

My current book project examines the representation of women’s political activism in South African visual culture. I focus on two specific expressions of visual culture: 1) narrative and documentary films that recount women’s political activism during apartheid and in a now democratic South Africa; and 2) a series of multi-media exhibitions in central Johannesburg that place into conversation anti-apartheid resistance with contemporary social justice issues ( The exhibitions occupy several former prison buildings where prominent political dissidents, from Fatima Meer to Winnie Mandela Madikizela, together with thousands of other South Africans were imprisoned during apartheid. Once a place closely associated with state-sponsored violence, the exhibitions have physically transformed an apartheid prison complex into a mixed-use site of public remembrance, civic activism, and commercial activities.

My previous book, Women’s Literature in Kenya and Uganda: The Trouble with Modernity, draws attention to fictional works that constitute a vital, yet often overlooked part of the cultural and creative exchanges in Eastern Africa. I argue that the writers’ simultaneous interest in gender dynamics within local communities and in social exchanges between two neighboring East African nations allows for a unique examination of the relationship between modernity, gender, and the complex cultural and political networks of the Great Lakes Region.

My work has been published in edited volumes and scholarly journals, including Safundi, English in Africa, African Studies, Research in African Literatures, Postcolonial Text, Swahili Forum, and The Nairobi Journal of Literature.

I am committed to creating a hospitable and welcoming space in my classes and to provide students with the resources they need to meaningfully participate. Working toward an inclusive learning environment, a space where students can exchange ideas, share their experiences, and collaboratively create a sense of community, is an ongoing process.  On my continued journey toward this goal, I have greatly benefitted from my service on the Department’s DEI committee (IDEAS), from my participation in DEI training offered through the BUILD program and the Center for Teaching at UI, as well as from my participation in workshops led by the Multicultural Initiatives Research Team (College of Education/ Professor Sherry Watt). By the end of the spring semester 2023 I will earn my BUILD certification (Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity = BUILD).

Research Areas:
African & Diasporic Literatures & Film; Post-Colonial & Transnational Studies
Museum/Heritage Studies; Gender & Sexuality
Visual Studies; Trauma Studies/Post-traumatic growth

Marie Kruger CV

Marie Kruger
Contact Information

370 English-Philosophy Building (EPB)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States