Emily Burrill

Emily S. Burrill

Emily S. Burrill is an associate professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and coeditor of Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa. She is also Director of the UNC African Studies Center at Chapel Hill. Emily Burrill’s research centers on twentieth century francophone West Africa and histories of gender and power within colonial and postcolonial contexts. She is currently completing a book entitled States of Marriage: Gender, Justice, and Rights in Colonial Mali. In States of Marriage, Burrill argues that marriage is both a set of practices and debates. She examines the ways in which the contours of marriage reform in French Soudan (colonial Mali) can be traced through transformations in the colonial court system and local African engagements with state-making processes. Her second book-length project is a social and political biography of Aoua Keita, the first woman elected to the National Assembly of Mali and a professionally-trained midwife. This project is centered on the late colonial context of nationalism and labor organizing in Africa and the Global South through the 1940s-1970s. The second project addresses themes of gendered expert knowledge, socialism and Muslim identity, and postcolonial feminism. Burrill is also engaged in a long-term collaborative and interdisciplinary study on the marital form in global context. She is interested in marriage as a cultural practice related to value, exchange, and belief, as well as an instrument for managing rights, obligations, and privileges between individuals and political communities.