Date of Award


First Advisor

Chris Coggins

Second Advisor

Katie Boswell

Third Advisor

Milo Alvarez


In this ethnographic study of education in East Africa, I look at the legacy left behind by students in Kenya’s founding era—both those that negotiated an education within and outside the national school system—to ask the question: What does the imposition of Anglo-American educational values on Kenya say about the way post-colonial societies were shaped by—and resisted against—their European colonizers? This question is pertinent to the school compound as a place where curriculum was standardized to mimic Anglican formal education as well as the sojourn abroad made by a small class of Kenyans destined for influential political offices. While school grounds are a micropolitical hot spot for the creation and replication of disciplined students and “productive” citizens (Foucault 1975), an education abroad has been viewed as liberatory and transcendental (Harper 2006; Shachtman 2009) despite the way it continues to celebrate Euroamerican influence on the post-colonial world. This thesis explores the degree to which schooling both within and beyond Kenya’s national education system aligns students with a desire to mimic Western institutions and how those students in turn engage in acts of resistance (Taussig 1992). Ultimately, this is also a geographical project on a global scale—between Britain, Kenya, and the United States—in a time when knowledge gained in the colonial metropolises was translated into powerful credentials among a newly liberated people.

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