Professor of History
Kenda Mutongi teaches a wide range of courses in African history, world history, and gender history. She is the author of two award-winning books: Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi (Chicago UP, 2017) and Worries of the Heart: Widows, Family, and Community in Kenya (Chicago UP, 2007). She has also published several articles in the major African studies journals, and is currently writing a book tentatively titled, Reading Under the Covers, which focuses on the history of secondary schooling in post-colonial Kenya.
Mutongi has been an MLK Visiting Professor of History at MIT, a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Amsterdam. She has also received grants from the NEH, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
Mutongi serves on the editorial boards of several journals and book series in African Studies. Before moving to MIT in 2019, Mutongi taught at Williams College for over 22 years, where she served as chair of the Africana Studies and the Africa/Middle Eastern Studies Programs.
Mutongi was born and raised in rural western Kenya, and received her BA from Coe College and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. She enjoys cooking, sewing, and painting.