Dawne Y. Curry

Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies Profile Image
Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies History dcurry2@unl.edu (402) 472-2414 625 Oldfather Hall

January 2006

Dr. Curry's research examines resistance in the Black and Coloured township of Alexandra, nine miles northeast of Johannesburg South Africa. This vibrant community began as a Whites only area in 1905,but after dismal sales owner Herbert Papenfus converted Alexandra to a Freehold in 1912, thereby granting the aforementioned populations the opportunity to own land in the city center, one of the few places to offer this during apartheid. Her forthcoming monograph, tentatively entitled, Resisting on a Black Isle: Alexandra's Response to Apartheid, 1970-1979, explores the ways in which this community completely surrounded by affluent White residential areas maintained a culture of resistance even while under the constant gaze of encroaching White suburbs.

One of the topics that Curry addresses in this work is the issue of death, particularly how people mourned when apartheid officials prohibited, inhibited or disrupted funerals. She argues that Alexandrans found other ways to grieve by visiting the site of death and by going about the township finding information on how the decedents died. Besides her interest in resistance in South Africa and the continent as a whole, Curry analyzes travel narratives of African Americans who visited the continent. Her interest in this topic piqued after living and visiting South Africa. There, her racial identity changed from being an African American to a Coloured. Curry charts this experience in her co-edited volume, Extending the Diaspora: New Histories of Black People. When she is not writing, teaching or traveling, Curry writes poetry, takes photographs and visits family.

  • Marquis Who’s Who, 2009.
  • Selected for Phi Kappa Phi, National Honor Society, Michigan State University, 2001.
  • Participant in Dean’s Colloquium, College of Arts and Letters, Michigan State University, 1999-2000.
  • Selected for Phi Sigma Iota, National Honor Society for Foreign Languages, 1999.
  • Layman Grant-In Aid, University Research Council, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, December 2009
  • Charles Henry Oldfather Research Grant, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2009
  • Maude Hammond Fling Faculty Research Fellowship, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2008
  • Arts and Humanities Research Enhancement Fellowship, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2007
  • Academic Senate Convocations Committee Grant, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2007
  • Charles Henry Oldfather Research Fund, History Department, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2006
  • Diversity Fellowship, Western Washington University, 2003-2005
  • Dawne Y. Curry, Apartheid on a Black Isle: Removal, and Resistance in Alexandra, South Africa, published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
  • Curry, Dawne Y., Eric D. Duke, and Marshanda Smith, Extending the Diaspora: New Histories of Black Peoples, the University of Illinois Press, 2009.
  • “Considered Coloured or Honorary White: African Americans in South Africa” in Extending the Diaspora : New Histories of Black People, University of Illinois Press, 2009, 270-290.
  • “When Apartheid Interfered with Funerals: We Found Ways to Grieve" in Alexandra, South Africa," International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 2, 2, (2007), 245-252.
  • “An African American Constructs and Confronts the Social Construction of Race in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” Safundi: Journal of South Africa and American Studies 7, 2 (April 2006): 1-26.
  • “Lilian Tshabalala: A Daughter of Africa and Proto-nationalist Freedom Fighter in South Africa,” Seventh International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Universidad Abat Oliba CEU. Barcelona, Spain, 25-28 June 2012.
  • “Alexandra’s Underground Network: Secrecy and Disclosure in an Insulated Township,” Sub-Sahara Africa in the 1970s, Bologna, Italy (January, 2011).
  • “The Wedding Cakes, the Ford Fairmont and the Combi:” Secrecy and Disclosure in Alexandra, South Africa’s Underground Movement, 1962-1977, 50th Annual International Studies Association Conference, New York, New York (March 15-19,2009).
  • “When Apartheid Interfered with Funerals: We Still Found Ways to Grieve in Alexandra, South Africa, 50th African Studies Association Conference, 21st Century Africa: Evolving Conceptions of Human Rights, New York, New York (November 2007).
  • “We Want The Right to Mourn: Grieving in Alexandra, South Africa during Apartheid” “Transformations, Renewals and Reconfigurations in Southern African Historical Studies-Only Skin Deep,” Southern African Historical Society Conference, University of Johannesburg (25-27 June 2007), Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • “Squatters Dumped on the Township’s Doorstep: Spatial Resistance in the 1946 Squatters’ Movement in Alexandra, South Africa, 47th Annual African Studies Association, New Orleans, LA (November, 2004).

Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2006
M. A. Ohio University,1996
B. A. University of Mary Washington, 1990


20th Century Sub-Saharan African History, South African History and protest struggles, Women and Gender in African History, African Colonial History, Comparative Black History, Oral History