Alison Bennett

Alison Bennett


Personal profile


I am an historian of the British Empire with special interests in the colonial history of eastern Africa which I study predominantly through a cultural, visual, and material lens. I am particularly interested in the intersections between material and visual culture, imperial politics, and religion in Uganda.

I gained my PhD from UCL where I was awarded a Collaborative Doctoral Award in conjunction with the British Museum to study the history of colonial ethnographic collecting in eastern Africa. I am currently completing a monograph based on this research.

After finishing my doctorate, I was awarded postdoctoral research fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Smithsonian Institution. I have worked closely with institutions including the V&A and the National Trust on the topics of slavery and colonialism. I am also an Associate Lecturer for Yale in London, hosted by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. 

As the Hallsworth Fellow in Political Economy at the University of Manchester, my current research explores the history of the eastern African ivory trade across the Indian and Atlantic oceans. This project uses museum collections and archival research to trace the complex commodity chains of specific ivory objects to Britain, Germany and the US via India, China, and the Middle East between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Material Cultures of Imperialism in Eastern Africa, c.1870–1920: A Study of Ethnographic Collecting and Display, University College London (UCL)

1 Oct 2014Oct 2018

Award Date: 1 Oct 2018


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