Wesleyan portrait of Laura Ann  Twagira

Laura Ann Twagira

Assistant Professor of History

Public Affairs Center, 418

Assistant Professor, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

1 Vine Street,


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BA Wellesley College
MA Sarah Lawrence College
PHD Rutgers University

Laura Ann Twagira

Twagira's areas of expertise include: gender and sexuality in Africa; global gender history; 20th century West Africa; the environment, technology, and development, including women and the environment, gendered cultures of technology, the history of technology in Africa, and development in Africa.

She is currently completing a book examining women who engineered a highly complex and highly adaptive food production system in twentieth century rural Mali. It focuses on women living at a large agro-industrial development scheme in Mali called the Office du Niger. To assure food security in the region, these rural women engineers depended on female labor power and made use of modest technologies (such as metal pots and bundled pieces of cloth) that are generally overlooked in favor of the more impressive irrigation infrastructure of the scheme. The project highlights the ways in which common narratives about development miss the critical environmental and technological work of women.

Book In-Progress:

Embodied Engineering: Gendered Labor, Food Security, and Taste in Twentieth Century Mali (under contract with Ohio University Press)

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

“Robot Farmers and Cosmopolitan Workers: Technological Masculinity and Agricultural Development in the French Soudan (Mali), 1945-68,” Gender & History 26 no. 3 (November 2014), pp. 459-477

Online Publications:

“Kranzberg's Third Law: Technology comes in packages, big and small” Technology's Stories: Past & Present, Themed essays in honor of Melvin Kranzberg, December 2018 (http://www.technologystories.org/third-and-sixth-laws/)

Guest curator, Technology's Stories: Past & Present, Themed Issue “Learning from Africa's Technology Stories,” October 2015 (http://www.historyoftechnology.org/tech_stories/) (solicited collection)

“Interrogating the ‘Machine’ and Women's Things” Technology's Stories: Past & Present, October 2015 (http://www.historyoftechnology.org/media/articles/Twagira_article_final.pdf)

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Spring 2020:  Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-2



Spring 2020
HIST 188 - 01
Revolutionary Women

HIST 217 - 01
Africa to 1800