Timothy Scarnecchia

Timothy Scarnecchia

Department of History
Associate Professor
Contact Information




Fall 2021 Courses:

Pre Colonial African History

Senior Seminar 

Scarnecchia's latest book will be published in September 2021 by Cambridge University Press as part of the African Studies series: 

Race and Diplomacy in Zimbabwe: The Cold War and Decolonization, 1960–1984

Scarnecchia's first book is The Urban Roots of Democracy and Political Violence in Zimbabwe: Harare and Highfield, 1940-1964 (University of Rochester Press, 2008).  (Which was reprinted in Paperback in October 2013 by the University of Rochester Press.) 


Nominated for Distinguished Teaching Award, Kent State Alumni Association, 2016

Recent publications:


co-authored with Eric Makombe, “A Brief History of Urban Youths in Zimbabwe: 1980-2020” in Rory Pilossof (ed.), Fending for Ourselves: Youth in Zimbabwe 1980-2020 (Harare: Weaver Press 2021)

“Post-1989 Cold War Diplomatic Shifts in Southern Africa” Comparativ (Leipzig) 29: 5 2019 74-89.

Africa and the Cold War” Chapter in Blackwell Companion to African History, edited by William Worger, Nwando Achebe, and Charles Ambler (London: Blackwell Wiley 2018)


 “Harare Zimbabwe’s Fractured Landscape: Contested Memories of ‘Township’ Histories” in Ken Bindas and Fabrizio Ricciardelli (eds) Regional History as Cultural Identity (Rome: Viella 2017)


 “Joshua Nkomo as Zimbabwean Nationalist diplomat; from 'father of the nation' to 'enemy of the state'” in Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni (ed), Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo of Zimbabwe: History, Memory and Politics, (London: Palgrave MacMillan 2017)


“The Anglo-American and Commonwealth negotiations for a Zimbabwean settlement between Geneva and Lancaster, 1977-79” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 45: 2017: 823-43.

"Front Line Diplomats: African Diplomatic Representations of the Zimbabwean Patriotic Front, 1976-1978" Journal of Southern African Studies Vol 43 2017 Issue 1 pp. 107-124




Born in Warren, Ohio, I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After doing my BA at University of Michigan, I entered the Ph.D program there in History. Active in the anti-apartheid movement in the mid-1980s, I turned to African history and received a Fulbright-Hays fellowship after studying ChiShona for three years at Michigan State University. My dissertation fieldwork brought me in contact with a cross-section of Zimbabweans, including my research assistants who were from Highfield, Warren Park, and Mbare. In addition, I worked with faculty at the University of Zimbabwe's department of economic history and their talented honors students. After returning to the US and completing my Ph.D at the University of Michigan, I taught for a year at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in a visiting position. The next year, I went to Kampala, Uganda, and was a research affiliate at the Makerere Institute for Social Research. After that, I taught for two years as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan's department of history and Center for Afro-American and African Studies. I spent the next four years living in Washington DC raising our daughter and working in DC. In 2002, I started teaching at Georgetown University as a visiting professor in the department of history and the School of Foreign Service. In 2004, I continued to teach as a professorial lecturer there. In 2007, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to return to my 'home area' of Northeast Ohio and begin a tenure track position in the department of history at Kent State.


Phd. African History, University of Michigan 1994


African History, Zimbabwean History, Urban History, African Nationalism, African Studies, Urban Studies, South Africa, African urban history, decolonization studies, Cold War studies, international diplomacy, NATO and EU relations, southern Africa

Research Institutes and Initiatives

Global Understanding Research Initiative