Jennifer Johnson

Associate Professor of History
Areas of Expertise Global Health, Health & Welfare, Human Rights, International Institutions
Areas of Interest Africa, the Maghrib, empire, nationalism, decolonization, humanitarianism, public health and international organizations


Jennifer Johnson is an Associate Professor of History. Her research focuses on 20th century Africa, specifically the Maghrib, nationalism, decolonization, humanitarianism, international organizations and public health. She is the author of The Battle for Algeria: Sovereignty, Health Care, and Humanitarianism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016) and numerous other articles and essays. Her current book project examines the relationship between public health and state building. Specifically, it explores family planning programs in postcolonial Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia and shows how newly independent regimes partnered with international organizations to develop their countries and expand their national health services in the wake of decolonization. She holds a BA in History from Brown and a PhD in History from Princeton University. Her work has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, the National History Center, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


“The Contradictions of Sovereignty: Development, Family Planning and the Struggle for Population Control in Postcolonial Morocco,” (forthcoming in Humanity, Winter 2020).

“The Limits of Humanitarianism: Decolonization, the French Red Cross, and the Algerian War,” in Decolonization, Self-Determination, and the Birth of Global Human Rights Politics, eds. Roland Burke, Marco Duranti and A. Dirk Moses, (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press).

“The Origins of Family Planning in Tunisia: Reform, Public Health, and International Aid,” The Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 2018, 92: 664-693.

“New Directions in the History of Medicine in European, Colonial, and Transimperial Contexts,” Contemporary European History, vol. 25, 2 (May 2016), 387-399.

The Battle for Algeria: Sovereignty, Health Care, and Humanitarianism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).


HIST 203: Modern Africa: From Empire to Nation-state (1940-Present)
HIST 1960S: North African History, 1800-Present
HIST 1960Q: Medicine and Public Health in Africa
HIST 1080: Humanitarianism and Conflict in Africa
HIST 2950: Professionalization (Graduate)
HIST 2930: Colloquium: Theory and Methods of History (Graduate)
HIST 2981Q: Histories of Empire and Decolonization (Graduate)

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