Serving Mzee: Mobilizing Youth and Enduring Legacies in Kenyatta’s Kenya, 1952–78


Location: Hesburgh Center, Room C103

Paul Ocobock, Department of History, Princeton University; Kellogg Institute Visiting Fellow, University of Notre Dame

Paul Ocobock (Ph.D., Princeton University), a historian of Africa, is a visiting fellow for the academic year. His project, “Tyranny of Elders: Mobilizing Youth and Crafting the State in Postcolonial Kenya, 1963–2009,” traces the role of young people in the political violence that has periodically gripped Kenya since its independence.

Ocobock, who considers young people and age relations “innovative and powerful engines of history,” examines the ways young people participated in decolonization and electoral violence as well as their relationships with elder statesmen. He seeks to understand how age relations, generational authority, and the experience of youthhood altered Kenya’s past and continue to influence its present.

Ocobock has published in Social History and, with A. L. Beier, coedited Cast Out: Vagrancy and Homelessness in Global and Historical Perspective (Ohio University Press, 2008). He will teach a course on 20th-century African history in spring 2011.