A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinatti, Dr. Holly McGee specializes in U. S. History and African American History, with an emphasis on black women’s intellectual history, comparative political activism in the United States and South Africa, and popular culture in the twentieth century. Her secondary specialties include local histories of the American South, South African women’s history, and oral histories. Currently, Dr. McGee teaches undergraduate courses in black history and film, culture and counterculture, post-1929 American history, and modern South African history.
Dr. McGee’s dissertation, “When the Window Closed: Gender, Race, and (Inter)Nationalism, the United States and South Africa, 1920s-1960s,” put into conversation existent and new scholarship regarding black radical women of the Left in the United States and South Africa during the twentieth century and was primarily concerned with the evolution of women’s protest from localized issues of race-based discrimination to international, anti-colonial protests of the era. The dissertation investigated the ideological and organizational connections between women across national borders, illustrated the high level of social and political awareness between black communities in protest in the U.S. and South Africa, and examined the public face of women’s uplift organizations on both sides of the Atlantic. In this, “When the Window Closed” offered a timely response to contemporary historical analyses that emphasize the necessity of broadening historical concepts to include themes that cross traditional chronological, ideological, and geographical lines.
Dr. McGee is currently researching her book project, “One Day We Are Going Home”: Radical Antiapartheid Internationalism and Exile in the Life of Elizabeth Mafeking, a study of the life of Elizabeth Mafeking, one of the most visible, African women personalities within South African black leadership circles during the mid-twentieth century.