Theses Doctoral

The Bleaching Carceral: Police, Native and Location in Nairobi, 1844-1906

Marshall, Yannick

This dissertation provides a history of the white supremacist police-state in Nairobi beginning with the excursions of European-led caravans and ending with the institutionalizing of the municipal entity known as the township of Nairobi. It argues that the town was not an entity in which white supremacist and colonial violence occurred but that it was itself an effect white supremacy. It presents the invasion of whiteness into the Nairobi region as an invasion of a new type of power: white supremacist police power. Police power is reflected in the flogging of indigenous peoples by explorers, settlers and administrators and the emergence of new institutions including the constabulary, the caravan, the “native location” and the punitive expedition. It traces the transformation of the figure of the indigenous other as “hostile native,” “raw native,” “native,” “criminal-African” and finally “African.” The presence of whiteness, the things of whiteness, and bodies racialized as white in this settler-colonial society were corrosive and destructive elements to indigenous life and were foundational to the construction of the first open-air prison in the East African Hinterland.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Thesis Advisors
Massad, Joseph A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 12, 2017