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Faculty Bio

Burns, James M., Ph.D.

Burns, James M., Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

Office: 101 Strode Tower
Phone: 864-656-3879
Web Site:

Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara (1998)

Professor Burns is a specialist in African history and the social history of film. Dr. Burns' first book, Flickering Shadows: Cinema and Identity in Colonial Zimbabwe, was named by Choice magazine as one of its Outstanding Academic Titles for 2002. He is the co-author with Robert O. Collins of A History of Sub-Saharan Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2007, 2nd edition 2013) His new monograph Cinema and Society in the British Empire, 1895-1940, was published by Palgrave/Macmillan in summer of 2013. For Dr. Burns' course syllabi, curriculum vitae, and other useful resources, please visit his webpage at

Selected Professional Works

Books (Published)

A History of Sub-Saharan Africa. (with Robert O. Collins) Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition 2014.

Historical Problems of Imperial Africa (3rd Edition, 2013). Co-editor.

Cinema and Society in the British Empire, 1895-1940 Palgrave/ Macmillan (2013)

Flickering Shadows: Cinema and Identity in Colonial Zimbabwe. Ohio University Press, 2002.

Journal Articles & Book Chapters (Published)

'Excessive Americanisms: Hollywood in the British Empire, 1918–1930' in Britain and the World. (University of Edinburgh Press) September, 2014.

“Cinema, Social Fears and Moral Panics in Britain’s Tropical Empire” in Moral Panics, Social Fears, and the Media: Historical Perspectives (Routledge, 2013) pp. 90-103

"The Rockefeller foundation and early colonial film making" in Empire and Film: Cultural Histories of Cinema (Palgrave, 2011).

Cape Town Bioscope Culture and The Rose of Rhodesia' in Screening the Past, Issue 25: Special Issue: Colonial Africa on the Silent Screen: Recovering The Rose of Rhodesia (September 2009)

'Rhodes of Africa' at the web site "Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire," which is maintained by the British Arts Council and the British Film institute.

Watching Africans Watch Movies: Theories of Spectatorship in British Colonial Africa,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television (June 2000).

"Biopics and Politics: The Making and Unmaking of the Rhodes Films" Biography: An Interdisciplinary Journal (Winter 2000).