Zuber, Thomas

Field: Africa; Advisor: Mann; Year: 2016

Thomas is a third-year doctoral student in African history. His research focuses on histories of childhood, gender, health and development in West Africa in the 20th century. His dissertation, entitled “Calibrating Childhood: Social Services, Social Sciences and Rural Families in Burkina Faso, 1950-1989,” examines the multifaceted interventions that surveyed children’s lives in Burkina Faso (Upper-Volta before 1984) from the 1950s to the 1980s. These efforts played a critical role in defining communities’ interactions and interpretations of governmental practice in the late-colonial and post-colonial period. The project links a history of social work practice, an analysis of economic models that quantified households in the post-war period and a social history of experiences of such interventions.

Thomas’ dissertation research has been supported by the SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship, GSAS International Travel Fellowship, the African Humanities Project and the Columbia History Department.


Chort I, De Vreyer P, Zuber T, 2017. Gendered internal migration patterns in Senegal. [DIAL working paper]


M.Sc, International Economics, Université Paris-Dauphine (2016)

M.A., International Development and Political Economy, Fordham University (2015)

B.A. History, New York University (2011) 


Thomas has served as a Teaching Fellow in the Columbia University History Department and the Barnard College History Department, for courses on Modern African History, West African History, East African History and Ancient Egypt.

Prior to pursuing his PhD, Thomas worked as a Peace Corps Fellow at University Neighborhood Housing Program, working on housing rights in New York. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin for two years, with a focus on health and education.