Biography: Jamie Monson is the newly appointed Director of African Studies at Michigan State University, where she is also a Professor of History. Dr. Monson received her MA in African Area Studies and her PhD in African History from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her current research focuses on Chinese development assistance to Africa. She is a specialist on the TAZARA railway, a development project built in Tanzania and Zambia with Chinese development cooperation in the 1970s.
Her book, Africa's Freedom Railway: How a Chinese Development Project Changed Lives and Livelihoods in Tanzania (Indiana, 2009) has been widely acclaimed and has been recently published in Chinese (2015).
Professor Monson's new research projects concern technology transfer and civil diplomacy in China-Africa engagement. She also has a strong background in African agricultural and environmental history, an interest she developed originally as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya. She speaks Swahili, German and French and has been studying Chinese since 2009.