Amanda Lewis-Nang'ea

Assistant Professor
Doty Hall 238

Dr. Amanda Lewis-Nang'ea is a specialist in African history and the history of science, focusing on the history of pastoralists and wildlife conservation in East Africa. Her work blends oral histories of the Maasai, scientists, conservationists, and wildlife management with archival and scientific research.


Office Hours, Fall 2021

Tuesday 12:00-2:00pm
Wednesday 12:30-1:30

Sign up for a time through Calendly. I am not accepting drop-ins this semester due to COVID social distancing measures. You may choose an in-person or Zoom meeting.

Curriculum Vitae


  • B.A., King University, Bristol, TN

  • M.A., East Tennessee State University

  • Ph.D., Michigan State University


  • HIST 301: Int-His:African Historiography

    This is one of two required skills-based seminars in the History major and is focused on critical reading and analysis. This class introduces students to the concept of historiography, which includes the critical assessment of the methods and sources that historians use in fashioning an argument, the contexts that inform historians' approaches to understanding the past, and comparisons of different historians' conclusions about similar topics. All sections will focus on a specific set of historical issues and/or events chosen by the instructor and class content emphasizes critical reflection on the variety of historical interpretations that are possible within a given topic. This class is reading and writing intensive.

  • HIST 485: African Environmental History

    This course provides an introduction to the environmental history of Africa through a historiographical lens. We will focus in some detail on demography, the domestication of crops and animals, climate, the spread of New World crops (maize, cassava, cocoa), and disease environments from the earliest times to the present. Central to our study will be the idea that Africa's landscapes are the product of human action. Therefore, we will examine case studies of how people have interacted with their environments. African ecology has long been affected indirectly by decisions made at a global scale. Thus we will explore Africa's engagement with imperialism and colonization and the global economy in the twentieth century. The course ends with an examination of contemporary tensions between conservation and economic development and how handing human health in African environments might differ from other contexts.

Guidelines for Requesting a Letter of Recommendation or Reference for Dr. Lewis-Nang’ea

Part of my job is writing letters of recommendation or providing a reference for my students who apply to jobs, graduate school, internships, or awards. In order to make this a transparent process, here are some guidelines for asking me for a recommendation or reference. Following these will not ensure that I say yes to you, but will give you a good idea about how to go about the process effectively with me or other professors. 

  1. Choose faculty who know you well.  It is really hard to write a glowing letter for someone who sits quietly in my class but may make good grades. If I never see you in office hours or don’t have some way of making a stronger connection, I may not be able to write the strongest recommendation. Keep this in mind in all your classes. Ideally, we should have had conversations outside of class, you should demonstrate that you had interest in the course material, and demonstrated leadership or problem-solving skills in class. Plan ahead. You need to think about how I view your performance in my class.
  2. Make a formal request. You should ideally do this in person, but you can also send this by email (for example, if a request is needed over the summer). You will need to provide material that will help me write the best letter or give the strongest recommendation. This includes, but is not limited to, information about the program/job/internship/ you are applying to, a record of relevant coursework, explanation of research or essays you completed in my classes, experiences outside the classroom (this may be a CV or resume), and a personal statement, which is 2-3 paragraphs describing your interest and preparation for the position you are applying for.
  3. Ask early. I need a minimum of 3 weeks before the due date, and ideally more than a month. I may decline to write this if you wait too close to the deadline or I don’t feel I’ve been given enough time and materials to write the letter. Remember that I am doing this on top of my other work and responsibilities.
  4. Permissions associated with references/letters of recommendation. Do not give my name as a reference until I have agreed to do the reference. If you wish me to speak specifically to your grades and details of your performance in class, please submit a signed confidentiality waiver. You must also waive your right to see my letter of recommendation. 
  5. I will only send letters directly to the school, internship supervisor or employer. Please don’t ask me to give you the letter to send, even when the instructions say to do this. Find a contact for me to submit the letter on your behalf.
  6. Keep me updated. This is not required, but it is nice to hear about my students’ success and the outcome of your applications.