T.J. Tallie, PhD

T.J. Tallie
Phone: (619) 260-7787
Office: Kroc Institute for Peace & Jus 267

Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor, History

  • PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, History
  • MA, University of California, San Diego, History
  • BA, University of California, San Diego, History and the Study of Religion

T.J. Tallie joined the department in the fall of 2018.  He specializes in the comparative settler colonial and imperial history, with a focus on South Africa.  His interests, broadly defined, involve colonialism, gender and racial identity, indigeneity, and religious expression.  At USD, he teaches courses in African History, Global History, Pacific History, and Gender and Sexuality. 

Areas of Expertise

Southern African History, Gender and Sexuality, Settler Colonialism in the Nineteenth Century, Zulu Language and Culture, British Imperialism, Global Indigenous Studies, Queer Theory

Scholarly Work

My scholarly work specifically focuses on the nineteenth-century southern African colony of Natal, a contested space between British settlers, isiZulu-speaking Africans, and Indian migrants.  My book, Queering Colonial Natal: Indigeneity and the Violence of Belonging in Southern Africa (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), uses queer theory and critical indigenous studies examine how discourses of European civilization underpinned colonial legislation that policed white settler behavior and attempted to consign indigenous Africans and Indian migrants to subservient positions within Natal.  I suggest that the colonial state ‘queered’ indigenous practices by defining them as threats to the normative order they attempted to impose through delimiting Zulu polygamy, restricting alcohol access, and assigning only Europeans to government schools.  At the same time, colonial archives reveal that many African and Indian people challenged such civilizational claims. For example, Parliamentary reports reveal that while settler marriage laws imposed monogamous, heterosexual unions as the only legitimate form of matrimony, local populations asserted the legitimacy of their own polygynous institutions in colonial courts. I argue that settler colonial regimes queered normative African practices as a threat to institutions predicated on correcting indigenous custom and establishing European hegemony. Similarly, settler non-monogamy was also designated queer, viewed as fundamentally subversive to the sexual project and racial order established under colonialism.

My current research project, tentatively titled Conjugal States, examines how the concept of monogamy became deeply linked to the idea of white settler reproduction in South Africa, British Columbia and New Zealand in the context of the incipient ‘threat’ of polygamy practiced by the emergent Latter Day Saint movement in nineteenth-century Utah.  My work interrogates the centrality of reproductive futurity to marriage in nineteenth-century settler societies. In particular, I study legal claims of bigamy, plural marriage, and interracial sexual encounters as sites of colonial anxiety and multifaceted anti-imperial activity.  Through this work, I will provide a history of sexuality, settler colonialism, and indigenous peoples that charts varied forms of native resistance to settler incursions. 

Areas of Interest

I am currently interested in understanding the ways in which settler colonialism expands beyond the nineteenth century and outside of the ‘standard’ Anglophone countries of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.  I’m particularly interested in colonial practices and questions of sexuality in the Caribbean and Ireland as well, and look forward to developing courses that focus on questions of the self, identity, and belonging in a variety of contexts.

Office Hours

Section 01R
8/17 - 11/15 M W F 12:00 pm - 1:25 pmTBD - TBD