Leslie Sabakinu

Email: sabakinu@wisc.edu

Advisor: Neil Kodesh

Leslie Sabakinu headshot


I am a Ph.D. candidate in African History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My work focuses on twentieth-century Central Africa, with a focus on health, medicine, and the Second World War.

My research focuses on the roles and experiences of Congolese medical auxiliaries during the Second World War. I examine how Belgian colonial officials mobilized these medical auxiliaries for war services in their attempts to keep Belgian Congo relevant during the war. More importantly, I analyze how these medical actors actively participated in a globalized terrain of medical movements, exchanges, and practices and how these experiences impacted their personal, social, and colonial identities.


M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A., University of Kinshasa (History)


  • African History

MA Title

  • “Colonial Ambiguities, Postcolonial Frustrations: African Medical Assistants in The Congo, 1936-1963”

Working Dissertation Title

  • “Invisible Actors, Neglected History: Congolese Medical Workers in the Second World War.”

Selected Publications

  • Sabakinu, Leslie. Review of Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Le choix de l’Afrique. Les combats d’une pionnière de l’histoire africaine (Paris: La Découverte, 2021), Revue d’Histoire Contemporaine de l’Afrique, July 2023, online
  • Sabakinu, Leslie. Review of Léon de Saint Moulin, Kinshasa: enracinements historiques et horizons culturels (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2012), Africa 88, no.3 (2018) : 629-630.
  • Sabakinu, Leslie. Review of Paul Wenzel Geissler, Guillaume Lachenal, Traces of the Future: An Archeology of Medical Sciences in Twenty-First Century Africa (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), African Studies Review 60, no. 2 (2017): 261–62.
  • Sabakinu, Leslie. Review of Jennifer Tappan, The Riddle of Malnutrition. The Long Arc of Biomedical and Public Health Interventions in Uganda (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2017), Africa 89, no.3 (2017): 776-777.

Selected Awards

  • History Department Dissertator Fellowship, Fall 2023
  • Bernadotte Schmitt Grant (AHA), Summer 2023
  • Dissertator Fellowship, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2022-2023
  • Conference Travel Grant, Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Spring 2022
  • Fieldwork Award, Institute for Research in International Studies (IRIS), Summer 2020

Professional Affiliations

  • African Studies Association (ASA)
  • Central African Studies Association (CASA)
  • African Studies Women’s Caucus

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 105 – Introduction to the History of Africa, Fall 2018
  • History 201 – The Historian’s Craft, Spring 2019
  • Africa 277 – An Introductory Survey, Spring 2018
  • History 278 – Africans in the Americas, 1441-1808, Fall 2021
  • History 279 – Afro-Atlantic Histories and Peoples, 1791-Present, Fall 2019