Kristin Ese is a freelance African historian (Cand Philol.) from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). She has lived and worked in Kenya, Zambia, and Tanzania, and is the author of several books. She has previously researched historical urban developments in Southern and Northern Rhodesia. Since 2010 the focus of her research has been Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, in particular the importance of Swahili culture in urban developments.
In her work on cities she is interested in how her field can inform current analysis and developments. Highlighting historical African contributions to urban development is important to de-colonising history, while at the same time shedding new light on current urban discourse. In her recent book The City Makers of Nairobi she provides an analysis grounded in histories from below that questions previous held truths about the city’s development. Ese’s methodical approach shows how historical research can be key to understanding the complexities of social structures, and change perceptions and actions in current urban systems.