Ph.D. University of Virginia. D. Vance Smith is a medievalist who grew up in Africa, learning isiNdebele along with English as a member of the Khumalo clan of the amaNdebele. Attending an all-African high school in Kenya, he also spoke Kiswahili and early Sheng (the Kenyan street vernacular). Before graduate school, he wrote two ethnographies on groups of people living in what is now the South Sudan. What he thought of as biographical contradictions—becoming a medievalist of Western Europe despite little direct exposure to Europe except as a postcolonial subject in a Kenyan government school—have become the subject of a full-scale project on Africa and the Middle Ages.