Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Website URL
West Africa, African diaspora, slavery, slave trade, Atlantic history, gender
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a professor of history and, as of July 2018, chair of the history department at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I have taught since 1999.  I was trained as a historian of Africa, and my dissertation/first book investigated changing gender relations under colonialism in southwestern Nigeria.  I then began to focus on the Atlantic slave trade, and I published a textbook on that topic.  Most recently, I published a “life and times” biography of a 19th century African American who made a life and founded a dynasty in West Africa, encountering and shaping some of the major dynamics in the Atlantic world.  I have conducted research in Ibadan and Lagos, Nigeria (totaling about 2-3 years over the last 20), as well as Liberia, the UK, and the US; I have also spent time in South Africa, Ghana, Togo, and Benin.  Though I have not published on the topic, I am also interested in African pop music, especially from the 1960s through the 1990s.

Recent Publications


  • Atlantic Bonds: A Nineteenth Century Odyssey from America to Africa (UNC Press, 2017)
  • Biography and the Black Atlantic, co-edited with John Wood Sweet (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)
  • Captives as Commodities (Prentice Hall, 2008)
  • “Biography in African History,” History in Africa 44 (2017): 11-26
  • “The Autobiography of Jacob Von Brunn, from African Captive to Liberian Missionary,” Slavery and Abolition 37, 2 (2016): 446- 471
  •  “Boundaries of Slavery in mid-19th Century Liberia,” in Paul Readman, Cynthia Radding, and Chad Bryant (eds.), Borderlands in World History, 1700-1914 (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014), 258-275
  •  “Extraversion, Creolization, and Dependency in the Atlantic Slave Trade,” Journal of African History 55, 2 (2014): 135-145


Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, Early Modern, Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Emancipation, Gender, Slavery, Women