Africa: North, Sub-Saharan
African history is a new and dynamic field dating back to the 1960s. It was linked to the decolonization of Africa and the need for new national states to have a usable past. During the next four decades the field of African history has moved away from colonial and Eurocentric formulations to stressing African agency and creative adaptations and representations. It relies on innovative fieldwork as well as more traditional archival research.
Minnesota has one of the leading programs in African social history in the country. Our overarching concern is to put African women and men—in their classes, families, communities, and workplaces—firmly into our scholarship. In our courses we challenge old analytical categories and artificial temporal or spatial divides to examine dynamic relations of power, and conflict and negotiations at the local, national, and transnational levels.