Professor of History

Professor of History

Jean Allman is the J.H. Hexter Professor in the Humanities and professor of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where she directed the Center for the Humanities from 2014-2022.  Allman joins The Africa Institute as a Professor of History.

Since completing her Ph.D. in African History at Northwestern University (USA), Allman has been actively engaged in interdisciplinary research, publication, and teaching in the humanities and social sciences, with a focus on Africa, the African Diaspora, and Gender and Women’s Studies. She has also been a professor of history at the University of Illinois and director of its Center for African Studies and taught at the University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota. She has twice been a senior research affiliate at the University of Ghana.  Allman has served as co-editor of two book series: Heinemann’s Social History of Africa series and the New African Histories book series at Ohio University Press. For six years she co-edited the Journal of Women’s History.  Allman was the President of the Ghana Studies Council (now Association) from 1992-98 and has sat on the Boards of Directors of the African Studies Association (USA), the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora, and the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes.  Allman served as the Vice President, President, and Past President of the African Studies Association (USA) from 2017-2020.


Allman’s research and published work engage twentieth-century African history, with a geographic focus on Ghana and thematic interests in gender, colonialism, decolonization, and the racial politics of knowledge production.  Her recent research interrogates the whiteness of African studies in the U.S. and Europe and seeks to reconstruct the mechanisms through which “colonial knowledge” is sustained and reproduced in “postcolonial” contexts. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, Fulbright-Hays, the Social Science Research Council, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


  • “Exiles, Expatriates, and Malcolm X:  Debating the Racial Politics of Liberation in the Black Star of Africa.”  Journal of African History 63:3 (2022), 91-105.
  • “#HerskovitsMustFall?  A Meditation on Whiteness, African Studies and the Unfinished Business of 1968.” African Studies Review 62:3 (2019): 6-39.
  • “Ghana@60.”   Ghana Studies 21 (2018): 63-68.
  • “The Fate of All of Us:  African Counterrevolutions and the Ends of 1968.”  American Historical Review 123:3 (2018): 728-32.
  • “Archival Fragments: Ntamoba and the Political Economy of Child-Rearing in Asante.” In Kwasi Konadu, ed.  The Akan People in Africa and the Diaspora:  A Historical Reader.  New York:  Markus Weiner Publisher, Inc., 2015, 246-270.
  •  “Modeling Modernity:  The Brief Story of Kwame Nkrumah, a Nazi Pilot Named Hanna, and the Wonders of Motorless Flight.” In Peter Bloom, Takyiwaa Manuh, and Stephan Miescher, eds. Modernization as Spectacle in Africa.  Bloomington, IN:  Indiana University Press, 2014, 229-43.
  • “Between the Present and History:  African Nationalism and Decolonization.” In John Parker and Richard Reid, eds., Oxford Handbook on Modern African History.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2013, 224-242.
  •  “Kwame Nkrumah, African Studies, and the Politics of Knowledge Production in the Black Star of Africa.” International Journal of African Historical Studies, 48:2 (fall, 2013):  181-203.
  • “Phantoms of the Archive: Kwame Nkrumah, a Nazi Pilot Named Hanna, and the Contingencies of Postcolonial History Writing,” American Historical Review 118:1 (February, 2013): 104-29.  Winner of the 2015 inaugural Boahen-Wilks Prize for the best article in Ghana Studies.
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