Regarded as one of the nation’s leading African historians, Jean M. Allman shares her passion for the continent through her teaching, mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students, and prolific writing and scholarship.

Her research and published work, which focus on West Africa, explore the concepts of national identity, gender and colonialism, fashion and the politics of clothing, and the modernity of indigenous belief systems.

Jean M. Allman
Jean M. Allman

Allman’s first book, “The Quills of the Porcupine: Asante Nationalism in an Emergent Ghana,” published in 1993, is a groundbreaking case study of African nationalism and the struggle for independence from Britain in the 1950s. Her 2000 book, “‘I Will Not Eat Stone’: A Women’s History of Colonial Asante,” co-written by Victoria Tashjian, reflects her expertise in the field of women and gender history. She also is co-author of 2005’s “Tongnaab: The History of a West African God,”and her work has appeared in publications such as The Journal of African History; History Workshop Journal; The International Journal of African Historical Studies; African Studies Review; and The American Historical Review.

In addition, she has edited several collections, including “Fashioning Africa: Power and the Politics of Dress,” published in 2004. She co-edits the New African Histories book series at Ohio University Press and served as co-editor of the Journal of Women’s History from 2004-10. She was president of the Ghana Studies Association from 1992-98 and has served on the boards of the African Studies Association (USA) and the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora. She was president of the African Studies Association in 2018.

Allman’s research has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Program, American Council of Learned Societies, Mellon Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and National Endowment for the Humanities. Her current work has been inspired by the #MustFall movements, which began in South Africa in 2015, and by calls for the decolonization of knowledge production. Most recently, it interrogates the whiteness of African studies in the United States and Europe and reconstructs the mechanisms through which “colonial knowledge” has been sustained and reproduced in “postcolonial” contexts, including in African institutions.