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.