Department of History
Boston University
891 Belmont St
Watertown, MA 02472-2331

(617) 358-1423


2003-present Department of History and African American Studies, Boston University, Professor

2005 Visiting Professor, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

1995-2003 Department of History, Millersville University, Millersville, PA, Professor

1990-95 Department of History, Millersville University, Millersville, PA, Associate Professor

1986-90 Department of History, Millersville University, Millersville, PA, Assistant Professor

1985-6 Department of History, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Lecturer (one year position, with Assistant Prof. salary)

1984-5 Fellow, Carter Woodson Institute, University of Virginia

1981-4 Department of History, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA, Assistant Professor (three consecutive one year temporary positions)

1979-81 Department of History, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Lecturer Grade II (=Assistant Professor in USA)

1972-75 Military Service, USAF Honorably released from Active Duty (Inactive Reserve until 1991)


BA. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Political Science, 1971
MA. UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, African Area Studies, 1972
PhD. UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, History, 1979 (Supervisor E. A. Alpers)


2005- Non-Resident Fellow, W. E. B. DuBois Institute, Harvard University

2005-08 W. E. B. DuBois Institute Research Grant, Harvard University

2001 Gilder Lehman Institute, Mariner’s Museum, for research in Portugal

1999 Faculty Assistance Grant, Millersville University, for research in England

1998 Faculty Assistance Grant, Millersville University, for research in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1996 Faculty Assistance Grant, Millersville University, for research in England

1993 National Endowment for the Humanities Seminar for College Teachers, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (8 week program).

1990 Faculty Assistance Grant, Millersville University, for research in Portugal on Angolan demographic history.

1988 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend ($3,500). Military Encounters between Europeans and the Indigenous Peoples of the Atlantic zone, 1400-1650.

1984-5 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Carter Woodson Institute ($20,000), for writing a study of Africa in south Atlantic, 1450-1650.

1982-4 National Endowment for Humanities, Translations Project Grant ($18,300), for work translating and editing seventeenth century Italian MS of Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi.

1981 Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Research Fellowship ($1,500), for research on Portuguese missionaries in Africa, 14-17 cents.


1992-1999 Consulting Co-Curator, “African Voices” Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

1993-95 Historical Consultant, “A Slave Ship Speaks: The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie” Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum, Key West, Florida.

1999-2007 Historical Consultant, Yorktown-Jamestown Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia

1999-2002 Historical Consultant, “Against Human Dignity” Mariner’s Museum, Norfolk,Virginia

2000-present Historical Consultant, revision of articles and coverage of Africa in the Encyclopedia Britannica (Chicago, IL).

2005-2006 Consultant for “African American Voices” PBS special, Kunhart Productions 2006-07 Consultant for “Oprah Winfrey” PBS Special, Kunhart Productions

2007-2008 Consultant for “African American Lives, Part II” PBS Special, Kunhart Productions


Reading and Speaking: French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Dutch, Kiswahili, Hausa.

Reading only: Spanish (but speak as “Portanhol”), Catalan, Latin, Kikongo Partial: Kimbundu, Twi, Danish


Africa: All periods, pre-colonial, central Africa and Portuguese-speaking Africa. Includes extensive research experience.

Middle Eastern: Teaching experience in Middle Eastern survey courses. World history: Experience in teaching world survey, all periods.

Non-Western history: Background and teaching experience in Latin America, Middle East and Africa as well as non-western survey courses and courses on European expansion and Imperialism. Also courses on the history of slavery. Research experience on slave trade, Afro- American, Latin American history

Europe: Background and teaching experience in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, European expansion. Research experience on Portugal (early modern) and expansion.

Other fields: Religious history, mission history, demographic history, social history, teaching experience in military history (all with research experience).



The Kingdom of Kongo: Civil War and Transition, 1641-1718 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983). Honorable Mention, Melville J. Herskovits Prize (African Studies Association)

Africa and Africans in the Formation of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680 (New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 1992, second expanded edition, 1998). Portuguese translation:

África e Africanos na Formação do Mundo Atlântico, 1400-1800 (Rio de Janeiro: Estampa, 2004); Italian translation, L’Africa e gli africani nella formazione del mondo atlantico, 1400- 1800 (Bologna: Mulino, 2010).

The Kongolese Saint Anthony. Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684- 1706 (Cambridge University Press, 1998) Honorable mention, Melville J. Herskovits Prize, (African Studies Association)

Warfare in Atlantic Africa, 1500-1800 (University College of London Press/Routledge, 1999)

(with Linda Heywood), Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles and the Making of the Anglo-Dutch Americas, 1580-1660 (Cambridge University Press, 2007) Winner, Melville J. Herskovits Prize (African Studies Association)

(ed. and trans.) Evangelical Missions to the Kingdom of Kongo by Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo, 1665. Translation published on internet, presently at

Cultural Encounters in the Atlantic World, 1350-1830 (Cambridge University Press, in preparation under contract)

(with Linda Heywood), A History of Africa (Prentice-Hall, in preparation under contract)


“The State in African Historiography: A Reassessment,” Ufahamu 4 (1973): 113-26.

“Demography and History in the Kingdom of Kongo, 1550-1750,” Journal of African History 18 (1977): 507-30.

“An Eighteenth Century Baptismal Register and the Demographic History of Manguenzo” in C. Fyfe and D. McMaster (eds.) African Historical Demography (Edinburgh: Centre of African Studies, 1977): 405-16.

“A Resurrection for the Jagas,” Cahiers d’études africaines 18 (1978): 223-38.

“New Light on Cavazzi’s Seventeenth Century Description of Kongo,” History in Africa 6 (1979): 253-64.

“A Note on the Archives of the Propaganda Fide and the Capuchin Archives for African History,” History in Africa 6 (1979): 341-4.

“The Slave Trade in Eighteenth Century Angola: Effects on Demographic Structures” Canadian Journal of African Studies 14 (1980): 417-28.

“Early Kongo-Portuguese Relations, 1483-1575: A New Interpretation” History in Africa 8 (1981): 183-204. French translation in Cahiers des Anneaux de la Mémoire 3 (2001)

“The Chronology and Causes of Lunda Expansion to the West, ca. 1700-1852,” Zambia Journal of History 1 (1981): 1-13.

“The Demographic Effect of the Slave Trade on Western Africa, 1500-1850” in C. Fyfe and D. McMaster, African Historical Demography, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: Centre of African Studies, 1981): 691-720.

“The Kingdom of Kongo, ca. 1390-1678: History of an African Social Formation,” Cahiers d’études africaines 22 (1982): 325-42.

“Sexual Demography: The Impact of the Slave Trade on Family Structure,” in Claire Robertson and Martin Klein (eds.) Women and Slavery in Africa (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983): 39-48.

“The Development of an African Catholic Church in the Kingdom of Kongo, 1483-1750,” Journal of African History 25 (1984): 147-67. Reprinted in Black Diaspora Committee (Howard University), The Black Diaspora: Africans and their Descendants in the Wider World (1st and 2d edition, Lexington, Mass: Ginn Press, 1986 and 1987)

(with Linda M. Heywood), “Demography, Production and Labor: Central Angola, 1890-1950,” in Joel Gregory and Dennis Cordell (eds.), African Population and Capitalism (Boulder and London: Westview, 1987): 241-54.

“The Correspondence of the Kongo Kings, 1614-35: Problems of Internal Written evidence on a Central African Kingdom,” Paideuma 33 (1987): 407-21.

(with Joseph C. Miller), “The Chronicle as source, history and hagiography: The Catálogo dos Governadores de Angola,” Paideuma 33 (1987): 359-89. Portuguese translation: “A crónica como fonte, história e hagiografia: O Catálogo dos Governadores de Angola,” Revista Internacional de Estudos Africanos 12-13 (1990): 9-55.

“Tradition, Documents and the Ife-Benin Relationship” History in Africa 15 (1988): 351-62. “On the Trail of Voodoo: African Christianity in Africa and the Americas,” The Americas 44 (1988): 261-78.

(with Linda Heywood), “African Fiscal Systems as Demographic Sources: The Case of the Central Highlands of Angola, 1770-1900″ Journal of African History 29 (1988): 213-28.

“The Art of War in Angola, 1575-1680,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 30 (1988): 360-78.

“Ideology and Political Power in Central Africa: The Case of Queen Njinga (1624-1663),” Journal of African History 32 (1991): 25-40.

“African Dimensions of the Stono Rebellion,” American Historical Review 96 (1991): 1101-13. Reprinted in: Darlene Clark Hine and Ernestine Jenkins, eds. A Question of Manhood: A Reader in US Black Men’s History and Masculinity (Indiana University Press, 1999), pp. 115-29 and Mark M Smith, Stono: Documenting and Interpreting a Southern Slave Revolt, (University of South Carolina Press, 2005) pp. 73-87

“Pre-Colonial African Industry and the Atlantic Trade, 1500-1800,” and “The Historian and the Pre-Colonial African Economy: John Thornton Responds,” in African Economic History Review 9 (1992), along with comments by four other historians.

“The Regalia of the Kings of Kongo” in Erna Beumers and Peter Koloss (eds.) Kings of Africa (Maastricht: Kings of Africa Foundation, 1993), pp. 57-64.

“‘I am the Subject of the King of Congo’: African Ideology in the Haitian Revolution,” Journal of World History 4 (1993): 181-214.

“African Soldiers in the Haitian Revolution,” Journal of Caribbean History 25 (1993): -80. Reprinted in Laurent Dubois and Julius Scott, eds., Origins of the Black Atlantic: Rewriting Histories (Routledge, 2010), pp. 195-213.

“Central African Names and African American Naming Patterns,” William and Mary Quarterly 3rd series, 50 (1993): 727-42.

“The Role of Africans in the Atlantic Economy: Modern Africanist Historiography and the World System Paradigm,” Colonial Latin American Historical Review 3 (1994): 125-40.

“Perspectives on African Christianity,” in Vera Hyatt and Rex Nettleford (eds.), Race, Discourse, and the Making of the Americas (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1994), pp. 169-98.

“Early Portuguese Expansion in West Africa: Its Nature and Consequences,” in George Winnius (ed.) Portugal the Pathfinder: Journeys from the Medieval to toward the Modern World (Madison: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 1995), pp. 121-32.

“The African Background to American Colonization” in Stanley Engerman and Robert Gallman (eds.) Cambridge Economic History of the United States Volume 1. The Colonial Era (New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 53-94.

“As guerras civis no Congo e o tráfico de escravos: a história e a demografia de 1718 a 1844 revisitadas,” Estudos Afro-Asiaticos (Rio de Janeiro) 32 (1997): 55-74.

“Les racines du vaudou. Religion africaine et société haïtienne dans la Saint-Domingue prérévolutionnaire,” Anthropologie et Sociétés 22 (1998): 85-104.

“The African Experience of the ’20 and Odd Negroes” Arriving in Virginia in 1619,” William and Mary Quarterly 3d series, 55 (1998): 421-34.

“The Coromantees: An African Cultural Group in Colonial North America and the Caribbean,” Journal of Caribbean History 32/1-2 (1998): 161-78.

“Warfare, Slave Trading, and European Influence: Atlantic Africa, 1450-1800,” in Jeremy Black (ed.), War in the Early Modern World, 1450-1815 (London: University College of London Press, 1999), pp. 129-46.

“Mbanza Kongo/São Salvador: Kongo’s Holy City,” in David Anderson and Richard Rathbone (eds.) Africa’s Urban Past (London and Portsmouth, NH: James Currey and Heinemann, 2000), pp. 67-84. Portuguese translation as “São Salvador: A cidade sagrada do Kongo,” in Fontes e Estudos (Luanda) 4 (1999).

“War, the State, and Religious Norms in Coromantee Thought,” in Robert Blair St. George (ed.), Possible Pasts: Becoming Colonial in America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000), pp. 181-200.

“Documentos escritos e tradição oral num reino alfabetizado: tradições orais escritas no Congo, 1580-1910,” Actas do II Reunião da História da África (Luanda, 1997) (Lisbon: Commissão Nacional para as Commemorações dos Describimentos Portugueses, 2000), pp. 439-57.

“La Nation angolaise en Amérique, son identité en Afrique et en Amérique,” Cahiers des Anneaux de la Mémoire 2 (2000): 241-56.

“Teaching Africa in an Atlantic Perspective,” Radical History Review 77 (2000): 123-34. “Kongo’s Incorporation into Angola: A Perspective from Kongo,” in A África e a Instalação do Sistema Colonial (c. 1885-c. 1930) (Lisbon, 2000), pp. 354–57.

“The Origins and Early History of the Kingdom of Kongo, c. 1350-1550,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 34/1 (2001): 1-31.

(with Paula Gershick-Ben Amos) “Civil War in the Kingdom of Benin, 1689-1722: Continuity or Political Change?” Journal of African History 42 (2001): 353-76.

“Religion and Cultural Life in the Kongo and Mbundu Areas, 1500-1800,” in Linda Heywood (ed.), Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 71-90.

“Cannibals, Witches and Slave Traders in the Atlantic World,” William and Mary Quarterly 60/2 (2003): 273-94.

“Origin Traditions and History in Central Africa,” African Arts 37/1 (2004): 32-37. “European Documents and African History,” in John E. Philips, ed. Writing African History (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2005), pp. 254-65.

“Central Africa in the Era of the Slave Trade,” in Jane G. Landers and Barry M. Robinson, eds, Slaves, Subjects, and Subversives: Blacks in Colonial Latin America (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006), pp. 83-110.

“Elite Women in the Kingdom of Kongo: Historical Perspectives on Women’s Political Power,” Journal of African History 47 (2006): 437-60.

(with Linda Heywood), “Central African Leadership and the Appropriation of European Culture,” in Peter Mancall, ed., The Atlantic World and Virginia, 1550-1624 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2007), pp. 194-224.

“The Portuguese in Africa,” in Francisco Bethencourt and Diogo Ramada Curto, eds. Portuguese Oceanic Expansion, 1400-1800 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 138-160

“LesÉtatsdel’AngolaetlaformationdePalmares(Brésil),”Annales: Histoire,Sciences sociales 63/4 (2008): 769-97.

(with Linda Heywood) “Kongo and Dahomey, 1660-1815: African Political Leadership in the Era of the Slave Trade and Its Impact on the Formation of African Identity in Brazil,” in Bernard Bailyn, ed. Soundings in Atlantic History: Latent Structures and Intellectual Currents, 1500- 1825 (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), pp. 86-111.

“African Political Ethics and the Slave Trade,” in D. R. Peterson, ed. Abolitionism and Imperialism in Britain, Africa and the Atlantic. (Oxford, OH: Ohio University Press, 2009), pp. 58-93.

“Portuguese-African Relations, 1500-1750,” in Paulo Henriques, et al, Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries (Lisbon: Museu Nacional de Arte Antigua, 2009), pp. 104-114.

(with Linda Heywood) “King Diogo of Kongo’s Legal Inquest into Treason,” in Kathrine McKnight, ed. Afro-Latino Voices: Narratives from the Early Modern Ibero-Atlantic World, 1550- 1812 (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2009)

(with Linda Heywood) “Intercultural Relations between Europeans and Blacks in New Netherlands,” in Hans Krabbendam, Cornelis A. van Minnen, and Giles Scott-Smith, eds, Handbook: Four Centuries of Dutch-American Relations, 1609-2009 (Albany and Amsterdam: SUNY Press, 2009), pp. 192-203.

“Les manuscrits Araldi,” in Michel Chandeigne, ed. La reine Njinga (Angola) (forthcoming, Paris: Changdeine, 2010)

Forthcoming Chapters or Articles (as of 24 January 2010)

“Forced Contacts: Africa and America,” in Frank Moya Pons (ed.) UNESCO General History of Latin America vol. II (also to appear in French and Spanish versions)

“Afro-Christian Synthesis in Central Africa,” Plantation Societies in the Americas 8 1-3 (2001) (corrected proofs).

“Política Africana e Expansão Portuguesa em Angola, 1400-1800,” (provisional title) in Maríla dos Santos Lopes (ed.), História da Expansão Portuguesa no Mundo vol. IX (Lisbon: Editora Estampa, [TS of about 150 pages])

Significant Unpublished Works

“The African Background of the Slaves of the Henrietta Marie,” entry for catalog of the exhibit of the remains of the Henrietta Marie by the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum, Key West, Florida (Opened, May 1995).

“Sin and Evil in Kongo Christianity: An Edition and Translation of a Seventeenth Century Kikongo Sermon.”

“Modern Oral Tradition and the Historic Kingdom of Kongo,” possibly to be published in the proceedings of the III Encontro da História de Angola.

(with Amara Thornton) “The Children of Kinzamba,” a children’s novel of approximate 150 pages.

(with Linda Heywood), “The Removal of “Canniball Negroes” from New England to Providence Island,” (forthcoming in special volume to be published for the New England Colonial Society)

Textbook Contributions

Chapters 2 and 3 of Michael L. Coniff and Thomas J. Davis Africans in the Americas: A History of the African Diaspora (New York: Saint Martin’s, 1994), pp. 31-64.

Teaching Texts

A History of the World to 1500 (approximately 200 page single spaced typed original textbook, printed and sold to students through bookstore).

A History of the World, 1500-1815 (approximately 200 page single spaced typed original textbook, printed and sold to students through bookstore).