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Jeffrey Ahlman

Professor of History; Chair of African Studies Program

Jeffery Ahlman


10 Prospect Street #105


Jeffrey Ahlman is a professor of history and the chair of African studies. He specializes in African political, social and cultural history.

He is most recently the author of Ghana: A Political and Social History (Zed Books, forthcoming November 2023). His previous books include Living with Nkrumahism: Nation, State, and Pan-Africanism in Ghana (Ohio University Press, 2017) and Kwame Nkrumah: Visions of Liberation (Ohio University Press, 2021). His published articles have appeared in the Journal of African History, the International Journal of African Historical Studies, Africa Today, Ghana Studies and Kronos: Southern African Histories, among other venues. He is currently working on a project tentatively titled W. E. B. Du Bois’s Africa: History, Theory, and the Politics of a Discipline.

At Smith, he teaches a range of courses on African history. These include survey courses on early African history, colonial West Africa, and 19th- and 20th-century Africa as well as topics courses on decolonization, development, gender and sexuality in Africa, and African transnationalism, among others. He also regularly teaches the History Department’s introduction to the major (“The Historian’s Craft”).

Selected Publications


Ghana: A Political and Social History. London: Zed Books, forthcoming 2023.

Kwame Nkrumah: Visions of Liberation. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2021. Ohio Short Histories of Africa.

Living with Nkrumahism: Nation, State, and Pan-Africanism in Ghana. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2017. New African Histories Series.

Articles and Book Chapters

“‘The Strange Case of Major Awhaitey’: Conspiracy, Testimonial Evidence, and Narratives of Nation in Ghana’s Postcolonial Democracy,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 50, no. 2 (2017): 225-249.

“Africa’s Kitchen Debate: Ghanaian Domestic Space in the Age of Cold War.” In Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War: A Global Perspective, edited by Philip E. Muehlenbeck, 157-177. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2017.

“Managing the Pan-African Workplace: Discipline, Ideology, and the Cultural Politics of the Ghanaian Bureau of African Affairs, 1959-1966,” Ghana Studies 15/16 (2012/13): 337-371.

“A New Type of Citizen: Youth, Gender, and Generation in the Ghanaian Builders Brigade,” Journal of African History 53, no. 1 (2012): 87-105.

“Road to Ghana: Nkrumah, Southern Africa, and the Eclipse of a Decolonizing Africa,” Kronos: Southern African Histories 37 (2011): 23-40.

“The Algerian Question in Nkrumah’s Ghana, 1958-1960: Debating ‘Violence’ and ‘Nonviolence’ in African Decolonization,” Africa Today 57, no. 2 (2010): 67-84.



Office Hours

Fall 2023
Fridays 3:20-5 p.m.
or by appointment


Ph.D., M.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
B.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Personal website