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Rebecca Shumway

Assistant Professor

Address: Maybank Hall, Room 213
Office Hours: W 10-12 and by appointment

Dr. Rebecca Shumway received her PhD in African History from Emory University in 2004.  She is a specialist in the history of precolonial West Africa and the Atlantic world and has taught African history courses at Georgetown University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Appalachian State University and Colorado State University. 

Dr. Shumway’s first book, The Fante and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Rochester 2011) examines the history of the Fante society of coastal Ghana during the eighteenth century.  By connecting the local history of Fante towns, particularly Anomabo, with events and processes of change taking place on a broader Atlantic scale, the book presents a history of the slave trade from an African point of view.  In 2012, the book was selected as a finalist for the African Studies Association’s distinguished Herskovits Book Prize, which honors the best book on Africa published in the previous year in the fields of History, Political Science, Art History, Anthropology and Literature.

Dr. Shumway is currently working on a new book project that examines the evolution of anti-racist intellectual discourse and Black identity on the Gold Coast in the nineteenth century.


PhD, Emory University, 2004

BA, Northwestern University, 1995

Special Admissions - University of Ghana, 1993-94

Research Interests

Precolonial Africa

West Africa

Atlantic World

Slave Trade

African Diaspora

Courses Taught

Tribes Polities and Empires

West Africa in the Era of the Slave Trade

Honors and Awards

2012.  Finalist for the Herskovits Prize (the best book on Africa published in the previous year in the fields of History, Political Science, Art History, Anthropology and Literature)

2000.  Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Grant, Ghana

1995.  Phi Beta Kappa, Northwestern University


“From Atlantic Creoles to African Nationalists: Reflections on the Historiography of Nineteenth-Century Fanteland,” History in Africa: A Journal of Method, 42 (2015): 139-164.

“Palavers and Treaty-Making in the British Acquisition of the Gold Coast Colony (West Africa).” In Empire by Treaty: Negotiating European Expansion, 1600-1900, edited by Saliha Belmessous, 161-185. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

“Castle Slaves of the Eighteenth Century Gold Coast,” Slavery and Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies, 35: 1 (2014): 84-98.

The Fante and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, University of Rochester Press (Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora), 2011.

“The Fante Shrine of Nananom Mpow and the Atlantic Slave Trade in Southern Ghana,” International Journal of African Historical Studies, 44: 1 (2011): 27-44.