John Cropper

Assistant Professor

Address: Maybank Hall, Room 325
Office Hours: TR 12:30-1:30
Phone: 843.953.1420

John Cropper earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and currently serves as an assistant professor of Modern African History at the College of Charleston. His research interests include the history of the environment, development and aid, energy use, and politics in French West Africa. His current book project, Fueling the State: Energy, Politics, and the Environment in Senegal from 1450 to Present Day, investigates the ways in which states used, stored, and deployed different forms of energy to broadcast and consolidate power. By chronicling Senegal’s transformation from a pre-industrial economy to a mixed energy economy, it shows that control over energy resources played an instrumental role in how precolonial African kings, French colonial officials, and postcolonial African leaders attempted to centralize and maintain power over time and space.


Ph.D. in African History, University of Chicago, 2019

M.A. in African History, University of Chicago, 2012

M.A. in Social Sciences, University of Chicago, 2009

B.A. in European History and French Culture, Colorado College, 2004

Courses Taught

Precolonial Africa

An Environmental History of Africa, 1800 to Present Day

Modern Africa

The History of the Atlantic World and the Anthropocene

Honors and Awards

Dr. Cropper has been awarded fellowships from Les Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and the African Studies Program and the University of Chicago, as well as prize lectureships at the University of Chicago. 


Fueling the State: Energy, Politics, and the Environment in Senegal from 1450 to Present Day (in progress)

“A Dream of the Future? Renewable Energy in Colonial Senegal” (forthcoming)