Faculty Director

Emmanuel Akyeampong

Emmanuel Akyeampong

Faculty Director; Professor of History and of African and African American Studies
Center for African Studies
History Department; Department of African and African American Studies

Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong, is a Professor of History and of African and African American Studies and the senior historian of Africa at Harvard. He specializes in West African history, Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa, comparative slavery, social history of alcohol, disease and medicine, ecology, the African diaspora, political economy and trade, and social and cultural history. He is the author of Drink, Power, and Cultural Change: A Social History of Alcohol in Ghana, c.1800 to Recent Times (1996); and Between the Sea and the Lagoon: An Eco-Social History of the Anlo of Southeastern Ghana, c.1850 to Recent Times (2001). He is the editor of Themes in West Africa’s History (2006); The Dictionary of African Biography 6 Vols. with Henry Louis Gates Jr., (2012); Africa’s Development in Historical Perspective, together with Robert Bates, Nathan Nunn, and James Robinson (2014); and The Culture of Mental Illness and Psychiatric Practice in Africa, together with Allan G. Hill and Arthur Kleinman (2015).

Professor Akyeampong is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (FGA), and a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (UK). He serves as President of the African Public Broadcasting Foundation (US), sits on the Advisory Council of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellows Program, and is a co-founder of the International Institute for the Advanced Study of Cultures, Institutions and Economic Enterprise based in Accra, Ghana. Akyeampong was editor of the Journal of African History, a founding co-editor of African Diaspora, and has served on the editorial advisory boards of African Arguments, Psychopathologie africaine, African Affairs, International Journal of African Historical Studies, Journal of African History, Economic History of Developing Regions, Journal of the Social History of Medicine, Ghana Studies, Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana, and Research Review. He served on the board of directors for the African Studies Association, and was a Council Member of the International African Institute.

Professor Akyeampong came to Harvard in 1993 and was instrumental, along with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in creating Harvard’s Department of African and African American Studies, which offers an undergraduate concentration in African Studies and a Ph.D. in African Studies. He served as chair of the Committee on African Studies at Harvard from 2002 to 2006, and succeeds Professor Caroline Elkins as Oppenheimer Director of the Center.

Akyeampong earned his B.A. from the University of Ghana, Legon, his M.A. in History from Wake Forest University, and his Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia. Akyeampong is also a graduate of the Andover Newton Theological Seminary, and serves as Affiliate Minister for Outreach at Acton Congregation