Benjamin N. Lawrance

Professor of African History

Benjamin Lawrance, Ph.D. is a legal historian who works in Africa and with West African migrants around the globe.  He is a Professor of History in the Department of History in the College of Social and Behavioral Science. His research explores mobility, labor, and human rights through time and space, and he has written about historical and contemporary slavery, human trafficking, cuisine and globalization, human rights, refugee issues and asylum policies. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the African Studies Review, the flagship journal of the African Studies Association (USA). His first monograph — Locality, Mobility and 'Nation' (Rochester 2007) — examined the experiences of Ewe men and women under French mandate rule in Togo, and will shortly appear in French. His second monograph — Amistad's Orphans (Yale 2014) — examined West African child smuggling in the 19th century, reconstructing a familiar story, namely the 1840-41 Amistad Supreme Court case, through the lens of children’s experiences of enslavement. He is currently working on a history of postcolonial African social and political persecution, drawing on the narratives of African asylum seekers in Europe and North America. He is the series editor for the Bloomsbury Academic Press series, A Cultural History of Slavery and Human Trafficking.

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