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Gérard Chouin

Assistant Professor, History

Office : Blair 304
Email : glchouin@wm.edu
Regional Areas of Research : Ancient to Modern Africa, Atlantic World, Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Thematic Areas of Research : Comparative and Transnational, Cultural/Intellectual, Imperialism and Colonialism, Environmental, French Atlantic, Historiography and Historical Memory, Material Culture, Religion, Science and Medicine

Bio

Gérard Chouin received his MA (Maîtrise) and Mphil (DEA) in African History from the University of Paris-I, Panthéon-Sorbonne in 1992 and 1993 respectively. He served six years as a lecturer at the University of Ghana, and at the University of Cape Coast before joining a PhD program in Anthropology/Historical Archaeology at Syracuse University as a Graduate Fellow. In 2009, he completed his dissertation on the history and archaeology of Southern Ghana, and subsequently accepted an appointment as Director of the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nigeria) at the University of Ibadan from 2010 to 2013. He came to William and Mary to teach and research medieval to modern histories of Africa.

Research Interests

His research interests and areas of expertise include pre-Atlantic and early modern Atlantic West African sacred landscapes, earthworks, trade, sociopolitical systems, urbanization, social collapse, diseases, food, plants and cuisines; and West African politics.

Publications

Gérard has authored several books focusing on seventeenth century West Africa in the Atlantic world, with a special interest in editing and publishing pre-twentieth century European source material. His current projects include the publication of Jean Godot’s unpublished account of a journey to West Africa in 1701 and the correspondence of Marie-Joseph Bonnat from the Niger Delta from 1866 to 1868.

 

He is also developing a book manuscript on the subject of landscape and history in Southern Ghana (500–1900 AD). His research combines evidence from oral traditions, archival material, travel accounts, and archaeological surveys and excavations. Currently, he is developing a new research project on the history of urbanization in the West African tropical forest belt, from Côte d’Ivoire to Nigeria, during the first and second millennia AD, with a central focus on the growth and collapse of massive earthworks systems.