menu
William and Mary
search

Robert  Vinson

Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies

Office : Blair 211
Email : [[rtvins]]
Regional Areas of Research : Ancient to Modern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, United States
Thematic Areas of Research : African American, Comparative and Transnational, Cultural/Intellectual, Imperialism and Colonialism, Race and Ethnicity, Religion

Research Interests

African Diaspora, Southern Africa and African American History

Background

Robert Trent Vinson received his Ph.D. in African History from Howard University. He has written The Americans are Coming!: The Dream of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa (Ohio University Press, January 2012). His next book project is Before Mandela, Like A King: The Prophetic Politics of Chief Albert Luthuli (Athens, Ohio University Press), scheduled for publication in 2015. Vinson is also the co-author of two additional books in preparation, Shaka's Progeny: Zulu Cultures and the Making of the Modern Atlantic World, co-authored with Benedict Carton and Crossing the Water: African Americans and South Africa, 1890-1965, a documentary history co-edited with Robert Edgar and David Anthony (forthcoming, Ohio University Press). Vinson has also published several book chapters and articles and reviews, including in the American Historical Review, the Journal of African History, the African Studies Review, and the Journal of Southern African Studies. Vinson is on the editorial board of Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies.

Publications
Books
  • The Americans Are Coming!: Dreams of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2012)

Books in Progress

  • Before Mandela, Like A King: The Prophetic Politics of Chief Albert Luthuli (Athens, Ohio University Press), scheduled for publication in 2015.
  • Shaka’s Progeny: Zulu Cultures and the Making of the Modern Atlantic World (co-authored with Benedict Carton)
  • Crossing the Water: African Americans and South Africa, 1890-1965: A Documentary History (with David H. Anthony and Robert R. Edgar, (advance contract with Ohio University Press)

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Abantu-Batho, Garveyism and Black Transnational Print Culture” in Peter Limb ed. Abantu-Batho: The History of an African newspaper (Johannesburg: University of Witwatersrand Press, 2012)
  • “Providential Design: American Negroes and Garveyism in South Africa” in Michael O. West, William G. Martin, and Fanon Che Wilkins eds. From Toussaint to Tupac: The Black International since the Age of Revolution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009)
  • “Zulus, African-Americans and the African Diaspora” with Robert R. Edgar, in Benedict Carton, John Laband and Jabulani Sithole ed. Being Zulu: Contesting Identities Past and Present (Pietermaritzburg: University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Press, 2008)
  • “Zulus Abroad: Cultural Representations and Educational Experiences of the Zulu in America, 1879-1945”, with Robert Edgar Journal of Southern African Studies 33, 1, (March 2007), 43-62.
  • “Sea Kaffirs: ‘American Negroes’ and the Gospel of Garveyism in Segregationist South Africa” Journal of African History 47, 2, (July 2006), 281-303.
  • Citizenship Over Race?: African Americans in American-South African Diplomacy, 1890-1925” Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Comparative Studies 15, (April 2004), 13-32; updated and revised in the electronic journal World History Connected, 1, 2, (January 2005)
  • “Poking Holes in the Sky: Professor James Thaele, American Negroes, and Modernity in 1920s Segregationist South Africa”, with Amanda D. Kemp, African Studies Review 44, 1, (April 2000) 141-159.
  • “The Law As Lawbreaker: The Promotion and Encouragement of the Atlantic Slave Trade by the New York Judiciary System, 1857-1862” Afro-Americans in New York Life and History 20, 2, (July 1996), 35-58.
Book Reviews
  • Brenda Gayle Plummer, “In Search of Power: African Americans in the Era of Decolonization, 1956-1974” American Historical Review 119, 3 (June 2014), 828-830.
  • Andrew Zimmerman, “Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South” Labor: Studies in the Working-Class History of the Americas 8, 2 (Summer 2011)
  • Francis Njubi Nesbitt, “Race Against Sanctions: African Americans Against Apartheid, 1946-1994” Journal of American History 92, 2 (September 2005)
  • Hakim Ali and Marika Sherwood, “Pan-African History: Political Figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787” H-South Africa Scholarly Discussion Network (2005)
  • James Meriwether, “Proudly We Can Be Africans: African Americans and Africa, 1935-61” International Journal of African Historical Studies 35, 2-3, 2002
  • Timothy J. Juckes, “Opposition in South Africa: The Political Leadership of Z.K. Matthews, Nelson Mandela and Steven Biko” The Negro History Bulletin, 60, 3, July-Sept. 1997
Education

B.A. Psychology, 1992

University of Nevada-Las Vegas

M.A. History, 1995

Howard University

Ph.D. (with distinction), History, 2001

Howard University

Academic Positions

Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Virginia 2002

Assistant Professor, Washington Univ. in St. Louis 2002-07

Visiting Assistant Professor, College of William and Mary 2006-2007

Assistant Professor, College of William and Mary 2007-10

Associate Professor, College of William and Mary 2010-2011

University Associate Professor for Teaching Excellence, College of William and Mary, 2011-

Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies, 2014-

Courses Taught

Africa

History of Africa before 1800

History of Africa since 1800

History of South Africa

Modern History of South Africa (since 1870)

Gender, Sexuality and Kinship in Africa

The Rise, Fall and Legacies of Apartheid

 

Transnational History

History of the African Diaspora

The Atlantic Slave Trade

History of Pan-Africanism

The Global Color Line: The U.S. Civil Rights Movement and the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa

African Americans and Africa

African American History in Global Context: The Black International

 

African American History

African American History before 1865

African American History since 1865