Nwando Achebe wins MSU’s William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award


NWANDO Achebe, the Jack and Margaret Sweet Endowed Professor of History, is an internationally recognized scholar of twentieth-century African history, who utilises oral history in the study of women, gender and sexuality in Nigeria.

In the last fifteen years, she has pioneered and redefined African historical gender scholarship. Her second book, “The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe,” a critical biography of the only female warrant chief and king in all of colonial Nigeria, won three book awards.

Her sixth book, “Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa” documents elite females, female principles and female spiritual entities across the African continent, with attention to female power and authority in Africa from the ancient past to the present. The Wellness Feed selected it as one of seven books to celebrate and learn about black history.

  Achebe founded the Journal of West African History, the first journal to recognize and to promote an understanding of West Africa’s historical distinctiveness. She was featured in The History Channel documentaries, “Roots: A History Revealed” and “Roots: A New Vision,” and has been interviewed and featured in documentaries and news programing on four different continents. Achebe has received grants and awards from the Rockefeller, Woodrow Wilson, Fulbright-Hays and Ford Foundations, the World Health Organization and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

  Achebe is a popular teacher and has contributed to MSU’s top-ranked African History program through her mentorship of students from around the world. She spends generous amounts of time with her students, helping them with writing; research methods, particularly in archives; and providing technical insight for conducting oral interviews. Currently serving on a host of graduate committees, Achebe employs students as editors at the Journal of West African History and as research assistants to help orient them to professional history practices.

  Additionally, Achebe serves as the faculty excellence advocate for the college and as a member of the executive board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora. She was recently promoted to associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Social Science.

  For her many accomplishments as a pioneering scholar in the field of African history and pedagogy, and her university, community and global outreach, Nwando Achebe is richly deserving of the Michigan State University William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award.


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