Fellowship / Fellows

Ndubueze L. Mbah

  • 2022–2023
  • History
  • Joy Foundation Fellow
  • University at Buffalo
Portrait of Ndubueze L. Mbah
Photo courtesy of Ndubueze Mbah

Ndubueze L. Mbah is an associate professor of history and global gender studies at the University at Buffalo. He uses oral, written, and material culture sources to show how trans-imperial systems of production and labor mobilization defined political economies of gender and sexuality in Atlantic Age West Africa. Mbah’s award-winning book, Emergent Masculinities: Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age (Ohio University Press, 2019), reveals how transatlantic slavery made gender the dominant marker of human difference and denominator of power in West Africa.  

At Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Mbah is completing his second monograph, “African Rebellious Migrants: The Forgery of Abolition and the Quest for Freedom,” which explains how abolitionism catalyzed and masked the expansion of forced labor and heteropatriarchal dependency regimes in West Africa during the 19th and 20th centuries. Mbah centers the innovations and freedom politics of African colonial subjects, who negotiated trans-colonial systems of forced labor, policing, and surveillance. Situated within studies of global Black unfreedom after the end of Atlantic slavery, the book clarifies the connection between abolitionism and the expansion of unfree labor and human trafficking in Africa and reveals how forgery became a major feature of modern African mobility culture.  

Mbah has received awards from the African Studies Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. He earned his PhD with distinction in African history from Michigan State University and is a first-class honors graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

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