Trevor R. Getz

image of Prof. Trevor Getz
Chair, Department of History
Director, Initiative for Public Humanities

Contact Information


Office Information: 

Room Number: 


I am a historian of Africa whose interests include interdisciplinary methodologies, critical theory, and popular ways of thinking about the past. Most of my work revolves around issues surrounding gender and slavery in West Africa, although I have also published in the fields of world history, heritage studies in South Africa, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and modern imperialism and colonialism.  I am currently working on a two-volume world history for Oxford University Press, an edited volume on scholarly and popular approaches to the past for Ohio University Press, and a monograph on the intersection of slavery, parenthood, adulthood, and marriage in nineteenth century Gold Coast (West Africa). When I’m not being a professional historian, I still dabble in other kinds of history: I enjoy building models of RAF fighters, reading speculative fiction, and I play with trains.



Full Curriculum Vitae here


Ph.D. History of Africa, University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2000

M.A. History, University of Cape Town, 1997

B.A. History & Anthropology, University of California Berkeley, 1995

Research Interests

Gender, romance, marriage, and sex in African history

Slaving and dependency relationships


Constructions of heritage, tradition, and public history


Courses Recently Taught



Modern Africa

Approaches to African Pasts

History of Africa

History, Society, and Justice



Social and Cultural History of Africa

The Great Divergence


Selected Publications


A Primer for Teaching African History, Duke University Press. (Forthcoming)

African Voices of the Global Past, to c.1500 - Present, Westfield Press. 2013.

African World Histories, Vol. II, Cosmopolitan Africa: 1700-1850, Oxford University Press, 2012.

Our World, Bridgepoint Press, 2012. (e-book, with Jon Brooke)

Abina and the Important Men, Oxford University Press, 2011. Second edition under contract, forthcoming, 2015.

Modern Imperialism and Colonialism: a global history, Prentice Hall, 2010. (With Heather Streets-Salter). Second edition to be published as Empires and Colinies in the Modern World by Oxford University Press, 2015.

African Histories: New sources and new techniques for studying African pasts. Prentice Hall, 2011. (with Esperanza Brizuela-Garcia).

Exchanges, vol.1:  A reader in global history to 1500, Prentice Hall, 2008. (with Jarbel Rodriguez and Richard Hoffman).

Exchanges, vol.2: A reader in global history 1500 – present, Prentice Hall, 2008.  (with Jarbel Rodriguez and Richard Hoffman).

Slavery and Reform in West Africa, Athens: Ohio University Press and James Currey, 2004. 

Editor, African World Histories Series for Oxford University Press

Selected Articles:

“The Marriages of Abina Mansah – escaping the boundaries of “slavery” as a category in historical analysis”,         accepted for publication in the Journal of West African History. (With Lindsay Ehrisman)

“Towards an historical sociology of world history”, The History Compass, 10 (23012), 483-495.

“The Case for Africans:  The Role of Slaves and Masters in Emancipation on the Gold Coast, 1874-1900” Slavery and Abolition, 21, 2000: 128-145.

Selected Awards

James Harvey Robinson Prize        2013-2014

West African Research Association Fellowship        May 2013 – August 2013

Facilitating Research and Creative Work Grant          July 2010 – January 2011

Distinguished Faculty Award for Contributions to International Programs  2009-2010

Fulbright Scholar Award         January 2008 – December 2008

Professional Service
Chair, SFSU Universoty Corproation

Editorial board, Journal of West African History

Former Vice-President for Teaching, H-Net

Advisory board, Longmore Center for Disability Studies

Advisory board, Metro College SFSU

Program Comittee, American Historical Assosciation Annual Conference

Other Links

Abina and the Important Men: