Derek R. Peterson

Derek R. Peterson is a senior lecturer in African history and director of the Centre of African Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Creative Writing: Translation, Bookkeeping, and the Work of Imagination in Colonial Kenya, and editor of The Invention of Religion: Rethinking Belief in Politics and History.

Listed in: History · African Studies · Anthropology · Christianity · Religion · African History · Media and Film Studies · Slavery and Slave Trade · Islam




The abolition of the slave trade is normally understood to be the singular achievement of eighteenth-century British liberalism. Abolitionism and Imperialism in Britain, Africa, and the Atlantic expands both the temporal and the geographic framework in which the history of abolitionism is conceived.

“Derek Peterson has succeeded in putting together a first-rate collection that extends our understanding of the global reach and influence of British abolitionism. Original and innovative, it offers a range of insights, not least about the legacy of abolitionism, that will have a major impact on future research in this area, while at the same time reshaping what has become known as the ‘new Atlantic history.’”

Journal of British Studies




Recasting the Past · History Writing and Political Work in Modern Africa
Edited by Derek R. Peterson and Giacomo Macola

The study of intellectual history in Africa is in its infancy. We know very little about what Africa’s thinkers made of their times. Recasting the Past brings one field of intellectual endeavor into view. The book takes its place alongside a small but growing literature that highlights how, in autobiographies, historical writing, fiction, and other literary genres, African writers intervened creatively in their political world.

“As a group, the contributors and editors of Recasting the Past constitute one of the most impressive cohorts of scholars brought together in a collective volume project in the past three decades. This work will be required reading for any individual venturing into serious study of Africa’s past.”

David William Cohen, The University of Michigan