Coleman Lecture 2019

“The Politics of Knowledge Production—A Reflective Journey and Dance about the Epistemology and Practice of African Gender History" with Professor Nwando Achebe

UCLA alumna and award winning, critically acclaimed, feminist scholar Professor Nwando Achebe delivered the 2019 James S. Coleman Memorial Lecture on the intersections of performance art, history and self-knowledge centering women titled, “The Politics of Knowledge Production—A Reflective Journey and Dance about the Epistemology and Practice of African Gender History."

Coleman Lecture

In this lecture, Nwando Achebe details her personal journey into becoming an Africanist and gender historian. Along the way, she considers questions relating to the ownership and production of Africanist knowledge; while highlighting several influential interpretive voices that have shaped received canon in ways that are at best, problematic; and at worst, Eurocentric. These voices have worked to interrupt and/or disrupt true understanding and knowing about African women and gender. She ends by offering up her own African- and gender-centered intervention into existing discourse and production of history.

Achebe is the Jack and Margaret Sweet Endowed Professor of History, founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of West African History, and a multi-award-winning author based at Michigan State University. Her research interests involve the use of oral history in the study of women, gender, and sexuality in Nigeria.

In 1996 and 1998, Achebe served as a Ford Foundation and Fulbright-Hays Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Subsequently, she received her Ph.D. from UCLA in 2000.  Achebe has since authored six books and numerous other publications. Notably, Achebe’s second book, The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe is the winner of three book awards and is a full-length critical biography of the only female warrant chief and king in British Africa.  Achebe has received several prestigious grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, Wenner-Gren, Woodrow Wilson, Fulbright-Hays, Ford Foundation, World Health Organization, and National Endowment for the Humanities, to list a few.



The 2019 Coleman Lecture was made possible by the generous support of the Charles E. Young Research Library and the UCLA Department of History. The reception catered by Sumptuous African Restaurant.

Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2019