Jack and Margaret Sweet Endowed Professor of History
Michigan State University
Nwando Achebe (pronounced: Wan-do Ah-chě-bě; [pronunciation key: ě as in pet]), the Jack and Margaret Sweet Endowed Professor of History, is a multi-award-winning historian, and Faculty Excellence Advocate of the College of Social Science at Michigan State University. She is the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of West African History, published by Michigan State University Press; member of the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of the World Wide African Diaspora (ASWAD), past member of the African Studies Association’s (ASA) Board of Directors, past co-convenor of ASA’s Women’s Caucus, and co-director of the Christie and Chinua Achebe Foundation.
Dr. Achebe received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2000. In 1996 and 1998, she served as a Ford Foundation and Fulbright-Hays Scholar-in-Residence at The Institute of African Studies and History Department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She was also a 2000 Woodrow Wilson Women’s Studies Fellow. Her research interests involve the use of oral history in the study of women, gender, and sexuality in Nigeria.
Achebe is the author of six books. Her first book, Farmers, Traders, Warriors, and Kings: Female Power and Authority in Northern Igboland, 1900-1960 was published by Heinemann. Achebe’s second book, The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe (Indiana University Press, 2011), winner of three book awards—The Aidoo-Snyder Book Award, The Barbara “Penny” Kanner Book Award, and The Gita Chaudhuri Book Award—is a full length critical biography on the only female warrant chief and king in colonial Nigeria, and arguably British Africa. The writing was funded by a generous grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Dr. Achebe is co-author of History of West Africa E-Course Book (British Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2018). She is also co-editor, with William Worger and Charles Ambler of A Companion to African History (2018), co-editor with Claire Robertson of Holding the World Together: African Women in Changing Perspective (Wisconsin University Press, 2019); and sole-author of Ohio University Press’ Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa (2020).
In addition to the Wenner-Gren, Dr. Achebe has received a number of other prestigious grants including awards from Rockefeller Foundation, Woodrow Wilson, Fulbright-Hays, Ford Foundation, the World Health Organization, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
She has given over one hundred invited keynote lectures and talks on four continents, in universities in the US, UK, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and China. She has also served as expert consultant for The History Channel/A&E Network Corporation’s “Roots,” the miniseries remake, Disney Channel’s “African Princess Project”; and has been interviewed and featured in documentaries and news programing on three different continents. She was featured in The History Channel documentaries, “Roots: A History Revealed,” and “Roots: A New Vision;” South Africa Broadcasting Corporation’s news program, “MorningLive,” Nigerian Television Authority’s “Weekend Deal 15 Minutes Studio,” and British Broadcasting Corporation’s “Professor Chinua Achebe: A Hero Returns 2,” Witness: Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and The History Hour. She was also a featured speaker at the 2019 Körber History Forum debate in Berlin, “A Stolen Past: “Europe and the Compensation of Colonial Injustice.” You can listen to her speak to New Books Network and Africa Past and Present podcast about her critical biography, The Female King.