Walter C. Rucker
Associate Professor of History
Walter C. Rucker is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University. He currently serves as chair of the Wesley-Logan Prize Committee which awards an outstanding book in African Diaspora History. A specialist in early-modern Atlantic, African Diaspora, and African American history, Rucker’s research focuses on the generative nexus between slave resistance and culture in the Western Hemisphere. His first book, The River Flows On: Black Resistance, Culture, and Identity Formation in Early America (2006), tracks diasporic African identity formation through close examinations of resistance efforts in colonial British North America and the antebellum U.S. Rucker’s second book, Gold Coast Diasporas: Identity, Culture, and Power (2015), analyzes the emergence and continual reinvention of “Coromantee” and “(A)mina” as neo-African ethnicities in the early-modern circum-Caribbean. The book assesses the socio-political scripts, cultural technologies, and public performances invented by enslaved Gold Coast Africans and their descendants in the Western Hemisphere. Specifically, Rucker tracks the evolution of a commoner consciousness—a set of motifs that embodied and embedded critiques of power and empowered elites. Spawned in the context of racial slavery in the Americas, this consciousness developed into anti-slavery, egalitarian, and revolutionary articulations that drew upon familiar Gold Coast formulations.
In addition to his single-authored books, Rucker has published a number of book chapters and articles appearing in the Journal of Negro History, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Scholar. He has also co-edited two encyclopedia projects—The Encyclopedia of American Race Riots (2006) and The Encyclopedia of African American History (2010). Rucker has organized panels, chaired sessions, and presented at every ASWAD conference since 2001, with the exception of the Rio meeting (2005). He currently serves as interim ASWAD Treasurer.