Walter Rucker, Treasurer
Associate Professor and Vice Chair
for Graduate Education of History
I am Associate Professor and Vice-Chair for Graduate Education of History at Rutgers University. A specialist in early-modern African Diaspora and African American History, my research focuses on the generative nexus between slave resistance and culture. My first book, The River Flows On: Black Resistance, Culture, and Identity Formation in Early America (2006), tracks diasporic African identity formation through examinations of resistance efforts in colonial British North America and the antebellum U.S. My second book, Gold Coast Diasporas: Identity, Culture, and Power (2015), analyzes the origin and reinvention of “Coromantee” and “(A)mina” as neo-African ethnicities in the eighteenth-century circum-Caribbean. The book assesses the socio-political scripts, cultural technologies, and public performances fashioned by enslaved Gold Coast Africans as part of an emerging (and non-Western) abolitionist discourse. In addition, I have published a range of book chapters and articles appearing in the Journal of Negro History, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Scholar as well as two co-edited encyclopedia projects—The Encyclopedia of American Race Riots (2006) and The Encyclopedia of African American History (2010).
Through organizing panels, chairing sessions, presenting papers, and encouraging colleagues and graduate students to become members, I have participated at every ASWAD conference—with the exception of Rio (2005)—since the Association’s inception in 2000. In addition, I am in the process of becoming a lifetime member. I would bring to the ASWAD Executive Board my lengthy professional experience, a commitment to promoting African Diaspora Studies, and a willingness to work and contribute. Currently, I serve as the interim ASWAD Treasurer which entails the collection and disbursement of ASWAD funds and a significant amount of record keeping and organizing. I also chair the 2015 Wesley-Logan Prize Committee (African Diaspora History) jointly sponsored by the American Historical Association and the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. Specifically, this experience and my previous two years of service on this committee has provided me with insights into proposing and devising an ASWAD competition to award the best African Diaspora Studies book at each biennial meeting. In turn, this could serve as a template for other prize and award competitions to be developed by ASWAD in the near future.