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Ph.D in Anthropology, Yale University, 1987

Office: 5369 BUNCHE
Phone: 310-794-9547
Fax: 310-206-9630

Mailing Address:

UCLA Department of History
6265 Bunche Hall
Box 951473
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1473

Class Websites


African, World

Research Interests

West Africa (Yoruba, Nigeria) and the African Diaspora (Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba), History of Anthropology, Social Theory.

Andrew Apter works on ritual, memory, and indigenous knowledge as well as colonial culture, commodity fetishism and state spectacle. His historical ethnography of Yoruba hermeneutics informs his research on “syncretism” and creolization in West Africa and the Americas.

Selected Publications

Recent Articles:

2014 "Modernization Theory and the Figure of Blindness: Filial Reflections.” In S. Miescher, P. Bloom, T. Manu, eds. Modernization as Spectacle in Africa. Indiana University Press, 41-61.

2013 "M.G. Smith on the Isle of Lesbos: Kinship and Sexuality in Carriacou," New West Indian Guide 87 (issue 3-4): 273-293.

2013 "The Blood of Mothers: Women, Money and Markets in Yoruba Atlantic Perspective," Journal of African American History 98 (1): 72-98. Special Issue on Women, Slavery, and the Atlantic World, ed. Brenda S. Stevenson.

2013 “Yoruba Ethnogenesis from Within,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 55 (2): 356-387. Online edition: Cambridge Journals Online.

2012 “"Matrilineal Motives: Kinship, Witchcraft and Repatriation among Congolese Refugees," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18(1): 22-44.

2005 “Griaule’s Legacy: Rethinking ‘la parole claire’ in Dogon Studies,” Cahiers d'Études Africaines 177, XLV (1): 95-129.

2004 "Herskovits's Heritage: Rethinking Syncretism in the African Diaspora." In A.M Leopold and J.S. Jensen, eds. Syncretism in Religion: A Reader. New York: Routledge, 160-184. Reprinted from Diaspora 1 (3), 1991: 235-260.

2002 "On African Origins: Creolization and Connaissance in Haitian Vodou,"American Ethnologist29 (2): 233-260.

2002 "On Imperial Spectacle: The Dialectics of Seeing in Colonial Nigeria," Comparative Studies in Society and History 44 (3): 564-96.

1999 “Africa, Empire, and Anthropology: A Philological Exploration of Anthropology's Heart of Darkness," Annual Review of Anthropology Vol. 28: 577-98.


Activating the Past: History and Memory in the Black Atlantic World, Co-edited with Lauren Derby, (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010)

Black Critics and Kings: The Hermeneutics of Power in Yoruba Society (University of Chicago Press, 1992)

The Pan-African Nation: Oil and the Spectacle of Culture in Nigeria (University of Chicago Press, 2005)

Beyond Words: Discourse and Critical Agency in Africa (University of Chicago Press, 2007)

Recent Courses:
HIST 164E. The Postcolony in Africa. Spring 2013.

HIST 201N. Historical Ethnography of Africa. Winter 2012.

HIST 214-1. Studies in Black Atlantic History and Culture. Fall 2012.

HIST 275C. Theory and Method in African History. Spring 2010.

INTL DV 100A. Economic Development and Cultural Change. Fall 2012.

INTL DV 191-1. Capitalism and Social Theory. Spring 2013.

GLBL ST 100A. Globalization: Concepts and History. Winter 2012.

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Cross-Field Clusters

Alongside our existing 12 sub-fields, the History Department supports a number of cross-field clusters.  The clusters are intended to attract students and faculty to important themes and current in the historical discipline.  The clusters will offer new courses, sponsor outside speakers, and convene Department-based workshops and seminars.

Atlantic Emphasis

History of Women, Men & Sexuality Emphasis

Learn More . . .

New Books by Faculty

Robin Kelley has published a new book, "The Other Special Relationship: Race, Rights and Riots in Britain and the United States," (New York: Palgrave, 2015)

Sanjay Subrahmanyam has published a new book, "Leçons Indiennes: Itinéraires d'un historien, Delhi, Lisbonne, Paris, Los Angeles," (Paris: Alma, 2015)

Eric Avila has published a new book, "The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City," (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)

Juan Gómez-Quiñones has published a new book, "Making Aztlán: Ideology and Culture of the Chicana and Chicano Movement, 1966-1977," (University of New Mexico Press, 2014)

Learn More . . .