Nwando Achebe (pronounced: Wan-do Ah-chě-bě; [pronunciation key: ě as in pet]) is the Jack and Margaret Sweet Endowed Professor of History. An award-winning historian, she also serves as the Faculty Excellence Advocate (FEA) for the College of Social Science. Achebe is the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of West African History, published by Michigan State University Press; member of the African Studies Association’s (ASA) Board of Directors, and past co-convenor of ASA’s Women’s Caucus. She was convenor of the April 8-9, 2016 Journal of West African History International Launch Conference. Please click on the links that follow to watch Day One and Day Two of the conference.
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 is also a 2000 Woodrow Wilson Women’s Studies Fellow. In the summers of 2014 and 2017, Dr. Achebe was Visiting Professor at Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
Nwando Achebe’s research interests involve the use of oral history in the study of women, gender, and sexuality in Nigeria. Her first book, Farmers, Traders, Warriors, and Kings: Female Power and Authority in Northern Igboland, 1900-1960 was published by Heinemann in 2005. Professor 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 all of colonial Nigeria, and arguably British Africa. The writing was funded by a generous grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. To listen to two interviews on The Female King, see Lisa Heinemann of the New Books Network and Peter Limb and Peter Alegi of Africa Past and Present podcast.
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 twice directed an NEH “Africa in World History” Institute for high school teachers.
Dr. Achebe served as expert consultant for The History Channel/A&E Network Corporation’s “Roots,” the miniseries remake; 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.
Dr. Achebe advices and mentors numerous Ph.D. students and welcomes inquires from new students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in African History and Comparative Black History.