Category Archives: History

Call for Papers: Colonial Histories of Plant-Based Pharmaceuticals

Image courtesy of the Wellcome Collection: The Munsong cinchona plantation, Kalimpong, Bengal, India: a woman in traditional Bengali dress holds a circular tray of cinchona seeds (the plant of which is used to produce the anti-malarial drug quinine), which are planted by the Bengali man next to her. Photograph, 1905/1920 (https://wellcomecollection.org/works/u3vcd8uy).

History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals, the official journal of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (AIHP), is pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue: “Colonial Histories of Plant-Based Pharmaceuticals.” The issue will appear as volume 63, number 2 of HoPP (Winter 2021). Guest editors for the special issue will be Dr. Geoff Bil and Dr. Jaipreet Virdi, both of the University of Delaware.

Submission Guidelines

To submit a proposal for the special issue, please send a 200-word abstract and 1-page CV to guest editors Geoff Bil (gbil@udel.edu) and Jaipreet Virdi (jvirdi@udel.edu) by January 31, 2021. Invitations for manuscript submission of 8,000 words will be sent by February 6, 2021, with first drafts due April 15, 2021, for peer review. Please consult the full HoPP author guidelines when preparing manuscripts.

Call for Papers

Plants and their medicinal properties have been used for healing since time immemorial. Plant-based pharmacopoeias have generated local, regional, and global systems of production, distribution, and consumption; defined trade relations across borders; and even accompanied exchanges of bodies and technologies. Scholars have examined, for instance, how the circulation and consumption of plants and pharmaceuticals were generated within deeply inequitable systems of colonization, with the accompanying exploitation, suppression, and erasure of ancestral knowledges. Within these contexts, the very definition of plants as medicines—as opposed to foods, taxonomical specimens, symbols or ornaments—is frequently unstable, shaped by language, culture, empire, and ecological context, and subject to contingent understandings of the body, physiology, illness, and treatment. While the rise of synthetic and chemical pharmaceuticals has inadvertently positioned herbalist approaches as “alternative” healing systems in the Western world, phytomedicines have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years as complementary forms of treatment, even while they constitute 80 percent of pharmacopoeias in the Global South. Increased demand, coupled with ecological destruction wrought by climate change, have furthermore depleted crucial plant resources, thereby threatening Indigenous ways of life. 

What are the cultural and epistemological tensions between plant-based pharmaceuticals and synthetic biomedicines? How have medicinal plants figured in colonial relationships? This special issue of History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals aims to reframe histories of phytomedicines through intersecting approaches from the history of medicine, pharmacy, and pharmacology with postcolonial, Indigenous, and gender studies, histories of science and empire, labor history, environmental history, and related fields.

We seek papers on themes including, but not limited to, the following: 

  • Colonial histories of medicinal plants as examined through Indigenous and local histories
  • “Medical quackery” reframed through new histories of plant-based pharmaceuticals 
  • Workers and labor histories, including intersections with disability and industry
  • Gender, sexuality, and medicinal plant knowledges
  • Global and/or imperial consumption and distribution patterns 
  • Phytomedicines and colonial encounters in the Global South 
  • Plant-based approaches for chronic diseases, disability, and health maintenance
  • Effects of climate change and ecological factors on medicinal plant resources
  • Bioprospecting, patenting, and anti-colonial resistance
  • Medicinal plants in translation

UW Press book receives NEH Open Book Award

Cover image shows a portrait of Sofia wearing a brown fur hat, green jacket, yellow collared shirt, and maroon tiee.

We are pleased to share that Citizen Countess: Sofia Panina and the Fate of Revolutionary Russia by Adele Lindenmeyr is the recipient of a National Endowment of the Humanities Open Book Award, a special initiative for scholarly presses to make recent monographs freely available online.

“I am very grateful to both the University of Wisconsin Press and the NEH. This grant ensures that my story of one of the 20th century’s most remarkable women will reach a wider readership,” says Lindenmeyr.

Books on a wide range of topics, written with previous support from one of many NEH fellowship programs, will be made available through this award. Per the organization, “During a time when so many of us are doing research remotely, the value of digital editions like these that can be freely accessed from anywhere in the world is more apparent than ever. All awardees will receive $5,500 per book to support digitization, marketing, and a stipend for the author.”

Our warmest congratulations to Adele, and all involved!

New First Book Prize Honors Work of George L. Mosse

The University of Wisconsin Press and the George L. Mosse Program in History are pleased to announce the George L. Mosse First Book Prize. The prize honors Mosse’s commitment to both scholarship and mentoring new generations of historians. Winning books will be published as part of the George L. Mosse Series in the History of European Culture, Sexuality, and Ideas, and the winning author will receive a $5,000 prize. An honorable mention winner may also be selected to receive a $1,000 prize and publication.

Skye Doney, director of the George L. Mosse Program and Mosse series editor, says, “Mosse’s pioneering work set new trends in the field of European history. Our goal with the Mosse First Book Prize is to identify and support new voices in these scholarly discussions.”

The prize aims to support and engage early-career scholars writing on topics related to the history of modern European culture, sexuality, or ideas. It will be open to original, previously unpublished monographs of historical scholarship. Only English-language works (whether written in English or translated) will be considered. Proposals for the inaugural prize will be accepted between January 15 and March 15, 2021. All submissions will be reviewed by the press and series advisers, and a short list of no more than three finalists will be chosen by April 15, 2021. The finalists’ manuscripts will be read by a jury of expert readers, who will select the winning project.

Nathan MacBrien, UW Press editor in chief, says, “In addition to being one of the great cultural historians of the latter twentieth century, George L. Mosse was an inspiring mentor of young scholars. The Mosse prize continues that tradition of support, while further establishing UW Press as an important outlet for work in modern European cultural history.”

Books published under the auspices of the Mosse series join a prestigious list of more than two dozen titles published by notable scholars. The first three were published in 2003—Collected Memories by Christopher R. Browning, Mosse’s own Nazi Culture, and the edited volume What History Tells. Forthcoming projects include titles on the struggle to act in the face of the Holocaust, masculinity in Italian fascist culture, and early twentieth-century pacifism. Additionally, UW Press and the Mosse Program have embarked upon the reissuing of Mosse’s Collected Works, with two titles published to date.

About the University of Wisconsin Press
The University of Wisconsin Press is a not-for-profit publisher of books and journals. With nearly 1,500 titles and over 8,000 peer-reviewed articles in print, its mission embodies the Wisconsin Idea by publishing work of distinction that serves the people of Wisconsin and the world.

About the George L. Mosse Series in the History of European Culture, Sexuality, and Ideas
The Mosse series promotes the vibrant international collaboration and community that historian George L. Mosse created during his lifetime by publishing major innovative works by outstanding scholars in European cultural and intellectual history.

About George L. Mosse
A legendary scholar, teacher, and mentor, Mosse (1918–1999) joined the Department of History at UW–Madison in 1955. He was an early leader in the study of modern European culture, fascism, and the history of sexuality and masculinity. In 1965 Mosse was honored for his exceptional teaching by being named UW’s first John C. Bascom Professor. He remained famous among students and colleagues for his popular and engaging lectures, which were often standing-room only. A Jewish refugee from prewar Germany, Mosse was appointed a visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1969 and spent the final decades of his career traveling frequently between Madison and Jerusalem.

University of Wisconsin Press Welcomes New Journal for 2021: History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals

The University of Wisconsin Press is pleased to announce a new partnership with the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (AIHP). The institute’s journal, History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals (formerly Pharmacy in History, 1959–2020), will be published by the Press beginning in January 2021. AIHP is located at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy.

AIHP executive director Dennis Birke says, “We look forward to working with the University of Wisconsin Press. With their capabilities and publishing expertise we can continue to place the highest priority on serving our members and community, while exploring new opportunities to broaden the reach of our journal.”

History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals publishes original scholarly articles about the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals, broadly defined, including (but not limited to) the history of: pharmacy practice, pharmacy science, pharmacy education, drug regulation, social and cultural aspects of drugs and medicines, the pharmaceutical industry—including the history of pharmaceuticals, drugs, and therapeutics—and facets of the related medical sciences.

History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals publishes two issues per year, and its online content can be found on JSTOR. The title joins the Press’s eleven other peer reviewed academic journals in the humanities and social sciences.

Toni Gunnison, Journals Manager at the University of Wisconsin Press, states, “We are thrilled to add this dynamic and well-established journal to our publishing program. We look forward to partnering with the AIHP, a fellow University of Wisconsin organization, to disseminate scholarship in support of the Wisconsin Idea.”

Biography and Economics in African History

The most recent issue of African Economic History, a special issue entitled “Biography and Economics,” is now available. The lead editor for this issue, Paul Lovejoy, explains his choice of theme:

The inspiration for this special issue on Biography and Economics was the realization that economic history often does not focus on individuals and what their personal testimonies can tell us about economics and economic relationships. The issue brings together five articles that address this theme in different ways; the first through the lens of Philip Quaque on the Gold Coast in the eighteenth century; the second the case of the Ologoudou family on the coast of the Bight of Benin; third through biographical perspectives on enslavement in the upper Guinea coast; fourth, through the memories of indentured women in Natal; and lastly through the autobiographical details found in the wills of freed Africans in Brazil.

This was the final issue for Lovejoy, who is now retired after more than 30 years of editing African Economic History. Browse the table of contents on Project MUSE.

African Economic History Welcomes New Editors

Following the retirement of longtime editor Paul E. Lovejoy, African Economic History has appointed two new editors. Earlier this year, George Bob-Milliar and Chétima Melchisedek joined the existing editorial team of Mariana Candido, Toyin Falola, and Toby Green. Together, the editors recently launched a social media presence for African Economic History, posting about current events related to African economies as well as important research in the field. You can follow AEH on Facebook and Twitter. Read on to learn more about the journal’s new editors.


George M. Bob-Milliar is a senior lecturer in the Department of History and Political Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, one of the most prestigious public universities in Ghana. He joined the faculty of KNUST in August 2013 and has been involved in research, teaching, and mentoring of students at all levels. He is currently serving as the director of KNUST’s Centre for Cultural and African Studies (CeCASt). In 2012, Bob-Milliar received his PhD from the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, the oldest center for African Studies on the continent. Trained as an interdisciplinary scholar, his research lies at the intersection of history, political ethnography, and development studies. He has published in the preeminent journals in his field of specialization. Bob-Milliar has been a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge, Uganda’s Makerere University, and the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), as well as a guest lecturer at the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany. In 2010, he received the inaugural African Author Prize for the best article published in African Affairs by an author based at an African institution, and in 2012 he was awarded a prize for his contribution to research on African policy issues from the Centre for International Governance Innovation. He sits on the editorial boards of African Affairs, African Review of Economics & Finance, and the Journal of Political Economy and Development.

Chétima Melchisedek is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at York University. Before coming to York, Melchisedek was a senior lecturer at the University of Maroua; a fellow at the Nantes Institute for Advanced Studies; the Gordon Henderson Fellow at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa; and a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for African Studies at the University of Basel. He earned a PhD in history from the Université Laval and a master’s degree from the University of Ngaoundéré in Cameroon. Melchisedek is a member of the editorial advisory board of the Canadian Journal of African Studies. His articles have appeared in the Historical Journal, African Studies Review, Canadian Journal of African Studies, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Cambridge Archaeological Journal, and Afrique Contemporaine, among others. His article in Cahiers d’Études Africaines (2015) was awarded the Prize for the Best Paper on Central Africa by the Central Africa Studies Association, while his paper in Africa Spectrum (2018) won the UFS/AS Young African Scholar Award. Melchisedek guest edited a special issue of the Canadian Journal of African Studies on “Boko Haram beyond the Media” (Volume 54 Number 2, 2020) and is currently co-editing, with Paul Lovejoy, a volume on Boko Haram and Political Distancing (Trenton: Africa World Press, 2021). Chétima is an affiliate member of the African Academy of Sciences and a founding member of the Cameroon Academy for Young Scientists.

Luso-Brazilian Review Is Now Free to Read on Project MUSE

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, volumes 41–56 (2004–present) of Luso-Brazilian Review are now freely available until May 31, 2020, on Project MUSE. In opening content, the journal joins a wider initiative led by Project MUSE to provide free access to many books and journals, in order to support scholars as they transition to remote teaching and learning. You can find a complete list of free resources on MUSE here.


Luso-Brazilian Review

Luso-Brazilian Review publishes interdisciplinary scholarship on Portuguese, Brazilian, and Lusophone African cultures, with special emphasis on scholarly works in literature, history, and the social sciences. Each issue of the Luso-Brazilian Review includes articles and book reviews, which may be written in either English or Portuguese.

Journal Editor Receives Book Prize from the British Academy

Toby Green, Senior Lecturer in Lusophone African History and Culture at King’s College London and a co-editor of the UW Press journal African Economic History, was recently awarded the British Academy’s 2019 Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for his book A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2019). The Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize honors a non-fiction book that promotes global cultural understanding.

A Fistful of Shells describes the relationship between West Africa and European colonial powers as it evolved through the growth of the slave trade. Prior to the fifteenth century, gold-rich African kingdoms and European economies had been on equal terms, but Green shows through six case studies how European merchants created an imbalance by importing large quantities of objects used as currency in African kingdoms, such as cowrie shells and copper rings, to exchange for gold and slave laborers. This influx of currency created inflation and lead to economic instability and social upheaval in West African societies. The book then traces political developments that led to a revolutionary nineteenth century in Africa.

In an interview on the British Academy’s blog, Green emphasizes the importance of fieldwork to his project and for anyone studying the history of West Africa. “The problem with using just written materials . . . is that in the end you will reproduce the perspectives of the authors. In this case, they were white male slave traders and that’s going to give you a very lopsided view – which is what traditionally has happened.” To avoid this pitfall, Green’s research supplemented written narratives with archival research, oral histories, art, archaeology, and letters. The book is the culmination of over twenty years of research.

To learn more about West African economic history, read an excerpt from the book, and browse the latest African Economic History, a special issue entitled “Colonial Economic History in West Africa” co-edited by Green and George M. Bob-Milliar.

Thirty Years of Editing African Economic History

By Mariana Candido, Toyin Falola, and Toby Green, co-editors, African Economic History

African Economic History

African Economic History salutes Professor Paul E. Lovejoy for the thirty-plus years of service he has given to the journal. In that time, Paul has performed wondrous feats in maintaining the vitality of a discipline which is fundamentally relevant to so many areas of African Studies, but which had been allowed to wither on the academic vine. The continued existence of the journal is a standing example of Professor Lovejoy’s outstanding service to the discipline of economic history and the field of African history in general. We will miss his contributions and editorial oversight so very much, but are also so grateful for all that he has done.

With Paul Lovejoy’s retirement as an editor, we are delighted to announce the appointment of two new editors: George Bob-Milliar, of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and Melchisedek Chétima, Banting Fellow at York University.

The journal is also pleased to announce that we are now accepting submissions in Portuguese. This opens the journal to a wider range of potential contributors in Africa and Brazil,  from which we are very keen to see more submissions. We are pleased to join African Studies Review and the Journal of West African History in taking this step. If you are interested in having your work considered for publication in African Economic History, please see our submission guidelines.

Colonial Economic History in West Africa

African Economic History

A special issue of African Economic History, “Colonial Economic History in West Africa: The Gold Coast and Gambia in Comparative Perspective,” reconsiders the comparative place of economic frameworks in British colonies in West Africa. One of the issue’s important aims is to emphasize the difference in divergent spaces, between the “profitable” colony of the Gold Coast and the “economic drain” of The Gambia colony. Edited by George M. Bob-Milliar and Toby Green, the issue is also characterized by new and distinctive archival research from archives in the countries considered; this empirical detail places the economic impact of colonialism in an important new light.

Browse the table of contents and read the editors’ introduction, freely available on Project MUSE.