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Wunyabari Maloba, shown here delivering a lecture on campus in 2017, is a noted scholar of African nationalism.
Wunyabari (W.O.) Maloba, chair of the Department of Africana Studies
at the University of Delaware, has been appointed the Edward L.
Ratledge Professor of Africana Studies and History, effective Feb. 7.
“Professor Maloba has a long and distinguished career as a scholar
and is internationally known for his work in African nationalism,” said
John A. Pelesko, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “In addition,
he’s been a champion and leader of Africana studies at the University
of Delaware. He has served as the interim chair and then chair of that
department for the past eight years. He is truly deserving of this
Maloba, who earned his doctorate at Stanford and joined the UD
faculty as an assistant professor of history in 1988, was the founding
director of the African Studies Program from 1992-2002. He has been a
professor of history, Black American studies (the former name of the
Africana Studies Department) and women’s studies (now women and gender
He served the University as assistant vice president for affirmative
action and multicultural programs and as chair of the President’s
Commission to Promote Racial and Cultural Diversity, stepping down from
those positions in 2009 to return to the faculty and continue his
research and teaching.
A recognized scholar of African nationalism, revolutionary movements,
women’s history and Africana studies, Maloba is the author of four
major books, including Mau Mau and Kenya: An Analysis of a Peasant
Revolt and African Women in Revolution. His most recent books are
Kenyatta and Britain: An Account of Political Transformation, 1929-1963,
and Anatomy of Neo-Colonialism in Kenya: British Imperialism and
Kenyatta, 1963-1978. The two volumes, published in 2017 by Palgrave
Macmillan, have been described as the first systematic political history
of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s founding president, and the first serious
political biography of him in 40 years. The books explore Kenyatta’s
life as an anti-colonial activist and as prime minister and then
president and his linkage to post-colonial imperialism. Maloba is also
the author of numerous scholarly articles, chapters and conference
Maloba, who has led the Department of Africana Studies since 2014,
has overseen its name change from Black American Studies as well as its
expansion in size and curriculum. The past year has been especially
successful, he said.
“We’ve had a tremendous year,” he said. “We’ve changed the
curriculum, and we’re looking to hire some new faculty. Also, our new
master’s degree program started this academic year.”
In addition, he said, current events and such issues as the Black
Lives Matter movement have prompted increased interest among students to
learn more about Africana studies. Students, he said, “gravitate to our
classes” as they look for ways to discuss and understand issues
involving racism and other problems that are in the news today.
“These are questions that are confounding society,” Maloba said. “And
our department is a place that students can come and engage with our
faculty and each other to explore them. This is what we do. We measure
our success by how many students come through our doors from all over
Maloba plans to step down as department chair and begin a sabbatical
at the end of 2022 in order to focus on his continued research and
writing, which requires travel to the United Kingdom and elsewhere to
examine documents. He has two book projects that are underway, with one
expected to be published by the end of the year.
The Edward L. Ratledge Professorship, which was created as part of
the effort to increase the number of named professorships across the
University, is named in honor of Ed Ratledge.
Ratledge, a former faculty member in what was then the College of
Human Services, Education and Public Policy (CHEP), performed many
statistical studies for public policy and state entities. A variety of
UD faculty members in numerous disciplines have held the Ratledge
Professorship since its creation in 2005.
Article by Ann Manser; file photo by Lane McLaughlin
Published March 25, 2022
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