Rachel Jean-Baptiste received her A.B. in History and in French from Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D. in history from Stanford University. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Chicago where she teaches courses in social and cultural history of Africa, gender and sexuality studies, and the African diaspora. Her book, A Free Town: Marriage, Sexuality, and Urban Life in 20th Century Libreville Gabon under contract with Ohio University Press, examines two crucial processes of historical change in twentieth century Africa: the expansion of urbanization and transformations in gender roles in domestic life. The book traces the centrality of experiences and contestations over modes of marriage and sex to the construction of town life. She has published articles in the Journal of the History of Sexuality, the Journal of Women's History, the Journal of African History, and Cahier d'Etudes Africaines. Her current book project focuses on mixed race communities and racial ideologies in late colonial French West and Equatorial Africa.
Lorelle Semley received her BS in French from Georgetown University, her Master’s in African Studies from Yale and her PhD in African History from Northwestern University. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the College of the Holy Cross where she teaches courses in African history, the African diaspora, and gender studies. Her book Mother Is Gold, Father Is Glass: Gender and Colonialism in a Yoruba Town published with Indiana University Press in 2011, examines the concept of public motherhood in West Africa and Brazil from the period of the slave trade through the rise and fall of French colonialism in West Africa. She also has written on memory and the Atlantic slave trade and on women and Islam in Africa. The recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, her current book project on black citizenship during French colonial empire has been supported by a Mellon Summer Research Grant, the Harvard University International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World, the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, the Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
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