Faculty - Sean Stilwell

Young Stilwell Photo in Nigeria

Sean Stilwell, Professor

  • Ph.D., York, Can. 1999
  • C.V.
Area of expertise


Contact Information
Email: Sean Stilwell

Office Hours, Location and Class Schedule

Sean Stilwell joined the University of Vermont in 1999 after receiving a Ph.D. from York University. He is a specialist in African history, with a specific focus on the history of pre-colonial and colonial West Africa, the history of Nigeria and Hausaland, the history of slavery and the slave trade, and the history of medicine, disease and epidemics in colonial Africa. He teaches a wide variety of courses at UVM, covering the continent from c. 10,000 BCE to the present. His regular upper level offerings include courses on the History of Nigeria, West Africa, and Southern Africa as well as a seminar on comparative slavery. Stilwell conducts research in two major fields. First, he writes on the history of slavery in Africa. He is author of Paradoxes of Power: The Kano 'Mamluks' and Male Royal Slavery in the Sokoto Caliphate, 1804-1903, published with Heinemann's Social History of Africa Series, which explores the history of slave soldiers and officials in the Sokoto Caliphate (now Northern Nigeria). He is currently at work on a new interpretative history of slavery in Africa entitled Slavery and Slaving in African History that is under contract with Cambridge University Press. Second, Stilwell is pursuing research on the history of epidemics, medicine and urban planning in colonial Nigeria. The monograph will - eventually - be titled Pestilence and Planning: The Plague, Public Health and Colonial Urbanism in Lagos, 1903-1960. Stilwell is also co-editing a book with Juanita de Barros for the Harriet Tubman Series of Africa World Press entitled Public Health and Colonialism in the British Imperial World and is working away on articles related to water rate riots in Lagos and the Cerebrospinal Meningitis epidemics in Northern Nigeria between 1903 and 1960. Professor Stilwell currently directs the African Studies Program at UVM. Other than things African, Professor Stilwell spends (too) much of his time obsessing about the Boston Red Sox.

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