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Faculty Photo
Photo Credit: Nick Romanenko
Front row: (L-R) Nancy Sinkoff, Paul Hanebrink, James Delbourgo, Rudy Bell, Paul Israel, Paul G. E. Clemens
2nd: Judith Surkis, Matt Matsuda, Carolyn Brown, Johanna Schoen, Walter Rucker, Marisa Fuentes, Bayo Holsey, Samantha Kelly, Toby C. Jones
3rd: Jackson Lears, Seth Koven, Gail Triner, Ann Fabian, Barbara M. Cooper, Temma Kaplan, Melissa Feinberg
Last: Louis Masur, Jamie Pietruska, Mark Wasserman, David Greenberg, Alastair Bellany, Steven Reinert, Deborah Gray White, Norman Markowitz, John W. Chambers, Virginia Yans, Leah DeVun, Camilla Townsend, Sarolta Takacs, Don Roden



Walter C. Rucker

Associate Professor

Ph.D., California, Riverside, 1999

B.A., Morehouse College, 1992

At Rutgers since 2014

114 Van Dyck Hall
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A specialist in early Atlantic African diaspora and African American history, my research focuses on the generative nexus between slave resistance and culture in the early-modern Western Hemisphere. My first book, The River Flows On: Black Resistance, Culture, and Identity Formation in Early America (2006), tracks diasporic African identity formation through examinations of resistance efforts in colonial British North America and the antebellum U.S. My second book, Gold Coast Diasporas: Identity, Culture, and Power (2015), analyzes the origin and reinvention of “Coromantee” and “(A)mina” as neo-African ethnicities in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century circum-Caribbean. The book assesses the socio-political scripts, cultural technologies, and public performances fashioned by enslaved Gold Coast Africans as part of an emerging and non-Western abolitionist discourse.

In addition, I have published a range of book chapters and articles appearing in the Journal of Negro History, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Scholar as well as two co-edited encyclopedia projects—The Encyclopedia of American Race Riots (2006) and The Encyclopedia of African American History (2010). Before my arrival at Rutgers, I taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Ohio State University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.



  • "The Black Atlantic and the African Diaspora," in John Corrigan, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion in America (Oxford University Press, expected 2018).
  • "'Earth from a Dead Negro's Grave': Ritual Technologies and Mortuary Realms in the Eighteenth-Century Gold Coast Diaspora," in Rebecca Shumway and Trevor Getz, eds., Slavery and Its Legacy in Ghana and the Diaspora (Bloomsbury, expected 2017).
  • "'Only Draw in Your Countrymen': Akan Culture and Community in Colonial New York City," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History (2010): 76-118.
  • "Unpopular Sovereignty: African American Reaction and Resistance to the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act," in John Wunder and Joann Ross, eds., The Nebraska-Kansas Act of 1854 (University of Nebraska Press, 2008), 129-158. 
  • "Memories of 'Homeland': Historical and Literary Representations of Enslavement and Acculturation in the Diaspora," in Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Paul Lovejoy, and David Trotman, eds., Africa and Trans-Atlantic Memories (Africa World Press, 2008), 23-34.
  • "From Black Nadir to Brown v. Board: Empowerment and Education in Black Georgian Communities, 1865-1954," (with Sabriya Jubilee.) Negro Educational Review (2007): 151-168.
  • "Crusader in Exile: Robert F. Williams and the Internationalized Struggle for Black Freedom in America," Black Scholar (2006): 19-34.
  • "African Americans and an Atlantic World Culture," in Alton Hornsby, Jr., ed., The Blackwell Companion to African American History (Blackwell Publishers, 2005), 235-254.
  • "The African and European Slave Trades," in Alton Hornsby, Jr., ed., The Blackwell Companion to African American History (Blackwell Publishers, 2005), 48-66.
  • "'A Negro Nation Within the Nation': W. E. B. Du Bois and the Creation of a Revolutionary Pan-Africanist Tradition," Black Scholar (2002): 37-46.
  • "Conjure, Magic, and Power: The Influence of Afro-Atlantic Religious Practices on Slave Resistance and Rebellion," Journal of Black Studies (2001): 85-104.
  • "'I Will Gather All Nations': Resistance, Culture, and Pan-African Collaboration in Denmark Vesey’s South Carolina," Journal of Negro History (2001): 132-147.


  • Black Atlantic Crosscurrents: Revolutionary Spaces in the Diasporic Imaginary (book manuscript)
  • Culture and Resistance: A Global History of African Americans, 2 vols. (multi-authored textbook under contract with Wadsworth-Cengage)



  • 512:103: "Development of the U.S. I"
  • 506:225: "The Black Atlantic World"
  • 506:328: "Atlantic Cultures, 1500-1800"
  • 506:401: "History Seminar: The Atlantic Slave Trade in History and Memory"


  • 510:553: "Readings in African-American History"
  • 510:500: "The Historian's Craft"


  • Treasurer & Executive Board Member, Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (2015-Present)
  • Director, Women’s Rights and Community Service Learning in Ghana Program (2015)
  • Chair, Wesley-Logan Book Prize Committee (African Diaspora History), American Historical Association (2014-15)


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