Portrait (head shot photo)
Barbara M. Cooper
Professor of History
Degree: Ph.D., Boston University; B.A., St. John’s College (Annapolis)
Rutgers : At Rutgers Since 2001
Specialty: History of West Africa; History of Religion; Women's and Gender History; History of Health
Office: 003 Van Dyck Hall
Phone: 848-932-8525

Mailing address:
Department of History
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
16 Seminary Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1108



  • 01:506:226 Contemporary Challenges in International Health
  • 01:506:401 History Seminar: Exploring the History of Emotions
  • 01:508:220 Ancient Africa
  • 01:508:222 Modern Africa
  • 01:508:224 Women and Gender in African History
  • 01:508:226 War and Violence in Africa
  • 01:508:326 Islam in African History
  • 01:508:328 History of Health and Healing in Africa


  • 16:510:503 Africa in World History
  • 16:510:539 Colloquium in Women's & Gender History
  • 16:510:560 Readings in Women, Gender and Sexuality


  • Countless Blessings: A History of Childbirth and Reproduction in the Sahel (Indiana University Press, forthcoming Spring 2019)
  • Transforming Africa's Religious Landscapes: The Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), Past and Present Co-edited by Barbara Cooper, Gary Corwin, Tibebe Eshete, Musa Gaiya, Tim Geysbeek, & Shobana Shankar (Red Sea Press forthcoming Fall 2018)
  • La honte au Sahel. Co-edited with Catherine Baroin (Sepia, 2018)
  • Evangelical Christians in the Muslim Sahel. (Indiana University Press, 2006)
  • Marriage in Maradi: Gender and Culture in a Hausa Society in Niger, 1900-1989. Portsmouth: Heinemann (Social History of Africa Series, 1997)

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Representing Adolescent Sexuality in the Sahel,” in Writing through the Visual and Virtual: Inscribing Language, Literature, and Culture in Francophone Africa and the Caribbean edited by Renee Larrier and Ousseina Alidou, London: Lexington Books, 2015, 113-122.
  • “American Missions in Wartime French West Africa: Travails of the Sudan Interior Mission in Niger,” in Africa and World War II, Carolyn Brown, Judith Byfield, Timothy Parsons and Ahmad Sikainga (eds.). Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2015, 359-382.
  • “De quoi la crise démographique au Sahel est-elle le nom?” In Crises et chuchotements au Sahel Vincent Bonnecase and Julien Brachet (eds.), Politique africaine #130, June 2013.
  • “Women and Gender,” in Oxford Handbook of Modern African History, John Parker and Richard Reid (eds.). Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013, 338-58.
  • “The Implications of Reproductive Politics for Religious Competition in Niger,” in Christianity and Public Culture in Africa, Harri Englund (ed.). Athens: Ohio University Press, 2011. 89-108.
  • “Kindred Concerns: the Vernacular and Contemporary Media in Africa,” Journal of Women’s History, 22 (3) 2010, 190-94.
  • “Engendering a Hausa Vernacular Christian Practice,” in Being and Becoming Hausa: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Anne Haour and Benedetta Rossi (eds.). Leiden: Brill, 2010. 257-77.
  • “Injudicious Intrusions: Chiefly Authority and Islamic Judicial Practice in Maradi, Niger,” in Muslim Family Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa, Richard Roberts and Shamil Jeppie and Ebrahim Moosa (eds.). Amsterdam University Press, 2010, 183-218.
  • “Secular States, Muslim Law and Islamic Religious Culture: Gender Implications of Legal Struggles in Hybrid Legal Systems in Contemporary West Africa, » Droit et Cultures, 01 July 2010, Issue 59: 97-120
  • “Chronic nutritional crisis and the trope of the bad mother,” in Jean-Herve Jezequel and Xavier Crombe eds., A Not-So Natural Disaster: Niger 2005 (Columbia University Press 2009)
  • "La rhétorique de la ‘mauvaise mère’," in Xavier Crombé and Jean-Hervé Jézéquel (eds.), Niger 2005 Une catastrophe si naturelle, Karthala, 2007, 199-226.
  • “Oral Sources and the Challenge of African History,” in Writing African History, John Philips (ed.), University of Rochester Press, 2005, 191-215.
  • “Anatomy of a Riot: The Social Imaginary, Single Women, and Religious Violence in Niger,” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, Vol. 37, No. 2/3 (2003), pp. 467-512
  • “The Strength in the Song: Muslim Personhood, Audible Capital and Hausa Women’s Performance of the Hajj,” Social Text, (60) 1999: 87-109.
    Rpt. in Gendered Modernities: Ethnographic Perspectives, edited by Dorothy Hodgson, Palgrave, 2001, 79-104.
    Rpt. In The Anthropology of Islam Reader edited by Jens Kreinath. Routledge, 2011, 198-214.
  • “Gender, Movement, and History: Social and Spatial Transformations in 20th Century Maradi, Niger,”  Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 15, 1997:195-221.
    Rpt in French as “Le genre sexuel, le mouvement et l’histoire: transformations sociales et spatiales au XXP siècle Maradi au Niger,” translated by Denise Ganderton and reprinted in Géographies Anglo-Saxonnes: Tendances contemporaines, edited by Jean-François Staszak et al, Belin, 2001, 80-94.
  • “The politics of difference and women's associations in Niger: of ‘prostitutes,’ the public, and politics,” Signs, Jul 1995, Vol. 20 (4): 851-882
    Rpt. in “Wicked” Women and the Reconfiguration of Gender in Africa, edited by Sheryl McCurdy and Dorothy Hodgson, Heinemann, 2001, 255-273.
  •  “Women's Worth and Wedding Gift Exchange in Maradi, Niger, 1907-89,” The Journal of African History, Vol. 36, No. 1 (1995): 121-140
  • “Reflections on Slavery, Seclusion and Female Labor in the Maradi Region of Niger in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” The Journal of African History, Vol. 35, No. 1 (1994): 61-78
  • “Cloth, Commodity Production, and Social Capital: Women in Maradi, Niger 1890-1989,” African Economic History, No. 21 (1993): 51-71

Co-Authored Articles

  • Barbara Cooper, Gary Corwin, Tibebe Eshete, Musa Gaiya, Tim Geysbeek and Shobana Shankar, “Introduction,” in Transforming Africa’s Religious Landscapes: The Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), Past and Present edited by Barbara Cooper, Gary Corwin, Tibebe Eshete, Musa Gaiya, Tim Geysbeek and Shobana Shankar, Trenton: Africa World Press, 2018, 287-312.
  • Catherine Baroin and Barbara Cooper, “La honte, introduction au dossier,” in La Honte au Sahel edited by Catherine Baroin and Barbara Cooper, Paris: Sépia, 2018, 9-20.
  • Julie Livingston, Keith Wailoo, and Barbara M. Cooper, “Vaccination as Governance: HPV Skepticism in the United States and Africa, and the North-South Divide” in Keith Wailoo, Julie Livingston, Steven Epstein, and Robert Aronowitz, Three Shots at Prevention: The HPV Vaccine and the Politics of Medicine’s Simple Solutions (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010) 231-53


  • Melville J. Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association for the best book published in 2006 (Evangelical Christians in the Muslim Sahel)
  • Finalist for the Melvin J. Herskovits Award of the African Studies Association for the best book published in 1997 (Marriage in Maradi: Gender and Culture in a Hausa Society in Niger, 1900-1989)
  • Nominated by the Journal of African History for the 1995 Berkshire Conference on Women annual article prize for “Women’s worth and wedding gift exchange in Maradi, Niger, 1907-1989.”


  • American Historical Association
  • African Studies Association
  • West Africa Research Association