Portrait (head shot photo)
Walter C. Rucker
Professor of History
Degree: Ph.D., California, Riverside, 1999
Additional Degree(s): B.A., Morehouse College, 1992
Rutgers : At Rutgers since 2014
Specialty: African-American History: History of Atlantic Cultures and the African Diaspora
Office: 114 Van Dyck Hall
Phone: 848-932-8355



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 (2005), 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). 



  • “American Slavery and Resistance,” in Aaron Astor and Thomas Buchanan, eds., Slavery and the United States: An Historiographical Approach (Kent State University Press, expected 2018).
  • "The Black Atlantic and the African Diaspora," in John Corrigan, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion in America (Oxford University Press, 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, 2017), 58-80.
  • “‘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. 
  • "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.


  • “Marking Our Cultural Exchanges: Historicizing Intra-African Socio-Cultural Matrices in the Black Atlantic World,” Exchanging Our Country Marks @ 20 Plenary, The Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora, Seville, Spain, November 2017
  • “‘Gold Coast Diasporas: Identity, Culture, and Power,” Department of History, Smith College, Northampton, MA, October 2017.
  • “From Coromantee to Maroon to Jamaican: Grandy Nanny and the Making of Modern Jamaican Identity,” The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Hempstead, New York, June 2017.
  • “‘Earth from a Dead Negro’s Grave’: Ritual Technologies and Mortuary Realms in the Eighteenth-Century Gold Coast Diaspora,” Ghana Studies Association, Cape Coast, Ghana, July 2016.
  • “Obeah, Oaths, and Ancestors: Ritual Technologies and Mortuary Realms in the Gold Coast Diaspora,” The Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora, Charleston, November 2015.


  • Black Atlantic Crosscurrents: Revolutionary Spaces in the Diasporic Imaginary (book manuscript)
  • The Birth of a Notion: A Century of Racial Violence and Mass Incarceration in America (book manuscript)



  • 512:103: "Development of the U.S. I"
  • 506:225: "The Black Atlantic World"
  • 506:328: "Atlantic Cultures, 1500-1800"
  • 959:345: "Women’s Rights and Community Development in Ghana"
  • 506:401: "History Seminar: The Atlantic Slave Trade in History and Memory"


  • 510:553: "Readings in African American History"
  • 510:563: "Colloquium in African American History"
  • 510:500: "The Historian's Craft"


  • Treasurer & Executive Board Member, Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (2015-19)
  • Director, Women’s Rights and Community Development Service-Learning Program in Ghana (2015-16)
  • Chair, Wesley-Logan Book Prize Committee (African Diaspora History), American Historical Association (2014-15)


  • African Studies Association
  • American Historical Association
  • Association for the Study of African American Life and History (Lifetime)
  • Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (Lifetime)
  • Ghana Studies Association