Assistant Professor Nate Plageman
B-108 Tribble Hall; 758-4318
B.A. Saint Olaf College 2000
M.A. Indiana University-Bloomington 2003
Ph.D. Indiana University-Bloomington 2008
Wake Forest University. Assistant Professor (2008-present)
Click here for the complete CV.
- “Colonial Ambition, Common Sense Thinking, and the Making of Takoradi Harbor, Gold Coast, c. 1920-1930,” History in Africa (2013)
- Highlife Saturday Night: Popular Music and Social Change in Urban Ghana (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012).
- “Isaiah Kehinde Dairo, MBE”, “Prince Nico Mbarga”, “E.T. Mensah”, and “Kobbina Okai”, in Dictionary of African Biography, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Emmanuel Akyeampong (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
- “Accra is Changing, Isn’t It?: Urban Infrastructure, Independence, and Nation in the Gold Coast’s Daily Graphic, 1954-57” International Journal for African Historical Studies 43.1 (2010): 137-159.
- For a complete list of publications, click c.v.
- HST 105 Africa in World History
While popular imagination suggests that the African continent has been isolated from history and historical events, this course examines Africa and Africans as central to the development of the wider world. Throughout the duration of the semester, we will analyze how Africans have influenced and were influenced by global events, particularly in the regions of the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, and expanding Atlantic World. Major themes include the emergence and interrelations of early civilizations, the spread of Christianity and Islam, expanding networks of economic exchange, and migration. The course places major emphasis on slavery, the Trans-Atlantic, Trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trades, and the creation of the African Diaspora. After establishing Africa’s centrality to the emergence of the modern world, the class examines how Africans and peoples of African descent experienced and shaped major historical events and periods of the recent past.
- FYS African Expressive Culture as History
This course uses a number of African popular expressive forms—such as music, theater, art, sport, and clothing—to reveal local views and interpretations of historical events during the twentieth century. Historical sources often relay the perspective of empowered actors (or those in power), but in this course we will examine the views and realities of African citizens who are often “invisible” in broader historical narratives. More specifically, we will consider the historical perspectives and realities of a wide range of men and women, including musicians, artists, and actors. As we analyze the ways in which these individuals have represented events of the last 100 years, we will collectively assess culture’s relationship to political, economic, social, and historical change. More importantly, we will garner a greater understanding of the ways in which Africans have creatively used the resources at their disposal in order to engage with the past, present, and future.
- HST 268 African History to 1870
This course is an overview of African history prior to the establishment of European colonial rule, covering the period from the 4th century until 1870. It focuses on sub-Saharan Africa and uses case-studies in various geographic regions.
- HST 269 African History since 1850
This course is an overview of African history, beginning with the period following the abolition of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and ending with contemporary challenges of independent African nations. It emphasizes sub-Saharan African perspectives, initiatives, and historical agency.
- HST 336 Gender and Power in African History
Examines the close relationship between understandings of gender and power in African societies, with particular focus on the last several hundred years. After addressing the sources and methods scholars have used to address these topics, the course examines conceptions of gender and power in pre-colonial African societies, the impact of the colonial period on men and women, the gendered nature of nationalism and independence, and the importance of gender and power to many of Africa’s post-colonial challenges.
- HST 340 Social and Cultural Change in Urban Africa
While popular imagination suggests that the African past is largely a rural one, many of the continent’s most explosive social and cultural transformations have taken place in its cities. This course examines how urban residents have worked to creatively shape to some of sub-Saharan Africa’s major transformations. Major topics for the course include the social and cultural fabric of pre-colonial African cities, the impact of colonialism on African towns, cities as sites of revolution and independence, and the contemporary conditions and challenges facing contemporary urban residents.
- HST 390 The Colonial Encounter in Africa
This course allows students to critically engage with Africa’s colonial period (1880s-1960s), a period of great interaction and exchange between Africans, Europeans and Africans, and Africans with the rest of the world. It asks students to examine how diverse groups approached the colonial period as a time of both opportunity and constraint, particularly in regards to economic mobility, social relations, and cultural transformations. By the semester’s end, each student will present a cohesive research paper based on primary sources and existing secondary literature.