Bruce S Hall
  • Bruce S Hall

  • Associate Professor
  • History
  • 127 Carr Building
  • Campus Box 90719
  • Phone: 919-660-3197
  • Fax: 919-681-7670
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Specialties

    • Race and Ethnicity
    • Legal History
    • Intellectual History
    • Global Transnational History
    • Comparative Colonial Studies
    • African, Middle East and Asia
    • Global and Comparative
  • Research Description

    My first book, A history of race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), is about the development of ideas about racial difference along the West African Sahel. The research for this project was focused in and around the Malian town of Timbuktu. My current research centers on a nineteenth-century commercial network that connected Timbuktu with Ghadames (Libya), and which involved a number of literate slaves as commercial agents.
  • Areas of Interest

    Saharan and West African ideas about racial difference
    Saharan and West African intellectual history
    Saharan and West African commerce
  • Education

      • Ph.D.,
      • University of Illinois,
      • 2005
      • M.A.,
      • Queen's University,
      • 1995
      • B.A.,
      • University of Toronto,
      • 1994
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • Martin A. Klein book prize for A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960,
      • American Historical Association,
      • January, 2013
      • External Faculty Fellow,
      • Stanford Humanities Center,
      • September, 2012-13
      • SSRC Book Fellowship,
      • December, 2007
      • Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities,
      • Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Science, Johns Hopkins University,
      • 2005-2007
      • Scott Completion Fellowship,
      • University of Illinois, Graduate College,
      • 2004-2005
      • International Dissertation Research Fellowship,
      • Social Science Research Council (SSRC),
      • 2000-2001
      • Doctoral Fellowship,
      • Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC),
      • 1998-2000
      • International Pre-Dissertation Fellowship,
      • Social Science Research Council (SSRC),
      • 1998-99
  • Recent Publications

      • Bruce S. Hall.
      • "Review of Judith Scheele, Smugglers and Saints of the Sahara: regional connectivity in the twentieth century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012)."
      • Politique Africaine
      • (October, 2013)
      • :
      • 224-31.
      • Bruce S. Hall.
      • "“Arguing sovereignty in Songhay”."
      • Afriques: Débats, methods et terraines d’histoire
      • 4
      • (2013)
      • :
      • 1-17.
      • [PDF]
      Publication Description

      Recent archaeological, historical, and anthropological literature on the development of social and political complexity in Africa challenges older models of state formation that once informed the understanding of medieval Sahelian empires such as Songhay. We now know that there were multiple paths to complexity that did not necessarily lead to state formation, and that there was a heterarchical distribution of power in many African political formations. Despite this, the historiography of pre-colonial states in Sahelian West Africa, and of the role of Islam in these political formations, retains an attachment to a particular model of statehood derived from Arabic geographies and chronicles. Emphasis continues to be placed on military power and a largely ambivalent relationship between Islam and indigenous forms of authority. In this article, I offer a reinterpretation of the exercise and rhetoric of sovereignty in imperial Songhay by focusing on some of the ways in which Islamic authority was claimed and contested by its rulers. I argue that Songhay rulers claimed a religious authority that far outstripped their coercive power. Instead of an ambivalent relationship between the Muslim religious estate and secular power, Islamic religious authority was the principal basis of Songhay rulers’ claims to extensive power.

      • Bruce S. Hall and Yacine Daddi Addoun.
      • "“The Arabic Letters of the Ghadames Slaves in the Niger Bend, 1860-1900”."
      • African Slavery/African Voices.
      • Ed. Alice Bellagamba, Sandra Greene, Carolyn Brown and Martin Klein.
      • New York:
      • Cambridge University Press,
      • 2013.
      • pp.485-500.
      • [PDF]
      Publication Description

      This is an annotated translation of ten letters with an introduction.

      co-authored with Yacine Daddi Addoun. This is an annotated translation of ten Arabic letters written by, or sent to, slaves in the nineteenth-century Sahara.

      • with
      • Baz Lecocq, Gregory Mann, Bruce Whitehouse, Dida Badi, Lotte Pelckmans, Nadia Belalimat, Wolfram Lacher.
      • "One Hippopotamus and Eight Blind Analysts: A multivocal analysis of the 2012 political crisis in the divided Republic of Mali."
      • Review of African Political Economy
      • 40
      • .137
      • (2013)
      • :
      • 343-57.
      Publication Description

      This is an exercise in contemporary history that aims to give a comprehensive background and analysis to the 2012 political crisis in Mali, generated by the start of a new Tuareg nationalist uprising against the state, complemented by a coordinated attack on the state by both international (AQIM) and local Jihadi–Salafi movements, leading to a coup d’état against the incumbent President Touré, and finally a political stalemate of great concern to the international community.

      This is a collective article that gathered together eight scholars of Mali to try to shed light on fast-moving current events in Mali.

      • Bruce S. Hall.
      • "Bellah histories of decolonization, Iklan paths to freedom: The meanings of race and slavery in the late-colonial Niger Bend (Mali), 1944-1960."
      • International Journal of African Historical Studies
      • 44
      • .1
      • (2011)
      • :
      • 61-87.
      • [PDF]
  • View All Publications
  • Teaching

    • HISTORY 207.01
      • Crowell 107
      • MW 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
    • HISTORY 790S-09.01
      • Carr 242
      • W 06:15 PM-08:45 PM
  • background