Richard Shain

Associate Professor of History & Manager, East Falls Institutional Review Board



Ravenhill, Room 310
East Falls Campus
Philadelphia, PA 19144


Richard Shain

Associate Professor of History & Manager, East Falls Institutional Review Board


PhD, The Johns Hopkins University (1992) 
BA, State University of New York (1975)

Research Interest

I am a cultural historian of West Africa, specializing in the history of Nigeria and Senegal. My particular areas of research are the history of modernity in West Africa, Trans-Atlantic cultural circuits, the interplay between Islam and African religions and the use of oral histories in reconstructing the African past.  I also am interested in Applied Research Ethics, especially in the humanities and the social sciences.

Journal Articles

The Re(Public) of Salsa: Afro-Cuban Music in Fin-de-Siècle Dakar, Africa, 79 (2), 2009, p 186-205

Roots in Reverse: Cubanismo in Twentieth Century Sénégalese Popular Music. International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol.35, 1 (2002), p 83-103

War of Words: Two Niger Delta Novels on the 'Biafran' War Passages, Issue 6, Fall, 1993, p 15-16

The Black and the White: The Use of Dualities in Etulo Historical Thought, Journal of Religion in Africa (Leiden), Vol. XVIII, Fasc. 3, October, 1988, p 237-254


Roots in Reverse: Senegalese Afro-Cuban Music and Tropical Cosmopolitanism. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2018.

The Spatial Factor in African History: The Relationship of the Social, Material and Perceptual. (co-editor) Leiden: Brill, 2004

Displacement: A Selected Bibliography. (co-editor) Monticello (Ill): Vance Bibliographies, 1980

Chapters in Books

Senegalese Salsa in Heidi Feldman, ed. Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Volume 3  London: Bloomsbury Press, 2018.

Trovador of the Black Atlantic: Laba Sosseh and the Africanization of Afro-Cuban Music in Bob W. White, ed. Music and Globalization: Critical Encounters  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012, p 135-159.

The Salt That Binds: The Historical Geography of a Central Nigerian Regional Identity in Allen M. Howard and Richard M. Shain (eds.) The Spatial Factor in African History: The Relationship of the Social, Material and Perceptual Leiden: Brill, 2004, p 245-261

Introduction: African History and Social Space in Africa (with Allen M. Howard) in Allen M. Howard and Richard M. Shain (eds.) The Spatial Factor in African History: The Relationship of the Social, Material and Perceptual Leiden: Brill, 2004, p 1-21

A Double Exile: Extended African Residences and the Paradoxes of Homecoming in Jan Vansina and Carolyn Keyes Adenaike (eds.) In Pursuit of History  London: Heinemann, 1996,p 104-113

Class Formation and the Transformation of Oral Traditions: The Case of the Etulo Cultural Development Association in E.J. Alagoa, ed. Oral Tradition and Oral History in Africa and the Diaspora: Theory and Practice Lagos: Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, 1996, p 129-142

Parables and Performance: Some Forms of Ogoja Yala Discourse in I.H. Hagher and A.S.A. Ayovbukerhi (eds.) Theatre and Mass Media in Development  Lagos (Nigeria): SONTA, 1990


Africa, Cultural History, Modernity, Oral History, Applied Research Ethics