ICGC welcomed back our alumnus, Derek Peterson, who is professor of History and Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Michigan. His scholarly work concerns the intellectual and cultural history of eastern Africa. Derek's most recent book is Ethnic Patriotism and the East African Revival (2012), which won the Melville Herskovits Award of the African Studies Association and the Martin Klein Prize of the American Historical Association. He has been active in the field of African Studies, having served (2004-2009) as Director of the African Studies Centre at Cambridge University and later in various leadership roles at the University of Michigan's African Studies Center and the African Studies Association. Derek also co-edits two African studies book series, the Ohio University Press Cambridge African Studies Centre book series and the New African Histories book series at Ohio University Press. His work coordinating Michigan's African Heritage Initiative, a working group that brings humanities scholars in Michigan together with colleagues in Ghana, South Africa and elsewhere, resulted in the publication of Peterson, Kodzo Gavua, and Ciraj Rassool, eds., The Politics of Heritage in Africa (Cambridge UP, 2015). Among his other international projects, Peterson coordinates an ongoing effort to organize and preserve endangered government archives in Uganda based at Mountains of the Moon University in western Uganda.
The paper he presented at ICGC uses E.P. Thompson's last book-Witness Against the Beast (1993)-as an occasion to claim oddity, peculiarity, and nonconformity as subjects of African history.