Academic Appointments


  • Professor, History

Administrative Appointments


  • Professor of History, Frances and Charles Field (2008 - Present)
  • Vice Chair, History Department, Stanford University (2003 - 2007)
  • Professor, History, Stanford University (1995 - Present)
  • Associate Professor, History, Stanford University (1989 - 1995)
  • Assistant Professor, History, Stanford University (1981 - 1988)
  • Acting Assistant Professor, History, Stanford University (1980 - 1981)

Honors & Awards


  • Senior Fellow, Institute for International Studies, Stanford University (1991 - 1993)
  • Killam Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for African Studies, Dalhousie University (1978 - 1980)
  • JohnS. Guggenheim Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (2013 - 2014)
  • Donald Andrews Whittier Faculty Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center (2007 - 2008)
  • Kahn-Van Slyke Award for Graduate Mentoring, History Department, Stanford University (2004)
  • Internal Faculty Fellowship, Stanford University Institute for International Studies (2002 - 2003)
  • Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching, Stanford University (1999)
  • Award for Service to the Graduate Student Community, Stanford University (1999)
  • Internal Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University (1993 - 1994)
  • Social Sciences Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University (1992)
  • Internal Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center (1987 - 1988)
  • Social Science Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University (1986 - 1987)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Science Research Council (1981)
  • Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dalhousie University (1978 - 1980)
  • Graduate fellowship, Canada Council Graduate Research Fellowship (1976 - 1978)
  • Resident Fellow, Serra House, Stern Hall (1981 - 1983)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Chair, University Senate Committee on Graduate Studies (2009 - 2012)
  • Vice Chair, History Department, Stanford University (2003 - 2007)
  • Editor, Journal of African History (2000 - 2005)
  • Directeur d'Etudes, Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Sciences Sociales, Paris, one month appointment (1991 - 1991)
  • Publication Reviewer, International Journal of African Historical Studies
  • Publication Reviewer, Labour/Le Travailleur
  • Publication Reviewer, Canadian Journal of African Studies
  • Publication Reviewer, African Economic History
  • Publication Reviewer, Journal of African History
  • Publication Reviewer, American Historical Review
  • Publication Reviewer, Journal of Economic History
  • Publication Reviewer, Agricultural History
  • Publication Reviewer, Newsday
  • Publication Reviewer, History Today
  • Member, Martin A. Klein Book Prize in Africa History, American Historical Association (2012 - Present)
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Member, African Studies Series, Cambridge University Press (2007 - Present)
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Member, The Journal of African History (2000 - 2010)
  • Board of Directors, Member, African Studies Association (1998 - 2001)
  • Co-editor, Journal of Legal Pluralism (1998 - 2011)
  • Associate Editor, Encyclopedia of World History, Vlth edition, Houghton-Miflin
  • Co-editor, African Economic History (1987 - 1992)
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Journal of African History
  • Manuscript Reviewer, International Journal of African Studies
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Africa
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Canadian Journal of African Studies
  • Manuscript Reviewer, African Economic History
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Law and Society Review
  • Manuscript Reviewer, University of Wisconsin
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Ohio University Press
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Indiana University Press
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Cambridge University Press
  • Manuscript Reviewer, University of California Press
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Westview
  • Manuscript Reviewer, Heinemann
  • Reviewer, proposals, National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Translations (1983 - Present)
  • Member, selection committee for postdoctoral fellowships, ACLS (1990 - 1991)
  • Member, selection committee for postdoctoral fellowships, ACLS (2012 - 2013)
  • Member, African History search committee, University of California, Berkeley (1989 - 1991)
  • Chair, Senate Committee on Graduate Studies, Stanford University (2009 - 2012)
  • Chair, History Department Faculty Appointments Committee, Stanford University (2008 - 2012)
  • Chair, African Humanities Search Committee, Stanford University (2003 - 2004)
  • Director, History Department Summer School Program, Stanford University (2001 - 2007)
  • Director, Center for African Studies, Stanford University (1991 - 1993)
  • Director, Center for African Studies, Stanford University (1994 - 1999)
  • Director, Center for African Studies, Stanford University (2000 - 2007)
  • Director, Center for African Studies, Stanford University (2008 - 2011)
  • Director, History Graduate Studies Committee, Stanford University (1995 - 1998)
  • Director of Graduate Teaching, History, Stanford University (1998 - 2011)
  • Senate Teaching Assistant Oversight Committee, Stanford University (1998 - 2008)
  • Co-chair, Empires and Cultures Workshop, Stanford University (1995 - 1997)
  • Co-chair, Empires and Cultures Workshop, Stanford University (1998 - Present)
  • Chair, African Humanities Faculty Search Committee, Stanford University (1992 - 1993)
  • Member, Humanities and Sciences Curriculum Advisory Committee, Stanford University (1991 - 1995)
  • Co-chair, South African Faculty Initiatives Committee, Stanford University (1991 - 2003)
  • Member, African Studies Committee, Stanford University (1980 - Present)
  • Coordinator, African Social History Workshop/ African Studies Faculty Seminar, Stanford University (1983 - 2006)
  • Member, Committee on Faculty Initiatives on Southern Africa, Stanford University (1988 - Present)
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of History, Stanford University (1990 - 1992)
  • Member, Department of History, Policy Committee, Stanford University (1989 - 1990)
  • Member, Department of History, Policy Committee, Stanford University (1995 - 1997)
  • Member, Department of History, Policy Committee, Stanford University (2000 - 2001)
  • Member, Search committee, director of African and Afro-American Studies Program, Stanford University (1989 - 1990)
  • Faculty supervisor of HUGSA, Department of History the undergraduate history association, Stanford University (1988 - 1990)
  • Member, Department of History, Mellon postdoctoral fellowship committee, Stanford University (1985 - 1985)
  • Coordinator of graduate teaching, Department of History, Stanford University (1984 - 1987)
  • Member, Department of History, committee on undergraduate studies, Stanford University (1982 - 1983)
  • Co-coordinator, Joint Stanford-Berkeley Center for African Studies annual meeting, Stanford University (1982 - 1982)
  • Member, Center for Research in International Studies, fellowship committee, Stanford University (1981 - 1983)
  • Member, Center for Research in International Studies, fellowship committee, Stanford University (1984 - 1986)
  • Faculty secretary, Department of History, Stanford University (1981 - 1982)
  • Member, African Studies Association (1975 - Present)
  • Member, Canadian Association of African Studies (1975 - 1985)
  • Member, Canadian Association of African Studies (1999 - Present)
  • Member, American Historical Association (1984 - Present)
  • Member, Association for Concerned African Scholars (1984 - Present)
  • Member, Manding Studies Association (1986 - Present)
  • Member, Law and Society Association (1995 - Present)

Program Affiliations


  • Modern Thought and Literature
  • WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice

Professional Education


  • BA., University of Wisconsin, Madison (1970)
  • MA., Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia (1973)
  • Ph.D., University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (1978)

2018-19 Courses


Stanford Advisees


  • Doctoral Dissertation Reader (AC)
    Brooke Durham
  • Orals Chair
    Hilary Chart
  • Orals Evaluator
    Brooke Durham
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Osei Boakye, Elizabeth Jacob, Ozgul Ozdemir, Wallace Teska, Caryce Tirop, Rebecca Wall

All Publications


  • Gender, Justice, and the Problem of Culture: From Customary Law to Human Rights in Tanzania (Book Review) AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW Book Review Authored by: Roberts, R. 2018; 61 (2): 258–60
  • COERCED LABOR IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY AFRICA CAMBRIDGE WORLD HISTORY OF SLAVERY, VOL 4 AD 1804-AD 2016 Roberts, R., Eltis, D., Engerman, S. L., Drescher, S., Richardson, D. 2017: 583–609
  • Law, Crime, and Punishment Oxford Handbook of African History edited by Parker, J., Reids, R. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2013: 171–88
  • A Case of Kidnapping and Child Trafficking in Senegal, 1916 African Voices on Slavery and the Slave Trade edited by Bellagamba, A., Greene, S. E., Klein, M. A. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2013: 404–13
  • The End of Slavery, "Crises" over Trafficking, and the Colonial State in the French Soudan Trafficking in Slavery's Wake Roberts, R. Athens, Oh: Ohio University Press. 2012: 1–25
  • Introduction: Contextualizing Trafficking in Women and Children in Africa Trafficking in Slavery's Wake: The Experience of Women and Children Roberts, R., Lawrance, B. Athens, Oh: Ohio University Press. 2012: 1–25
  • Trafficking in Slavery's Wake: Law and the Experience of Women and Children in Africa The New African Histories Roberts, R. edited by Roberts, R., Lawrance, B. University of Ohio Press. 2012
  • Africa and Empire: The Unintended Consequences Festschrift for A. G. Hopkins edited by Falola, T. Rochester: Rochester University Press. 2011: 399–415
  • Domestic Violence and the Law in Africa: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives The New African Histories Roberts, R. edited by Roberts, R., Burrill, E., Thornberry, E. University of Ohio Press. 2010
  • Muslim Family Law in Sub-Saharan Africa: Colonial Legacies and Postcolonial Challenges Roberts, R. edited by Roberts, R., Moosa, E., Jeppie, S. University of Amsterdam Press. 2010
  • Domestic Violence and the Law in Africa Domestic Violence and the Law in Africa: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives edited by Roberts, R., Burrill, E., Thornberry, E. Ohio University Press. 2010: 1–29
  • Domestic Violence, Colonial Courts, and the End of Slavery in the French Soudan, 1905-1912 Domestic Violence and the Law in Africa: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives edited by Roberts, R., Burrill, E. Ohio University Press. 2010: 33–53
  • Women, Household Instability, and the End of Slavery in Banamba and Gumbu, French Soudan, 1905- 1912 Women and Slavery in Honour of Sue Miers edited by Campbell, G., Miers, S. Athen, OH: Ohio University Press. 2007: 281–305
  • African Intermediaries and the 'Bargain' of Collaboration Intermediaries, Interpreters and Clerks: African Employees in the Making of Modern Africa Roberts, R., Lawrance, B., Osborn, E. edited by Roberts, R., Lawrance, B., Osborn, E. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. 2006: 3–34
  • Intermediaries, Interpreters and Clerks: African Employees in the Making of Modern Africa Roberts, R. edited by Roberts, R., Lawrance, B., Osborn, E. University of Wisconsin Press. 2006
  • Litigants and Households: African Disputes and Colonial Courts in the French Soudan, 1895-1912 Social History in African Series Roberts, R. Heinemann. 2005
  • Gender and Emancipation in the French Soudan Gender and Emancipation in Comparative Perspective Roberts, R., Klein, M. edited by Paton, D., Scully, P. Durham: Duke University Press. 2005: 162–80
  • Sub-Saharan Africa Encyclopedia of World History edited by Stearns, P. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin. 2001; Vlth
  • The End of Slavery, Colonial Courts, and Social Conflict in Gumbu, 1908-1911 Canadian Journal of African Studies Rberts, R. 2000; 34 (3): 684-713
  • On Slavery and Islam in African History: A Tribute to Martin Klein Canadian Journal of African Studies Roberts, R. 2000; 34 (3)
  • Introduction to On Slavery and Islam in African History: A Tribute to Martin Klein (Book Review) Canadian Journal of African Studies Roberts, R. 2000; 34: 497-511
  • History and memory: The power of statist narratives INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES Roberts, R. 2000; 33 (3): 513-522
  • Representation, Structure, and Agency: Divorce in the French Soudan at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Journal of African History Roberts, R. 1999; 40 (3): 389-410
  • Women's Work and Women's Property: Household Social Relations and the Maraka Textile Industry in the 19th Century Women in Business edited by Yeager, M. A. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. 1999
  • The Construction of Cultures in Diasporas: African and African New World Experiences Diaspora and Immigration, special issue of The South Atlantic Quarterly Mudimbe, V. Y. 1999; 98 (1-2): 177-90
  • Law in Colonial Africa African Social History Roberts, R. edited by Roberts, R., Mann, K. Heinemann/Currey. 1998
  • "The End of Slavery in Africa" and "Modern Slavery in Africa" Encyclopedia of Slavery edited by Finkelman, P., Miller, J. 1998
  • The Possibilities of Precolonial West African History (Book Review) Canadian Journal of African Studies Roberts, R. 1998; 32 (1): 162-173
  • Conflicts over property in the Middle Niger Valley at the beginning of the 20th-century AFRICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY Roberts, R. 1997: 79-96
  • Property, Colonialism, and Conflicts in Africa African Economic History Roberts, R., Worger, W. 1997; 25
  • Two Worlds of Cotton: Colonialism and the Regional Economy in the French Soudan, 1800-1946 Roberts, R. Stanford University Press. 1996
  • West Africa and the Pondicherry Textile Industry Cloth and Commerce: Textiles in Colonial India edited by Roy, T. New Dehli: Sage Publications. 1996: 142–174
  • Adding Teaching to the 'Job Talk': A Report from the Stanford History Depattment AAHE Bulletin Roberts, R. 1996; 49 (3): 2-6
  • The Pedagogical Colloquium: Focusing on Teaching in the Hiring Process in the Stanford University History Department Making Teaching Community Property: A Menu for Peer Collaboration and Peer Review edited by Hutchings, P. 1996: 83–85
  • Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa African Social History Roberts, R. edited by Roberts, R., Isaacman, A. Heinemann/Currey. 1995
  • West Africa in the Nineteenth Century Guide to Historical Literature Roberts, R. 1995
  • The Segu Bambara State Encyclopedia of Sub-Saharan Africa Roberts, R. American Historical Association. 1995
  • Samori Turé Encyclopedia of Sub-Saharan Africa Roberts, R. American Historical Association. 1995
  • Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa: Introduction Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa Isaacman, A. edited by Roberts, R. Heinemann. 1995: 1–42
  • The Coercion of Free Markets: Cotton, Peasants, and the Colonial State in the French Soudan, 1924- 32 Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History in Sub-Saharan Africa Isaacman, A. edited by Roberts, R. Heinemann. 1995: 221–246
  • WEST-AFRICA AND THE PONDICHERRY TEXTILE-INDUSTRY INDIAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL HISTORY REVIEW Roberts, R. 1994; 31 (2): 117-145
  • Teaching Non-Western Histmy at Stanford Learning History in America: Schools, Cultures, and Politics edited by Kramer, L., Reid, D., Barney, W. University of Minnesota Press. 1994: 53–70
  • Pawning in French West Africa during the Depression Pawnship in Africa Roberts, R. edited by Lovejoy, P., Falola, T. Westview Press. 1994: 303–320
  • Colonialism and Customary Law in Africa: A Response to Leslye Obiora Legal Studies Forum Roberts, R. 1993; XVII (3): 253-59
  • The 'World Outside the West' Course Sequence at Stanford University Teaching History: Innovations in Teaching Blackey, R. Long Beach: The University Press. 1993: 215–22
  • Guinee Cloth: Linked Transformations within France's Empire in the Nineteenth Century Cahiers d'Etudes Africaines: XXXII Roberts, R. 1992: 597-627
  • Introduction: Law in Colonial Africa Law in Colonial Africa Roberts, R., Mann, K. James Currey. 1991: 3–58
  • Law in Colonial Africa African Social History Roberts, R. edited by Roberts, R., Mann, K. Heinemann/Currey. 1991
  • The 'World Outside the West' Course Sequence at Stanford University Perspectives Roberts, R., Lance, J. 1991; 3
  • The Jurisdiction of Muslim Tribunals in Colonial Senegal Law in Colonial Africa Roberts, R., Sarr, D. James Currey. 1991: 131–145
  • The Case of Faama Mademba Sy and the Ambiguities of Legal Jurisdiction in Early Colonial French Soudan Law in Colonial Africa Roberts, R. James Currey. 1991: 185–201
  • TEXT AND TESTIMONY IN THE TRIBUNAL-DE-PREMIERE-INSTANCE, DAKAR, DURING THE EARLY 20TH-CENTURY JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORY Roberts, R. 1990; 31 (3): 447-463
  • Introduction: Listening for the Silences History in Africa Roberts, R., Moore, D. 1990; XVII: 319-25
  • Reversible Social Processes, Historical Memory, and the Production of History History in Africa Vol: XVII Roberts, R. 1990: 341-349
  • Text and Testimony in the Tribunal de premiere instance, Dakar, during the early Twentieth Century Journal of Africa History Vol: XXXI Roberts, R. 1990: 447-63
  • The End of Slavery in the French Soudan, 1905-1914 The End of Slavery in Africa Roberts, R. University Wisconsin Press. 1988: 282–307
  • The End of Slavery in Africa Roberts, R. edited by Roberts, R., Miers, S. University of Wisconsin Press. 1988
  • Introduction: The End of Slavery in Africa The End of Slavery in Africa Roberts, R., Miers, S. University Wisconsin Press. 1988: 3–68
  • FRENCH COLONIALISM, IMPORTED TECHNOLOGY, AND THE HANDICRAFT TEXTILE-INDUSTRY IN THE WESTERN SUDAN, 1898-1918 JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC HISTORY Roberts, R. 1987; 47 (2): 461-472
  • Pawning in French West Africa during the Depression African Economic History Roberts, R., Klein, M. 1987; XVI: 23 - 37
  • THE RESURGENCE OF PAWNING IN FRENCH-WEST-AFRICA DURING THE DEPRESSION OF THE 1930S AFRICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY Klein, M. A., Roberts, R. 1987: 23-37
  • Warriors, Merchants, and Slaves: The State and the Economy in the Middle Niger Valley, 1712-1914 Roberts, R. Stanford University Press. 1987
  • Africa in the 20th Century African History: Selected Reading Lists and Course Outlines from American Colleges and Universities edited by Smith, D. Markus Weiner. 1986
  • WOMENS WORK AND WOMENS PROPERTY, HOUSEHOLD SOCIAL-RELATIONS IN THE MARAKA TEXTILE-INDUSTRY OF THE 19TH-CENTURY COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETY AND HISTORY Roberts, R. 1984; 26 (2): 229-250
  • The Bambara Muslim Peoples Weekes, R. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. 1984; 2: 97–101
  • Women's Work and Women's Property: Household Social Relations and the Maraka Textile Industry in the 19th Century Comparative Studies in Society and History, XXVI Roberts, R. 1984: 229–50
  • Uneven Development of Studies on Capitalism in Africa Canadian Journal of African Studies Roberts, R. 1983; XVII (1): 125-27
  • The Peculiarities of African Labour and Working Class History Labour/Le Travailleur Roberts, R. 1982: 317-33
  • Fishing for the State: Political Economy of the Middle Niger Valley Modes of Production in Africa edited by Stewart, C. C., Crummey, D. 1981: 175–203
  • Ideology, Slavery and Social Formation: The Evolution of Maraka Slavery in the Middle Niger Valley Ideology of Slavery in Africa edited by Lovejoy, P. 1981: 171–99
  • PRODUCTION AND REPRODUCTION OF WARRIOR STATES - SEGU-BAMBARA AND SEGU-TOKOLOR, C.1712-1890 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES Roberts, R. L. 1980; 13 (3): 389-419
  • The Emergence of a Grain Market in Bamako, 1883-1905 Canadian Journal of African Studies Roberts, R. 1980; XIV (1): 37-54
  • ECOLOGICALLY SPECIALIZED TRADE AND ECONOMIC-GROWTH - A REPLY CAHIERS D ETUDES AFRICAINES Roberts, R. 1980; 20 (1-2): 177-180
  • Warfare, Technology, and the State Canadian Journal of African Studies Roberts, R. 1980; XIV (2): 334-40
  • LONG-DISTANCE TRADE AND PRODUCTION - SINSANI IN THE 19TH-CENTURY JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORY Roberts, R. 1980; 21 (2): 169-188
  • Linkages and Multiplier Effects in the Ecologically Specialized Trade of Precolonial West Africa Cahiers d'Etudes Africaines Roberts, R. 1980; XX (77-78): 135-48
  • The Banamba Slave Exodus and the Decline of Slavery in the Western Sudan Journal of African History Roberts, R., Klein, M. 1980; XXI (3): 375-94