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Rachel Jean Baptiste


  • Ph.D., Stanford University
  • M.A., Stanford University
  • A.B., History and French, Bryn Mawr College


Rachel Jean-Baptiste is a historian of 20th and 21st century French-speaking Central and West Africa.  Her research interests include the history of: gender, women and sexuality; marriage and family law; race;  citizenship; and urbanization. 

Research Focus

Cross-Cultural Women's & gender History; Empires; Ethnicity, Race, Nationalism; Law, Culture and Society; Africa, Asia, & the Middle East

Selected Publications

  • Multi-Racial Identities in Colonial Francophone Africa: Race, Childhood, Citizenship (under contract, Cambridge University Press, African Identities: Past and Present Series)
  • “‘To Save Eurafrican Children’: Métis Children, African Mothers, and the Reluctant French Colonial Welfare State in post-World War II Senegal.” In Enjeux postcoloniaux de l'enfance et de la jeunesse. Espace francophone 1945-1980, edited by Yves Dencher, PIE Peter Lang Press, Outre-Mer Series, 2019
  • “Love, Marriage, and Families in Africa,” co-authored with Emily S. Burrill. In Holding the World Together: African Women in Changing Perspective, edited by Nwando Achebe and Claire Robertson, University of Wisconsin Press, 2019.
  • “‘The Ancient and The Modern’: Customary and Civil Marriage and Family Law and Gender Equity in Post-Colonial Gabon” in Marriage, Law and Modernity: Global Histories, edited by Julia Moses, Bloomsbury Press, 2017.
  • Jean-Baptiste, R. (2014) Conjugal Rights: Marriage, Sexuality, and Urban Life in Colonial Libreville, Gabon. (New African History Series: Ohio University Press)    http://www.ohioswallow.com/book/Conjugal+Rights
  • Jean-Baptiste, R. (2011) “Miss Eurafrica: Men, Women’s Sexuality, and Métis Identity in Late Colonial French Africa, 1945-1960.” Journal of the History of Sexuality, Volume 20, Number 3, pp. 568-593
  • Jean-Baptiste, R. (2010) “A Black Girl Should Not Be With A White Man: Sex, Race, and African Women's Social and Legal Status in Colonial Gabon, c. 1900–1946.” Journal of Women's History, Volume 22, Number 2, pp. 56-82 http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/journal_of_womens_history/v022/22.2.jean-baptiste.pdf
  • Jean-Baptiste, R. (2008) “These Laws Should Be Made By Us: Customary Marriage Law, Codification And Political Authority in Twentieth-Century Colonial Gabon.” The Journal of African History, Volume 49, Issue 02, pp. 217-240 http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=2300300&fileId=S0021853708003617
  • Jean-Baptiste, R. (2007) “The Option of the Judicial Path: Disputes over Marriage, Divorce, and Extra-Marital Sex in Colonial Courts in Libreville, Gabon (1939-1959).” Cahiers d'études africaines, Volume 187-188, pp. 643-670 http://etudesafricaines.revues.org/8592


Intro to African History; History of West and Central Africa; Slavery, Africa and the Atlantic World; Post-Colonial African History; Race and The Modern World; Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Africa; Global History of Sexuality