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College of Arts & Sciences

Assan Sarr

Assan Sarr

Associate Professor

407 Bentley Annex

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  • Ph.D. in History from Michigan State University, 2010
  • African Studies from Ohio University


  • Africa

Assan Sarr is Assistant Professor in the Department of History. For the past five years he has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of The Gambia where, among other responsibilities, he taught courses in African history and supervises research of graduate students.

Sarr's first book, Islam, Power and Dependency in the Gambia River Basin: The Politics of Land Control, 1790-1940 explores the impact of Islamization, the development of peanut production, and the imposition of colonial rule on people living along the middle and lower Gambia River. It shows how these waves of changes sweeping the region after 1850 altered local political and social arrangements, with important implications for the ability of elites to control land.

Sarr has also published articles with Mande Studies and African Studies Review as well as a variety of book reviews. His next book project is a full-length scholarly biography of Sir Samuel John Forster. Samuel Forster (c.1873-1940) was a Gambian creole and descendant of a "Liberated African."

Sarr is affiliated with Ohio University's African Studies Program. He was named a fellow at The Charles J. Ping Center for the Teaching of the Humanities at Ohio University for the 2014-17 period.


  • “Sir Samuel John Forster: 1873-1940,” forthcoming.
  • “Land, Power, and Dependency along the Gambia River, Late Eighteenth to Early Nineteenth Centuries,” African Studies Review, December 2014.
  • “A Story of Bathurst’s (Gambia) Black-Coated Workers, c1929-1941,” Childhood in Africa: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, Fall 2013, pp. 1-15
  • “Fighting Over the Swamps: Conflict and Community across the Gambia River Basin, Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries,” Journal of Mande Studies, Volume 11 (2009), pp. 135-153.


Assan Sarr teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses at Ohio University. His courses include:

  • HIST 1330: Introduction to World History since 1750
  • HIST 3410: History of Africa to 1850
  • HIST 3411: History of Africa Since 1850
  • HIST 3390: Women in African History
  • HIST 3412X: Islam in Africa / African Muslim Diaspora
  • HIST 6906: Graduate Colloquium in African History: The Atlantic Slave Trade


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