Christopher Tounsel

Christopher Tounsel

Assistant Professor of History and African Studies

Catherine Shultz Rein Early Career Professor


Phone: (814) 865-1367


Office Hours:

  • Thursdays 1-3pm
Area(s) of Specialization: Sudan and South Sudan, Christianity, Race


I am a historian of modern Sudan, with special focus on race and religion as political technologies. My first book, Chosen Peoples: Christianity and Political Imagination in South Sudan, is under contract with Duke University Press. It explores the ways that Southern Sudanese intellectuals used Judeo-Christian Scriptures to frame their revolutionary work against the Sudanese state. Spanning Anglo-Egyptian colonialism, Sudanese independence, and South Sudanese independence, Chosen Peoples uncovers a crucial chapter of African religious and political thought.

My scholarship has appeared in numerous journals, including The Journal of Religious History, Journal of Eastern African Studies, Journal of Africana Religions, and The Journal of African American History, as well as the popular outlet The Conversation. Support for my research has come from several institutions and organizations including the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Council of Overseas American Research Centers, and Doris G. Quinn Foundation.

I have begun working on a second book project tentatively titled Black Like Us: African American Engagements with Sudan from the Mahdiya to Obama. Expanding on my recent work on the Tuskegee Institute's cotton-cultivation work in early twentieth-century Sudan, it aims to chart a new intellectual history of black America's relationship with Africa from colonialism to the twenty-first century.