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Christopher Tounsel

Christopher Tounsel

Assistant Professor of History and African Studies
Catherine Shultz Rein Early Career Professor
108 WEAVER BUILDING
(814) 865-1367
Area(s) of Specialization: Sudan and South Sudan, Christianity, Race
Christopher Tounsel

Professional Bio

I am an 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 (Duke University Press, 2021), explores the ways that Southern Sudanese intellectuals used Judeo-Christian Scriptures to frame their revolutionary work against the Sudanese state. Named a Finalist for Christianity Today’s Book Award in History/Biography, Chosen Peoples was also listed in The Christian Century as one of Philip Jenkins’s picks for “best books of the year on Global Christianity.”

My scholarship has appeared in venues that include the  Journal of African American History, the Journal of Religious History, the Journal of Eastern African Studies, and the Journal of Africana Religions, and media appearances include BBC Radio 4, Vox, and The Conversation. My research has been graciously supported from 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.

My second book, Bounds of Blackness: African Americans, Sudan, and the Politics of Solidarity, is under contract with Cornell University Press. Expanding on my recent work on the Tuskegee Institute’s cotton-cultivation labor 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. Bounds of Blackness will be included in Cornell University Press’s series on “The United States in the World.”