Samuel Anderson

Visiting Assistant Professor in History
With Pomona Since: 2019
  • Expertise


    Samuel Anderson’s research centers on education, religion, race and colonialism in Muslim societies in northwest Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His current project examines “Franco-Muslim” education, in schools called médersas, and their role in Muslim communities in the Maghrib, Sahara and Sahel. Combining Islamic and European curricula, these schools became avenues for new forms of engagement with, and resistance to, the colonial state. Based on archival and oral-history research, in Arabic and French, in Algeria, France, Mauritania, Morocco and Senegal, this project emphasizes the importance of trans-Saharan perspectives on the colonial and post-colonial history of northwest Africa.

    Research Interests

    • Islam and colonialism in the 19th and 20th centuries
    • Writing trans-Saharan history
    • Education and youth in modern Africa
    • Histories of race in Africa
    • History of colonial institutions

    Areas of Expertise

    • Modern Africa
    • Islam in Africa
    • History of Education
    • North Africa
    • West Africa
    • The Sahara
    • Colonialism and Decolonization
  • Work


    "From Algiers to Timbuktu: Multi-Local Research in Colonial History Across the Saharan Divide," History in Africa 49 (2022), 1–23.

    "The French Médersa in West Africa: Modernizing Islamic Education and Institutionalizing Colonial Racism, 1890s–1920s," Islamic Africa 11:1 (2020), 42–70.

    “Les Médersas,” in L’École en Algérie, l’Algérie à l’école de 1830 à nos jours, ed. Jean-Robert Henry and Florence Hudowicz (Rouen: Musée Nationale de l’Éducation and Canopé Éditions, 2017).

    “‘Negritude is Dead’: Performing the African Revolution at the First Pan-African Cultural Festival (Algiers, 1969),” in Performing Pan-Africanism: The First World Festival of Black and African Culture, Dakar 1966, ed. David Murphy (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2016).

    “Education musulmane et française pendant la période coloniale,” Africa4, Libération, 26 November 2017.

  • Education


    Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

    M.A., University of California, Los Angeles

    B.A., Vassar College

  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    • American Institute for Maghrib Studies, Short-Term Grant to Morocco, 2022
    • Honorable Mention, 2021 Article Prize, French Colonial Historical Society, for "The French Médersa in West Africa."
    • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, 2015–16
    • Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2015–16
    • Council of American Overseas Research Centers Multi-Country Research Fellowship, 2014–15
    • Fulbright-IIE U.S. Student Grant to Morocco, 2009–2010