Henryatta L. Ballah is a historian of nineteenth and twentieth-century Africa. Her scholarly research and teaching focus on ‘bottom up’ history, meaning an emphasis on ideas and methods of ordinary people dealing with complex issues within their particular historical moments. She teaches courses on African Women, Pre-colonial Africa, Colonial Africa, Youth and Social Movements in Africa. Her research has been published in the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, and in the Journal of West African History. She is also a contributor to the forthcoming volume, Changing Perspectives on African Women and Gender (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, Spring 2019). Ballah’s research has been presented at numerous conferences, both domestic and international. In 2012, she was awarded an Outstanding Teaching Award by The Panhellenic Association and the Interfraternity Council at The Ohio State University.
Her current manuscript, "Listen, Politics is Not for Children: Adult Authority, Social Conflicts and Youth Survival Strategies in Post-Civil War Liberia," explores the historical economic, social and political experiences of Liberian youth since the beginning of the Republic in 1847. It argues that despite their marginalization by the state, youths have played an integral role in the quest for democratization in the country, especially since the 1950s. The manuscript is the first detailed history of Liberian youth from the nineteenth into the twenty-first century.
The next research project she has embarked on, titled “Rubber is Slavery: Labor and the Firestone Rubber Company,” examines the company’s labor policies and workers’ protest on its one-million-acre-plantation in Liberia from 1925 to 1970.
She teaches courses on Pre-colonial Africa, Colonial Africa, Youth and Social Movements in Africa and African Women, and is developing several new courses, including: The History of Terrorism in Africa, Civil Wars and African Societies, and Islam in Africa.
In 2012, she was awarded an Outstanding Teaching Award by The Panhellenic Association and The Interfraternity Council at The Ohio State University.
Ballah’s research has been presented at numerous conferences, both domestic and international, including the annual African Studies Association Conference and at the University of Liberia, West Africa.
- “Ethnicity, Politics and Social Conflicts: The Quest for Peace in Liberia,” The Pennsylvania State University McNair Scholars Journal 10, (Summer, 2003): 52-69.
- “Politics is Not for Children: Student Activism and State Repression in Liberia (1944-1990), forthcoming in the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth.
- Henryatta Ballah and December Green, “Violence against Women: Households, Wars, Refugees and Resistances,” forthcoming in Changing Perspectives on African Women and Gender, eds. Nwando Achebe and Claire Robertson (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press).
Prior to joining Connecticut College, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the departments of History and Africana Studies at Oberlin College from 2013-2015. She joined the Department of History at The Ohio State University during the 2015-2016 academic year as a Visiting Scholar.
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