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Derek R. Peterson

Professor of History and African Studies, University of Michigan

Derek R. Peterson is Professor of History and African Studies at the University of Michigan. He is a historian of eastern Africa's intellectual and political cultures. Over the course of more than a decade Peterson has been centrally involved in ongoing efforts to salvage, organise, catalogue, and digitise endangered archival records in Uganda.

Peterson is the author of "Ethnic Patriotism and the East African Revival: A History of Dissent" (2012), which won the best book award from the African Studies Association; and editor of several books, including (with Ciraj Rassool and Kodzo Gavua) "The Politics of Heritage in Africa: Economies, Histories, Infrastructure" (2015). He is currently writing about Idi Amin's Uganda.

In 2017 Peterson was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He is currently writing a book about Idi Amin's Uganda.


  • 2009–present
    Professor of History and African Studies, University of Michigan
  • 2004–2009
    Senior lecturer, University of Cambridge
  • 2000–2004
    Assistant Professor, The College of New Jersey


  • 2000 
    University of Minnesota, Ph.D.


Fellow of the British Academy; MacArthur 'Genius' Fellowship (2017)