Judith A. Byfield is an Associate Professor in the Department of History, Cornell University. A core faculty member of the Department of History, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies and a member of the Africana Studies field, Byfield focuses primarily on African and Caribbean history. She received her B.A. from Dartmouth College (1980) and her Ph.D. from Columbia University (1993). She is the author of The Great Upheaval: Women and Nation in Post War Nigeria (Ohio University Press, forthcoming) and The Bluest Hands: A Social and Economic History of Women Indigo Dyers in Western Nigeria, 1890-1940 (Heinemann, 2002).
She has co-edited several books: Global Africa (University of California Press, 2017) with Dorothy Hodgson; Africa and World War II, with Carolyn Brown, Timothy Parsons, Ahmad Sikainga, (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and Gendering the African Diaspora: Women, Culture, and Historical Change in the Caribbean and Nigerian Hinterland with LaRay Denzer and Anthea Morrison (Indiana University Press, 2010). She has published articles in edited volumes and journals such as Canadian Journal of African Studies; Journal of African History; Meridians: A Journal on Feminism, Race, and Transnationalism, and Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender and the Black International.
Dr. Byfield has served in numerous organizational capacities as well. She was Co-chair of the Program Committee for the Seventeenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders, and Sexualities (June 1-4, 2017). She is a former President of the African Studies Association (2011) as well as former Chair of the Association of African Studies Programs (2002-2005).
This year she is a Fulbright Global Scholar beginning a new project, “Curry Goat and Gari: West Indian Women in 20th Century Lagosian Society.” It is inspired by the West Indian women she met during her research trips to Nigeria. Many met their husbands in the UK and moved to Nigeria with them. She became fascinated by the very creative ways in which they bridged their Caribbean and British backgrounds with Nigerian cultures. This project hopes to reveal new insights about diaspora formation and transnationalism through the experiences of these dynamic and enterprising women.