Main content

Jean Herskovits

Research Professor of History

Jean Frances Herskovits is a specialist in African (particularly Nigerian) history and politics. She began teaching at Purchase in 1977 and has also taught at Brown University, Swarthmore College, City College of the City University of New York, and Columbia University. She earned her PhD in African history from the University of Oxford.

Recognized for her decades of experience in Nigeria, she has written extensively and consulted for foundations, corporations and the World Bank on Nigerian and African matters and testified at U.S. Senate and Congressional committee hearings on Nigeria and U.S. Africa policy. From 1993 to 1998, she worked with the late Ambassador J.N. Garba on a project focused on security issues in Southern and West Africa. She has held various positions in Nigeria, including director of United Bank for Africa (1998–2005), where she also chaired the Board of Trustees of the UBA Foundation. She had previously served as head of the Nigeria reinvestment project of Citizens Energy Corporation and,from 2001–2008, was a member of Conoco Phillips’ Nigeria advisory council.


She has written many articles about Nigeria in such publications as Foreign Policy and the New York Times.