Barbara Cooper, Ph.D., is a professor of history. She is interested in the intersections between culture and political economy, focusing upon gender, religion, and family life. Drawing upon archival sources as well as oral interviews in the Hausa speaking region of Niger in the west African Sahel, her publications have addressed female labor and slavery, gift exchange as social discourse, oral genres and the oral re-performance of pilgrimage, movement and the construction of gender, and the negotiation of a shifting political economy through the re-definition of marriage.
Cooper recently published Evangelical Christians in the Muslim Sahel, a book on the history of a minority Evangelical Protestant community in majority Muslim Niger that engages with the history of U.S. interventions in Africa, the problem of religious violence, the relationships between religion, secularism, and modernity, and the construction of gender in Christianity and Islam.
Her current research concerns the history of debates about fertility, population, and reproduction in the Sahel.