Christopher Tounsel

Associate Professor


Ph.D., History, University of Michigan, 2015
M.A., History, University of Michigan, 2012
B.A., History, Duke University, 2009

Research Interests

I am an historian of modern Sudan, with special focus on race and religion as political technologies. My first book, Chosen Peoples: Christianity and Political Imagination in South Sudan, was published by Duke University Press in 2021. Chosen Peoplesexplores the ways that Southern Sudanese intellectuals used Judeo-Christian Scriptures to frame their revolutionary work against the Sudanese state. Chosen Peoples was named a Finalist for the 2022 Christianity Today Book Award (History/Biography).

My second book, Bounds of Blackness: African Americans, Sudan, and the Politics of Solidarity, is under contract with Cornell University Press. Expanding on my work on the Tuskegee Institute’s cotton-cultivation work in early twentieth-century Sudan, Bounds of Blackness aims to chart a new intellectual history of black America’s relationship with Africa from colonialism to the twenty-first century.

My articles have appeared in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Religious History, Journal of African American History, Journal of Eastern African Studies, Journal of Africana Religions, and Social Sciences and Missions. My words have also appeared in outlets Vox and The Conversation. Support for my research has come from institutions and organizations including the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Council of Overseas American Research Centers, and Doris G. Quinn Foundation.