African Dominion: A New History of Empire in Early and Medieval West Africa: Michael Gomez

Pick up almost any book on early and medieval world history and empire, and where do you find West Africa? On the periphery. This pioneering book tells a different story. Interweaving political and social history and drawing on a rich array of sources, Michael Gomez unveils a new vision of how categories of ethnicity, race, gender, and caste emerged in Africa and in global history. Focusing on the Savannah and Sahel region, Gomez traces how Islam’s growth in West Africa, along with intensifying commerce that included slaves, resulted in a series of political experiments unique to the region, culminating in the rise of empire. A radically new account of the importance of early Africa in global history, African Dominion will be the standard work on the subject for years to come.


“Winner of the ASA Book Prize (Herskovits), African Studies Association”

“Winner of the Martin A. Klein Prize, American Historical Association”

“One of Choice Reviews’ Outstanding Academic Titles of 2018”


“[A] groundbreaking study.”―New Yorker

“Richly researched.”―Howard French, Times Literary Supplement

“An extraordinarily rich and exciting narrative. This short review cannot do justice to the variety of insights African Dominion brings to our understanding of West African history. . . . I imagine that Michael Gomez’s achievement will set the standard for scholarship on West Africa’s empires for years to come.”―Myles Osborne, Medieval Review

“Michael Gomez’s survey of this long period more than updates the older synthesis, it revolutionizes it, transforms it, and will surely replace all that has come before it. . . . It is a signal achievement. . . . [A] model of scholarship and interpretation.”―John Thornton, International Journal of African Historical Studies

“Important. . . . [E]ngaging and insightful.”―T. M. Reese, Choice

From the Back Cover

“A masterful account of early West African history, this authoritative book fills a major gap. It will long remain one of the most important works on–and be essential to debates about–precolonial West Africa.”–Andreas Eckert, Humboldt University of Berlin

“Utterly original and elegantly narrated, African Dominion provides a more complete, complex, and comparative picture of West Africa than previously available. It will have radical implications.”–Mamadou Diouf, Columbia University

About the Author

Michael A. Gomez is the Silver Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. His books include Black Crescent: African Muslims in the Americas, Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora, and Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South.

  • Publisher: ‎ Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (August 27, 2019)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • Paperback: ‎ 520 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 0691196826
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0691196824
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.55 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎ 6.14 x 1.16 x 9.21 inches

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