Remembering Dr. Margaret Jean Hay


Dr. Margaret Jean Hay, passed away on July 11, 2022. Jean leaves behind a diverse group of family, friends and colleagues scattered around the world.


A well-known professor of African Studies, Jean began her career at Wellesley College, then moved to the African Studies Center at Boston University. She was a creative teacher who loved mentoring students; her weekly seminar series was a fixture among Boston academics; and as a scholar, she pioneered the use of African oral histories to counterbalance the views of Eurocentric writers. Her articles were published in numerous anthologies; she authored several books on African and women’s history; two of her co-edited collections African Women South of the Sahara and African Women and the Law count among the first and most widely cited publications to center women in this field; and her African Novels in the Classroom is now a classic. She served as editor for the International Journal of African Historical Studies; as founder and co-editor of the journal African Economic History; as co-principal investigator for “African Expressions of the Colonial Experience” funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities; as co-founder for Heinemann’s Social History of Africa series, and editor for their Africa-Caribbean series; and as editor for Africa and the Middle East at Lynne Rienner Publishers. She retired in 2005.


The Women's Caucus will host an AfricaNow! session to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Margaret Jean Hay on Saturday, November 19th at 10:15 AM. We thank Kathleen Sheldon for inspiring this event, as well as Steering Committee member, Emily Riley, for stepping up to coordinate it for our community.

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