James H. Sweet

Past President

James H. Sweet is Vilas-Jartz Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has taught since 2004. He is a historian of Africa and the African diaspora, with a particular focus on the cultures and politics of enslaved Africans in the Americas. He is the author of two prize-winning books, Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441–1770 (2003) and Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World (2011). He is also the author of a co-edited volume (with Tejumola Olaniyan) titled The African Diaspora and the Disciplines (2010). Sweet has served as chair of the History Department (2013–16) and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese (2017–20) at UW-Madison. He also served as an elected councilor on the Research Division of the American Historical Association (2016–19). He has spent his entire life in public schools—from K–12 in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) school system, to UNC-Chapel Hill (BA/MA), to the City University of New York (PhD). He previously taught at a regional university (UW-Oshkosh) and a minority-serving urban university (Florida International Univ.). He is an advocate for the value of a broad, liberal arts education for all people and is a strong supporter of the AHA's commitment to promoting history across the full breadth of our society.