Melissa L. Cooper

Melissa L. Cooper


melissa.cooper [at]



Office Location

330 Conklin Hall
175 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102

Melissa L. Cooper specializes in African American cultural and intellectual history, and the history of the African Diaspora. Cooper's book,

Making Gullah: A History of Sapelo Islanders, Race, and the American Imagination

(University of North Carolina Press, 2017) is an intellectual and cultural history that examines the emergence of "the Gullah" in scholarly and popular works during the 1920s and the 1930s. Using Sapelo Island, Georgia as a case study, Cooper's manuscript explores the forces that inspired interest in black southerners’ African heritage during the period, and also looks at the late twentieth, and twenty-first century legacies of the works that first made Sapelo Islanders famous. She is the author of

Instructor's Resource Manual--Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans with Documents

(Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 2013) and a contributor to 

Race and Retail: Consumption Across the Color Line

(Rutgers University Press, 2015).  

Courses Taught


African American History I

African American History II

Topics in African American History


Readings in African American History​


Andrew Carnegie Corporation Fellowship 2019

Schomburg Scholars-In-Residence Fellowship 2020


Ph.D. in History, Rutgers University (2012)