Personal Statement:

I am a social historian of 19th and 20th century Africa with specific interests in theories and practices of development and global commodity exchange. My current research examines the history of co-operative societies in Ghana from the 1929 to 1970. Tracing the history of these co-operatives not only highlights an important social and economic movement in Ghana during the colonial and post-colonial era, but also reveals the existence of a larger transnational identity among members of co-operative movements across the British Empire and other parts of the globe. Studying the history of these co-operatives, both in Ghana and beyond, allows me to make several important interventions regarding the history of development, international commodity trade, transitions from colonial rule to independence, and non-violent forms of agency among the colonized. 

Here are some of the key question I ask:

  • How are current discourses of development, such co-operative movements  linked with similar discourses from the colonial-era? And does the continued reliance on colonial methods of commodity exchange limit our ability to imagine or create more dynamic and mutually beneficial forms of development?
  • How did colonized populations participate in, and alter European discourses of development to gain social economic and political capital?
  • How does identity formation, through the use of propaganda and education, factor into development projects?  
  • What role does utopian imagination play in longterm commitment and participation in such movements? How does this process vary among farmers, traders, manufacturers and consumers, etc., who participate in these networks of exchange?

Overall I am interested in the historical context of what is often called ethical consumer capitalism, as well as the structure of international commodity exchange, and rethinking the very language used to discuss histories of development.

Dissertation Title:

Unity is Strength: The Making of Transnational Co-operative Citizenship in Colonial Ghana 1929 - 1957

Selected Publications:

  • Minor, Ryan. Review: Kristy Leissle, Cocoa, in Historia Agraria 83 (2021) (Pending)
  • Minor, Ryan. “We Wants the Redhead: The Signares of Senegal and Constructions of Gender in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World” for Enchantedarchives.com (2019)
  • Minor, Ryan. “The Jungle Cruise: Romance, Adventure, and the Legacies of Colonialism.” for Enchantedarchives.com (2018).
  • Minor, Ryan. “There is no Bournville in Africa: English Chocolate Makers, African Cocoa Producers, and the Ethics of Capitalism. Master’s Thesis (CSUSB: San Bernardino, CA) 2013.
  • Minor, Ryan. “English Chocolate, Ghanaian Cocoa” (travel log). In History in the Making: A Journal of History 6 (2013): 217-223.  
  • Minor, Ryan. “There is no Bournville in Africa: Capitalist Labor Relationships Through the Lens of Interactions Between West African Cocoa Workers and Industrial Chocolate Manufacturers from the 19th Century to the Present Day.” In History in the Making: A Journal of History 5 (2012): 43-80.

Teaching Fields:

  • Modern Africa
  • World History
  • History of Development
  • Comparative Race and Ethnicity
  • Comparative Genocide

Courses Taught:

Instructor of Record:

  • UCSB: History 2C World History 1750 to the Present – Summer 2021 (forthcoming)
  • UCSB: History 101 Historical Fiction – Summer 2021 (forthcoming)
  • UCSB: History 147D Development in Africa – Summer 2020     
  • Crafton Hills Community College: History 171 World Civilizations Since 1500CE – Spring 2017
  • Crafton Hills Community College: History 150 Latin American History – Spring 2017
  • Crafton Hills Community College: History 101 History of the United States 1865 to the Present – Fall 2016
  • Crafton Hills Community College: History 170 World Civilizations 3500BCE to 1500CE – Fall 2016

Teacher Assistant / Discussion Sections:

  • UCSB: Writing Program WRIT2 Academic writing – 2020-2021 academic year
  • UCSB: Writing Program WRIT2 Academic writing – 2018-2019 academic year  
  • UCSB: History 4C European History 1715 to the Present – Spring 2018
  • University of California, Santa Barbara: History 49A / Black Studies 49A African History up to 1800 – Winter 2018
  • University of California, Santa Barbara: History 2A World History up to 1000C CE – Fall 2017
  • University of California, Santa Barbara: History 2C World History1700 to the Present – Spring 2015
  • University of California, Santa Barbara: History / Black Studies 49B African History 1800 to the Present – Winter 2015
  • University of California, Santa Barbara: History / Black Studies 49A African History up to 1800 – Fall 2014
  • University of California, Santa Barbara: History / Black Studies 49A African History up to 1800 – Summer 2014
  • University of California, Santa Barbara: History 2C World History 1700 to Present – Spring 2014
  • University of California, Santa Barbara: History 2A World History up to 1000 CE – Winter 2014
  • University of California, Santa Barbara: History/ Black Studies 49A African History up to 1800 – Fall 2013
  • California State University, San Bernardino: History 144 World Civ. III the Expansion of Europe – Spring 2013
  • California State University, San Bernardino:: History 201 U.S. History 1877-Present – Fall 2012

Awards & Professional Activities:

Academic Awards and Scholarships:

  • Graduate Division Dissertation Fellowship: UCSB – Winter Quarter 2021
  • History Associates General Fellowship: UCSB – 2019-2020 academic year
  • Graduate Division Humanities Research Fellowship: UCSB – 2019-20 academic year.
  • Academic Senate Outstanding Teaching Associate Award (nominated): UCSB – 2018-19 academic year.
  • Dissertation Fellowship Quarter: UCSB – 2018-19 academic year
  • History Department Travel Grant: UCSB – 2018
  • Graduate Student Association: Outstanding Teacher’s Associate Award (nominated): UCSB – 2017 – 2018 academic year
  • History Associates Award: UCSB – 2014
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Social Science M.A. program: CSUSB – 2013.
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award for College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: CSUSB – 2013
  • Outstanding Thesis Award for College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: CSUSB – 2013
  • UCSB History Associates Award: 2014
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Social Science M.A. program: 2013 CSUSB Social Science program.
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award for College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: 2013 CSUSB College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
  • Outstanding Thesis Award for College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: 2013 CSUSB College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
  • Student Research and Travel Award: 2012 CSUSB Graduate Dept.
  • Presidential Scholarship for academic achievement: 1999-2003 University of Redlands scholarship, Financial Aid Office.

Other Academic Service:

  • UCSB Writing Program graduate student research assistant – Fall 2020
  • UCSB history department: South Asian historian hiring committee. 2017-2018
  • UCSB: Ancient Borderland RFG co-organizer: 2013-14
  • UCSB: African Studies member RFG 2013-2018
  • UCSB: The Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy member: 2013-2018
  • CSUSB History in the Making Journal Editor: 2011-2013

Professional Affiliations:

  • Conference on College Composition and Communication
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • Member of African Studies Association
  • Member of American Historical Association
  • Member of Phi Alpha Theta