Sixty Years of Service in Africa: The U.S. Peace Corps in Cameroon
by Dr. Julius A. Amin
Based on previously unused primary sources obtained from both sides of the Atlantic, this study provides a more fundamental, consistent, and balanced source-based assessment of the role of the US Peace Corps across its entire existence in Africa. The study sheds light on a new and intriguing historical perspective of the Peace Corps’ meaning and significance. Though the main thrust is Cameroon, the study offers a window to understanding Peace Corps performance in all of Africa, and the larger global community. It examines volunteers’ service in countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, and Guinea, showing how the agency transitioned from a Cold War agency to the Post-Cold War era, while asking important questions about the continuous relevance of Peace Corps in Africa.
In addressing the topic, the book goes beyond the Peace Corps and delves into America’s “Achilles heels,” which was the culture of anti-black racism, showing how it impacted US foreign policy in the post-World War II era. The book delves into modernization theories showing how those ideas shaped the creation of the Peace Corps, but ultimately contributed to the agency’s problems. The book questions the Peace Corps’ effectiveness as a development organization and much more. Yet for all the agency’s problems, the Peace Corps served as a rite of passage for returned Volunteers to make everlasting contributions to American life and society.
This book contributes to modern African and American studies, and to diplomatic history.
Dr. Julius A. Amin is professor in the Department of History. During his tenure at the University of Dayton, he has taught a variety of courses in the area of African and African American History. He has taught introductory history courses of The West and the World and Introduction to Global Historical Studies. He served for eight years as Chairperson of the Department of History and five years as Endowed Chair in Humanities where he organized the annual Global Voices Symposium. For over two decades, he led the University of Dayton Cameroon Immersion Program, and facilitated faculty travel to Ghana and Togo in 2018 and 2019. He was a co-founder of the Africana Studies Minor and coordinated it for over a decade.
He is a recipient of many awards including the Marjorie Kovler Research Fellowship awarded by the John F. Kennedy Foundation, Alumni Award for Faculty Scholarship, University of Dayton and the College of Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Scholarship, University of Dayton. He is the editor of The Journal of African Policy Studies. His opinion essays have appeared in many outlets including The Conversation, Newsweek, News 24, All Africa, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Dayton Daily News, Salon, Mail & Guardian, eNCA, US News & World Report and Africa.com.