Wallace Teska

B.A. in History, Columbia University, 2016
Graduate Student

Wallace Teska is a historian of West Africa with broad interests in histories of law, gender, religion, slavery, and the environment. Employing written and oral sources in Arabic, Bamanankan/Jula, and French, his in-progress dissertation analyzes the development of state and non-state law in a transnational region spanning present-day Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Mali. Wallace’s work explores the entanglements and contradictions of indigenous, religious, and colonial forms of “justice,” drawing attention to how ordinary people have navigated and shaped West Africa’s legal landscape over the past two centuries. Before his graduate studies, Wallace served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Benin and worked as a legal analyst at an international law firm in New York.

Wallace’s research has been supported by, among others, the Fulbright Program, the American Society for Legal History, the West African Research Association, and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. In Summer 2022, he was a Summer Academy Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory in Frankfurt, Germany. In AY 2022-23 he is undertaking fieldwork and archival research in Guinea, Senegal, Italy, and France. Wallace’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in multiple publications, including the African Studies Review and the Journal of African History.