Wallace Teska is a historian of West Africa with broad interests in histories of law, gender, labor, 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 dissertation research has been supported by both a Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship and a Fulbright-IIE Research Grant, as well as funding from, among others, the West African Research Association, the American Society for Legal History, and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. In 2022, he was a Summer Academy Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory in Frankfurt, Germany. In academic year 2023–2024, he holds an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship from the Stanford Humanities Center. Wallace’s articles and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in multiple publications, including The Journal of African History and the African Studies Review.