Bridging the Ivory Tower Professional History, Scholarship, and Public Engagement in Ghana

  • Daniel E.K. Baku
  • Nana Yaw B. Sapong
  • Cyrelene Amoah-Boampong


History as a subject has been studied and taught for centuries but professional history became a serious endeavor only at the turn of the twentieth century. Its practice in Ghana took longer, awaiting two events to take place. The first was the establishment of the University College of the Gold Coast in 1948. The second was an acceptance of African history as a legitimate and independent field of inquiry in the discipline in the 1960s and 1970s. The Department of History was one of the earliest departments of the University College, and by the mid-1950s, it was providing the required training for the public services, business and industry. The teaching of history has been of high quality since 1948, starting with Mrs. B. Hamilton and J. Fage, and later with A. Boahen, I. Tufuor, and R. Addo-Fening. In terms of scholarship, the works of Boahen, Daaku, van Dantzig, Addo-Fening, Odotei, Perbi and others have made the University of Ghana famous. However, in the 1980s, due to an abysmal economic performance, and the resultant harsh measures adopted to revive the Ghanaian economy, the department and university went through a period of decline. Recovery in the 1990s was slow and laborious. At the turn of the twenty-first century, difficult challenges still exist but progressive efforts have been made to restore the department to its world-class status. The process of recovery has been guided by the twin pillars on which the department was founded: high quality teaching and scholarship and an attempt to bridge the gap between the proverbial “Ivory Tower” of academe and the wider community of scholars and citizens.


Gold Coast Historical Society Cocoa Farmer Traditional Ruler Guinea Coast 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel E.K. Baku
    • 1
  • Nana Yaw B. Sapong
    • 1
  • Cyrelene Amoah-Boampong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of GhanaLegonGhana

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