Academic journal article African Research & Documentation

Robert Oakley Collins (1933- 2008)

Academic journal article African Research & Documentation

Robert Oakley Collins (1933- 2008)

Article excerpt

On 11 April 2008, Bob Collins-who was the leading historian of Sudan-died from cancer at the age of 75 in Santa Barbara, California.

Collins' academic accomplishments included a B.A. from Dartmouth (1956); a B.A. and MA. degrees from Balliol College (1956 and 1960); and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University (1958 and 1959). His early academic posts included Williams College, Massachusetts; and Columbia University. In 1965, he joined the History Department at the University of California-Santa Barbara. During his long career, Collins supervised thirteen Ph.D. candidates from the US and Sudan. He urged all of them to gain a sound knowledge of the country's geography in order to understand the nature of Sudan's politics and wars.

In 1994, he retired but became Professor Emeritus and continued to lecture and advise students about Sudan's history and future prospects. Additionally, he regularly lectured at academic conferences and frequently advised several governments about political developments in Sudan.

During his long career, he published scores of books and hundreds of journal articles. In 1984, Collins received the John Ben Snow Foundation Prize for his Shadows in the Grass: Britain in Southern Sudan, 1918-1956. He also received the Order of Sciences from the Democratic Republic of the Sudan (1980). Additionally, Collins served on the editorial board of The International Journal of African Historical Studies and the Journal of African Studies.

In late years, he collaborated with J. Millard Burr, a former relief coordinator for Operation Lifeline Sudan, US Agency for International Development. They produced several volumes including Africa's Thirty Years' War: Chad, Libya, and the Sudan, 1963-1993; Requiem for the Sudan: War, Drought and Disaster Relief on the Nile; Darfur: The Long Road to Disaster; Alms for the Jihad; and Revolutionary Sudan: Hassan al-Turabi and the Islamist State, 1989-2000. …

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