Brian James Yates, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Office: Barbelin 112Q
Phone: 610-660-3353

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Prof. Yates' expertise is in identity construction, Ethiopian history, The Oromo, African state building and modern African History. Yates teaches classes in modern and pre-modern African history as well as identity construction in both Africa and its diasporas. He arrived at SJU in 2013.


Ph.D., History, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Champaign, IL, 2009
• Dissertation ”Invisible Actors: The Oromo and the Creation of Modern Ethiopia”

BA, Morehouse College Atlanta, GA, History, 2002
• Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor of History, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA Fall 2013 - Present
  • Assistant Professor of History, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY Fall 2011-Spring 2013
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH Fall 2010-Spring 2011

Courses Taught

  • Historical Introduction to Modern Africa, African Diaspora Identities, African Ethnicities, Forging the Modern World
  • Historical Introduction to Pre-Modern African History, Conflict and Consensus in the Horn of Africa (planned for Fall 2016) 


  • “Ethnicity as a Hindrance for Understanding Ethiopian History: Preliminary Notes from the 19th Century.” (accepted pending revisions in History in Africa) 
  • “From hated to Häbäsha: Oromo identity shifts in Wällo and Shäwa during the late nineteenth century” African Identities vol. 13:4 (2015)
  • “Christian Patriot or Oromo Traitor?: The Ethiopian State in the Memories of Ras Gobäna Dach’é” Northeast African Studies vol. 13:2 (2013)
  • “From White Males to Black Females: Understanding the National Bodies of Ethiopia (1896-1936)” Journal of Black Studies vol. 44:1 (2013) 
  • “Acculturation in the Däga: Local Negotiations in Amhara/ Oromo Relations” International Journal of Ethiopian Studies vol. 5:2 (2011)
  • “Invisible Matter: ‘Galla’ in the European and Ethiopian Imagination" Journal of Oromo Studies vol. 16: 2 (2009)
  • “Review of Reminiscences of My Life, by Emmanuel Abraham” Northeast African Studies 12:1 (2012)
  • “Review of A History of the Hadiyya of Southern Ethiopia, by Ulrich Braukämper” Northeast African Studies 12:2 (2014)

Grants and Awards

  • Faculty Travel Grant St. Joseph's University (2015)
  • Travel Grant, Marist College (2013) Travel Grant, Marist College (2012)
  • Travel Grant, Marist College (2011)
  • Powers Travel Grant, Oberlin College (2010)
  • Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Oberlin College (2009-2011)
  • SSRC Dissertation Completion Grant, (2008-9)
  • University of Illinois Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2007-8)
  • Mellon Mays Research Grant (2005 and 2006)
  • Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship Academic Year, University of Illinois (2004-5)
  • Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship, University of Illinois (Summers 2004)
  • Graduate College Under-Represented Students Fellowship, University of Illinois (2003-4)
  • Competitive Doctoral Enrichment Fellowship 4 year Fellowship at Michigan State University (2002 – 3)
  • United Negro College Fund Mellon Fellow, Morehouse College (2001-2)


  • “The Other Häbäsha: The Northern Oromo in the Creation of Modern Ethiopia: 1855-1916” Book manuscript
  • To Close for Comfort: The Struggles of the Oromo Studies and the HBCU Study of Africa Article
  • “21st Century Race Man: Reginald Hudlin’s Black Panther”
  • British Fillings in the Ethiopian Dabbo: 19th century British Notions and Uses of Ethiopian Identities.