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In one of the four lookout towers at the old Spanish fort–the Castillo de San Marcos–in St. Augustine, Florida (2016)

My name is Devin Leigh, and  I am a PhD History student and teacher’s assistant at the University of California Davis in Yolo County, California. The Zamani Reader (abbreviated as TZR) is a blog that I created in 2014 to be a free and open forum for sharing my academic work in the field of History. This work focuses on the history of Atlantic Africa, the West Indies, and the British Empire in the early-modern period.

Logo for The Zamani Reader
Logo for The Zamani Reader ©

I first created TZR on Saturday afternoon, February 1, 2014. It grew out of my experience writing posts for a  different blog, called The Lakefront Historian, when I was an master’s student at Loyola University Chicago (LUC). The History Department at LUC has a special strength in the field of Public History. This is the study of the production of history specifically for and generally in collaboration with the public. Although I do not identify as a public historian, my experiences at LUC taught me the value of sharing my academic work as widely as possible, and of striving to become a model for the type of scholarship that I want to see more of in the world. For me, this means scholarship that is free, accessible, transparent, collaborative, multi-media, and relevant to interests outside of academia. Of course, I do not always meet this standard. Nonetheless, TZR is my attempt to share as much of my work as possible with a wider community or learners.

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Researching in the archives of the West India Committee at Clutha House in Westminster, London, England, 2017

Please feel free to browse TZR. I think you will find that the site features a wide variety of content. Since the blog’s inception, I have written posts about History in a variety of formats, including academic book reviews and précis, personal reflections, notable quotes, news and announcements, class lectures, interviews, recommended resources, links to online materials, bibliographies, and feature-length articles. The featured articles have ranged from research prospectuses to bibliographical essays, historiographies, and research papers. Please Keep in mind that TZR is an ever-evolving project. Many of the pages are still in development. If you have any comments about TZR, including suggestions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me through the “Contact” page. Thanks for visiting!