Jonathan E. Robins is Associate Professor of Global History at Michigan Technology University. He earned his PhD in history at the University of Rochester in 2010 and taught at Morgan State University before joining the faculty at Michigan Tech in 2012.
Robins is author of the award-winning Oil Palm: a Global History (UNC Press, 2016), the first comprehensive study of the world’s most important oil crop. Based research spanning 500 years and four continents, the book tells the story of how palm oil became the world’s most important edible oil and how the oil palm tree that makes it has transformed lives and landscapes.
His first book, Cotton and Race across the Atlantic, was published by the University of Rochester Press in 2016. Based on government archives, newspapers, and often-overlooked business records, the book examines the failure of British colonial cotton growing projects in sub-Saharan Africa, and highlights the ways in which Americans–and especially African Americans–influenced events in Africa.
Robins teaches courses in world history, global studies, and the history of capitalism and industry.