Jessica Reuther
Jessica Reuther
Assistant Professor of History
Curriculum Vitae


Room:BB 234

Dr. Reuther is an assistant professor of history and a teaching affiliate in the African American Studies program. She joined Ball State in Fall 2016 after completing her PhD in African History at Emory University. She specializes in the history of West Africa and the Atlantic world, gender and sexuality, and colonial law. She is currently working on her first book manuscript Fostering Trust: A History of Girlhood and Social Motherhood in West Africa. It is a history of girlhood from the seventeenth to the twentieth century in the kingdom and then the colony of Dahomey, the modern-day Republic of Bénin. The book focuses on the practice of girl fostering known as entrusting, a phenomenon whereby Dahomean parents commonly transferred their daughters at a young age into foster homes. Girl entrustment created complex relationships of mutual obligation and caregiving that also exploited girls’ labor for the economic benefit of the women who acted as their social mothers. For the project, she has conducted research across the Francophone world in Benin, Senegal, France, and Switzerland along with research in the United States.