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Maxon, Robert M. 1939-

MAXON, Robert M. 1939-


Born December 10, 1939; son of Malcolm (a teacher) and Isabelle (a teacher) Maxon; married Felicia Ayiro (a registered nurse), July 6, 1968; children: Gertrude Grace Adhiambo, Robert Michael Mboya. Ethnicity: "Caucasian; English/Scots." Education: Duke University, B.A., 1961; Syracuse University, Ph.D., 1972.


Home—Morgantown, WV. Office—Department of History, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 6303, Morgantown, WV 26506-6303. E-mail[email protected]; [email protected]


West Virginia University, Morgantown, professor of history, 1969—, department chair, 1983-89, 1998-2004. Moi University, visiting professor, 1989-90, 1994, 1998.


African Studies Association, National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association, Historical Association of Kenya, Central West Virginia Soccer Officials Association (president, 1995-97).


Shell international fellow, 1968-69; West Virginia University, Cheikh Anta Diop Award, Center for Black Culture and Research, 1992, Benedum scholar, 1994.


John Ainsworth and the Making of Kenya, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1980.

Conflict and Accommodation in Western Kenya, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Cranbury, NJ), 1989.

(Coeditor) An Economic History of Kenya, East African Educational Publishers (Nairobi, Kenya), 1992.

Struggle for Kenya, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Cranbury, NJ), 1993.

East Africa: An Introductory History, 2nd edition, West Virginia University Press (Morgantown, WV), 1994.

(Coauthor) Historical Dictionary of Kenya, 2nd edition, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2000.

Going Their Separate Ways, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Cranbury, NJ), 2003.


Robert M. Maxon told CA: "My primary motivation for writing is an interest in the past. Since working in Kenya following graduation, I have been interested in the history of that nation. African history is a long-neglected field within the discipline, and this provides another motivation. In looking at topics and areas of interest, I have tried to focus on topics where little research has been done and regions, particularly western Kenya, where little historical work has been published. I want to choose topics that will be of interest and value to the people whose past is the focus of my work. As a secondary motivation, I am aware that academic historians need to publish so as to maintain their competence as teachers.

"My work is primarily influenced by others working within the field of history that has been my concentration. Themes reflect issues of current importance to those specialists working within that field.

"My writing process has come to emphasize the primacy of primary sources. These are important for any historian, but especially important for the historian of Africa. My most recent books were written by first developing the narrative from primary sources; then secondary works are consulted and used to complete the manuscript."

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