Tony Yeboah, Tulane University

Tony Yeboah

SLA Faculty Fellow of African Art History
309 Woldenberg Art Center


Ph.D. Yale University, African History


Tony Yeboah is an expert on the histories of architecture and the built environment of West Africa. His research centers the city of Kumase, capital of the Asante Kingdom, in modern Ghana, where he was born and raised. Tony received his doctoral training in African history at Yale University. Before his departure from Yale, he served as the coordinator for the Council on African Studies Working Group and Community Engagement.

Tony’s first book project, The Capital City of Trees: West African Ontology of Space in the Making of Kumase, 1650-present, demonstrates how the respect for nature and societal values inspired autochthonous design, planning, and building of Kumase. Since British colonial rule in the nineteenth century, this city has become known as the “garden city” of West Africa, the European urban plan in which communities were designed around greenbelts. This description is misleading, as it creates the impression of a colonial, top-down approach that eclipses local inventiveness. Thus, The Capital City of Trees highlights West African agents, worldviews, and creativity that produced the form of the city in its early life under local administrative structure, which would become foundational to the transformation that emerged under colonial and postcolonial periods. Reconstructing the story of Kumase from its vernacular planning design is key to unearthing new frameworks for understanding the urban past, including, for instance, how metaphysical concepts influenced the making of the built environment in West Africa while opening up new possibilities for researching and writing histories of cities around the world.

In addition, Tony is an active public scholar, who has published in several popular venues and collaborated with organizations such as the Wallace Collection Museum in London, United Kingdom, to provide resources on African art and architecture to publics outside of the academy.

Tony’s research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship, and several other departments within Yale University such as the MacMillan Center, the Council on African Studies, and the Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration. He is a contributor to the OER (Open Educational Resources), a project of the Gates Ventures. Tony is the author and co-author of several peer-reviewed chapters and articles, which appeared in James Currey press, History in Africa, Journal of West African History, History Education Research Journal, Global Nineteenth-Century Studies, and popular outlets such as the Conversation, and Nursing Clio.


Journal Articles (Selected)

2022: “Kumase, The Garden City”, Global Nineteenth-Century Studies, Vol. 1, Number 1, (Illustrated essay)

2019: “Phoenix Rise: A History of the Architectural Reconstruction of the Burnt City of Kumase, 1874-1960,” Journal of West African History, Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp. 113-139.

2019: “We Should Have Maintained This Unity, Then There Would Be More Development, Lessons from a Pop-Up Museum of the Fante Confederation” History in Africa, Vol. 46, pp. 195-216 (with Trevor Getz and Lindsay Ehrisman)

Book Chapter

2022: “Asantean Noumena: The Politics and Imaginary Reconstruction of the Asante Palace”, (in Joanne Tomkinson, Daniel Mulugeta and Julia Gallagher eds. Architecture and Politics in Africa: Making, Living, and Imagining Identities through Building, Oxford: James Currey, pp. 191-209

Public-Facing Scholarship (Selected)

2022: “Asante Gold at the Wallace Collection Museum”, The Wallace Collection, Asante_Gold_TN_Latest_1, 2022, (with the Wallace Collection Learning Team):

2021: “Juneteenth: An African-American Celebration with Global Significance”, OER Project Blog:

2020: “Architecting a ‘New Normal’?: Past Pandemics and the Medicine of Urban Planning”, Nursing Clio. (with Nate Plageman and Jennifer Hart):

2020: “Urban planning needs to look back: three cities in Ghana show why”, The Conversation. (with Jennifer Hart and Nate Plageman):


  • Introduction to African Art and Visual Culture
  • Art and Architecture in the Era of Enslavement: Bondage and Resistance