Christopher Conte graduated with a BA in history from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in 1981. He subsequently served for two years as a US Peace Corps Volunteer teaching high school English and history in Narok, Kenya. His experiences in eastern Africa evolved into an intense scholarly interest in the study of African history and landscape. Conte subsequently earned MAs in International Affairs and in Linguistics from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and a PhD in African history at Michigan State University. His research has examined environmental history of eastern Africa from the perspective of agroecological change, forest history, the formation of national parks, and the history of science.