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The political struggles that delivered the first wave of independent Caribbean nation states are often retrospectively characterised under the banner of nationalism, but it is important to acknowledge the diversity of ideologies and affiliations that were involved in the transition towards non-colonial sovereignty. This chapter explores the role that writers and imaginative writings played in shaping alternative political imaginaries in the Anglophone Caribbean region from the 1920s to the 1960s. Its arguments expand the terrain of literary nationalisms beyond the now canonical fictions of male Windrush generation novelists writing at the mid-century. It attends to the nascent nationalism invoked by literary projects at the turn of the century, considers the role assigned to the writer in the short-lived project of Anglophone regional Federation between 1958 and 1962 that predated the constitution of nation states, and explores how Pan-African and Black Atlantic movements powerfully shaped the decolonial literary imagination in the early twentieth century. It also acknowledges the crucial role that women played in male-centred histories and politically engaged literary traditions.
W. E. B. Du Bois was one of the most significant American political thinkers of the twentieth century. This volume collects 24 of his essays and speeches on international themes, spanning the years 1900-1956. These key texts reveal Du Bois's distinctive approach to the problem of empire and demonstrate his continued importance in our current global context. The volume charts the development of Du Bois's anti-imperial thought, drawing attention to his persistent concern with the relationship between democracy and empire and illustrating the divergent inflections of this theme in the context of a shifting geopolitical terrain; unprecedented political crises, especially during the two world wars; and new opportunities for transnational solidarity. With a critical introduction and extensive editorial notes, W.E.B. Du Bois: International Thought conveys both the coherence and continuity of Du Bois's international thought across his long life and the tremendous range and variety of his preoccupations, intellectual sources, and interlocutors.
Drawing on interviews and archival and published materials, Gyamfi reinterprets Anani Dzidzienyo’s significance as a Black Studies scholar and activist. Dzidzienyo was a pioneer in academic African diaspora studies who institutionalized the inclusion of Africa and Brazil. For fifty years, Dzidzienyo created Black Studies and Afro-Latin American programs, designed Afro-Brazilian courses that expanded Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, and supported freedom struggles in Africa and Brazil. In so doing, he built a transnational network of scholar-activists and institutions. Yet, for all this, scholars have mostly neglected Dzidzienyo’s work and wide influence on multiple fields of study and liberation movements.
Postcolonial Ghana faced many challenges, which led to a hunt for saboteurs of Black liberation epitomized in anti-Americanism. In 1964, Adger Emerson Player, an African American, rescued the United States flag from a Ghanaian anti-American demonstration. The differing interpretations of Player’s deed by Ghanaians and Americans reveal the contestation between racial and national identities, which is also a facet of the broader diasporic African identity dilemmas. Amoh examines this incident within the context of post-independence Ghana and the U.S. Civil Rights struggle to highlight the complexity of diasporic Africans’ relations with Africa and ongoing debates on the substance of pan-Africanism and global Blackness.
The First Congress of Black Culture of the Americas, held in Cali, Colombia, in August 1977 and organized by Afro-Colombian intellectual Manuel Zapata Olivella, was the first Pan-Africanist conference held in Latin America. This paper examines the obstacles Afro-Latin American activists faced in organizing a racially defined event and analyzes how they articulated their own interpretations of black radical politics. It shows that a Pan-Africanist event in Latin America had to account for ideologies of racial harmony and mixture. Observers throughout the region mobilized these ideas to discredit the First Congress as a racist and illegitimate threat to mestizo nationhood. Afro-Latin American activists used it as a platform to debate and denounce ideologies of racial harmony and mixture which many argued cloaked racism and impeded black mobilization. However, for many of the delegates engaging with black radical politics did not imply an absolute rejection of these ideas, but instead highlighted the varying ways in which Afro-Latin American activists understood and contested these concepts in the 1970s. Many Afro-Latin American delegates, even those who were openly critical of ideologies of racial harmony, called for multiracial forms of solidarity and expressed support for culturally mixed visions of the nation-state.
Building on Achille Mbembe’s A Critique of Black Reason and Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic, emerging respectively from a francophone and anglophone tradition of Black critique, this chapter focuses on the profound importance of Blackness in the history of globalisation. Both writers argue Blackness needs to be understood in ‘worlded’ terms, with transnational dimensions and local inscriptions, and an emphasis on the interrelatedness of the world – its ‘systematic’ character. Moreover, each recognizes that in its engagement with imperialism, racialization, and the radical redefinition of subjectivity effected by capitalist modernity, Black writing pre-emptively grasps the spirit of globalization. As with the ‘one and unequal’ world literary system, Blackness shares a common basis in European colonialism and transatlantic slavery, but is also uneven, context-specific and immensely mutable, prohibiting any ‘total’ comprehension. Distilling a complex history into certain key topic areas, the chapter examines the significant international dimension of Black literary movements; the worlded and anti-colonial articulations of Blackness found in Négritude and the writing of Frantz Fanon; shifting Blackness in a neoliberal global order; and the afterlife and representational challenges of the foundational ‘world-system’ of slavery.
The Introduction situates the book’s themes in three different debates. First, it situates the question of Senegal’s decolonization in a debate about non-national futures as they were imagined by Negritude and Pan-African thinkers at the time of decolonization. Although these non-national futures have now become unthinkable, this book demonstrates that they are remembered as futures past in Senegal’s colonial heritage sites. Second, it situates the interpretation of Senegal’s cultural heritage in a debate about the legacy of Léopold Sédar Senghor’s Negritude. Senegal’s politics of heritagization are indebted to the Negritude philosophy of Senegal’s first president, whose politics of heritage were aimed at the reclamation of African dignity and respect, promising liberation through recuperation. Hence, this book situates the reclamation of African heritage in a temporality of return and frames cultural heritage as a technique of repair. Third, it situates the reclamation of African heritage in debates about world heritage, arguing that Senghor’s archiving project and support for UNESCO’s World Heritage List constituted parallel heritage projects pointing towards the decolonization of world heritage. The book posits that decolonization as envisioned by UNESCO and Senghor is a project to repair the traumas of modernity.
Senegal features prominently on the UNESCO World Heritage List. As many of its cultural heritage sites are remnants of the French empire, how does an independent nation care for the heritage of colonialism? How does it reinterpret slave barracks, colonial museums, and monuments to empire to imagine its own national future? This book examines Senegal's decolonization of its cultural heritage. Revealing how Léopold Sédar Senghor's philosophy of Négritude inflects the interpretation of its colonial heritage, Ferdinand de Jong demonstrates how Senegal's reinterpretation of heritage sites enables it to overcome the legacies of the slave trade, colonialism, and empire. Remembering and reclaiming a Pan-African future, De Jong shows how World Heritage sites are conceived as the archive of an Afrotopia to come, and, in a move towards decolonization, how they repair colonial time.
This article analyzes and narrates the history of a clandestine propaganda project known as the Loyal African Brothers series. At the height of the Cold War, African leaders of public opinion received unsolicited leaflets from a group styled the Freedom for Africa Movement (FFAM). Addressed to ‘our Loyal African Brothers,’ the leaflets decried Communist penetration of Africa by connecting topical regional and global events with local histories meant to resonate with an African readership. Unknown to the recipients was that the leaflets were in reality a fabrication of the British Foreign Office’s clandestine propaganda arm, the Information Research Department. Examining the content and distribution of the series, this article uses newly declassified documents to situate Loyal African Brothers within a global ecosystem of Cold War propaganda, decolonization, and print culture. In doing so, it positions Africa as a key battleground in the cultural front of the Global Cold War.
In the early 1960s, when a majority of African countries were gaining independence, the training of personnel capable of implementing nation-building projects became imperative for new African governments, even though higher education opportunities on the continent remained scarce. In a context of competition with the former colonial powers and the USSR, the United States decided to set up scholarship programs for the training of postcolonial African elites. Through the analysis of one of these programs, the African Scholarship Program of American Universities (ASPAU), this article will show that in addition to the Cold War motivations of the US government, pan-African connections and university initiatives were essential in laying the groundwork for the project of educating Africans in the United States. It also highlights the too often overlooked role played by African leaders and academics in the concrete realization, reappropriation, and questioning of overseas training projects.
The bulk of African peacekeeping is funded externally, particularly by Western powers. Indeed, some African peacekeeping missions have been unable to get off the ground – literally – without logistical and other support from beyond the continent. This has led some commentators to argue that African peacekeeping is not, in fact, 'owned' by Africa. This claim is explored and challenged in this chapter. The authors begin by unpacking and historicising the concept of Pan-Africanism, a language often marshalled by African governments to explain and interpret their involvement in peacekeeping but also a discourse which can obscure as much as it reveals. The chapter then looks in greater depth at the funding and governance of African peacekeeping missions, looking in particular at the bureaucratic politics at the heart of the African Union. The chapter concludes by problematising the linking of financial support to lack of ownership in the context of peacekeeping, underscoring the various ways in which African states and governments exercise agency in the peacekeeping sphere despite their dependence upon external funding.
The chapter positions the revolutionary African theorist Amílcar Cabral as part of a Tricontinental generation that believed coordinated, parallel liberation struggles would erase inequalities between Global North and South. A dedicated nationalist, he viewed socialism as a toolkit for evaluating and challenging the international system. His party, the African Party for the Independence of Guiné and Cabo Verde (PAIGC), combined armed revolt and social reconstruction in an attempt to erase the economic inequalities and racism central to Euro-American imperialism. As the PAIGC became enmeshed in diverse solidarity networks that sustained its war, Cabral refined his ideology to better explain his party’s position at the intersection of Third World anti-imperial traditions, international socialism, and Pan-Africanism. Identarian and ideological frictions hampered the movement, but PAIGC philosophy legitimized the creation of an inclusive revolutionary coalition and proved effective at building solidarity in North and South. As a result, Cabral became a leading political theorist of revolution and anti-imperialism, placing him in the foundational canon of the Tricontinental movement.
This chapter explores the ways that key black intellectuals from the United States and the French imperial nation-state sought to configure the relationships between racial and national belonging and political access to citizenship rights in the immediate aftermath of World War I. While being black meant something different in the respective contexts of the US and France, a shared sense of exclusion on the basis of race brought these thinkers together. More often than not, they also agreed with the United States' President Wilson's vision of the right to self-determination as the province of civilized men, and their activism during this period was motived by a desire to demonstrate that ethnicity was neither a marker of civilizational capacity nor of nationality. Such consensus did not automatically translate to transnational activism nor to international black solidarity.
This chapter focuses on the critical moments in which institutional Communism as well as Marxist thinking brought activists and thinkers from the French Empire and the United States into contact as they fought to gain rights within their respective national contexts. Disenchanted with the promises of Wilsonian self-determination and the gap between the promise and reality of Republican democracy, many black activists theorized their oppression in Marxist terms, expanding that political theory to incorporate race. Moreover, at various moments the Communist International (Comintern) and the national Communist Parties such as the Parti Communiste Français and the Communist Party of the United States of America offered financial, institutional and rhetorical support that brought black activists together. It brings together Comintern documents from the Russian State Archives of Sociopolitical History into dialogue with both French and American communist and anti-imperial publications such as Le Paria, Crusader, Le Cri des négres, and the Negro World as well as the police surveillance records such as those from the Paris Police Prefecture and the Military Intelligence Records at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Exploring the effectiveness of the use of anthologies as a discursive and theoretical platform for celebrating and registering the emergence of Caribbean feminist work, this essay surveys these publications and maps the emergence of Caribbean feminist criticism as a mode of theoretical challenge that enacted a transformative critical praxis that not only centred women’s lived experiences, but also fostered transnational alliances, dialogues and partnerships among women. In reading these texts, the essay notes how a politics of inclusion proved necessary for reclaiming and reconceptualizing Caribbean female histories and reading narratives of gendered lives, alongside an expanded focus on racialized transnational subjects that complicated a black–white paradigm. The essay argues that anthologies disrupt the centrality and singularity of authorship, authority and knowledge production.