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Séminaire 2016-2017 "Pan-africanism beyond the 1960s : intellectual history & political practices" (CIRHUS, New York University)

Le 25 janvier 2017 à 15h30

Séminaire automne 2016 - printemps 2017
Pan-africanism beyond the 1960s
Intellectual history & political practices

CIRHUS, NYU History Department, NYU Africa-Diaspora Forum
New York University, Dean’s Conference Room,
CIRHUS, 2nd Floor, 4 Washington Square North
New York, NY 10003

A joint seminar organized for CIRHUS
by Jean-Philippe DEDIEU & Pauline GUEDJ
in partnership with NYU Africa-Diaspora Forum
coordinated by Professor Michael GOMEZ and Alaina MORGAN

Co-sponsors : CIRHUS, NYU History Department, NYU Africa-Diaspora Forum

Dean’s Conference Room, CIRHUS, 2nd Floor, 4 Washington Square North Each session : 12:30 pm - 02:00 pm

The idea of Pan-Africanism was elaborated by intellectuals and activists since the 18th century on all sides of the Atlantic. Spreading across the African continent since the beginning of the 20th century, it has been central to the establishment of relationships of solidarity between Africans and Afro-descendants in the Americas and in Europe. It has acted as a significant political tool in both the struggles for independence on the continent and in the liberation movements that emerged at the heart of the diaspora, such as the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power. In the literature, the golden age of Pan-Africanism is often dated to the 1960s and 1970s. The decade of the 1960s was, for instance, one in which the Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah, after having received his education in universities in the UK and the United States, launched his famous call for union : Africa must unite. The 1970s experienced the great Pan-African cultural festivals that cemented relationships between artists in Africa and the Americas. Since this era however, Pan-Africanism is often considered as having experienced a period of decline, characterized by the difficulties that the African Union has had in acting on the international stage, by the numerous conflicts that have arisen on the continent, and by the emergence in the Americas and Europe of new trends in political struggles that have undermined their historical international connections.

Questioning this process of decline, the participants in this seminar, engaged in contextualized research focused on the African continent and/or the diaspora, share the view that Pan-Africanism remains a force decidedly present in contemporary Black political movements. Moreover, they consider it as having been prevalent in the identification processes set in motion by some of those in Africa and the Americas since the 1970s. Far from believing in the death of Pan-Africanism, they note its presence in discourse and its use in the efforts being carried out by various parties to establish transnational relations between Africa, the Americas and Europe. In doing so, our seminar proposes the use of focused case studies in order to examine the changes in Pan-Africanism since the 1970s and the contemporary realities of this ideology. Which individuals and organizations make reference to Pan-Africanism ? How do they define the concept, and what tangible effects do they attribute to it ? What forms of solidarity and conflict arise due to the call for Pan-African unity ? What is the nature of the relationships that Pan-Africanism, as a political ideology, forms with various social aspects such as the arts, religion and the media ?

SESSION # 1 November 4, 2016

Maboula SOUMAHORO Université Blaise Pascal, Bennington College

Black French Matters : Afrodiasporic Practices in the Land of Colorblindness

SESSION # 2 January 27, 2017

Jean-Philippe DEDIEU CIRHUS, New York University & Aïssatou MBODJ-POUYE IMAF, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Révolution Afrique : Pan-Africanism from Below in the 1970s in Post-Colonial Paris

"Active from 1972 to 1977, the radical leftist political group ’Révolution Afrique’ was founded in the aftermath of global 1968 social movements. From its base in Paris, it endeavored to frame a revolutionary activism to contest ‘neocolonial’ ideologies and policies in both France and Africa. Against a backdrop of increasingly restrictive immigration policies in France, and with African single-party and authoritarian regimes as its main targets, its African and French militants mobilized, until its interdiction by the French government, for political causes in Africa and in France. By tracing the rise and fall of this organization through extensive archival research and interviews conducted on both sides of the Mediterranean, we intend to challenge established chronologies and junctures, emphasize the late decolonization of immigration and explore the nature and scope of transnational political processes spanning former metropolis and colonies."

Please RSVP by January 25 at

February 27, 2017

New York University

Memories of Malcolm X :
Pan-Africanism, Islam and Transnational Black Activism in 20th Century London, 1982-1995

March 20, 2017

Assistant Professor, Trinity College

A Motorcycle Journey in Africa :
Robert F. Williams and the Limits of Pan-Africanism, 1968-1970

April 3, 2017

Alison OKUDA
New York University

“Towards a United Black Front” :
The Cultural Practice of Pan-Africanism in London

April 24, 2017

Geoffrey TRAUGH
New York University

A Nation Cannot Be Bought :
Nationhood and Neocolonialism in Decolonization-era Malawi

Un grand merci à Jean-Philippe Dedieu ( pour le signalement de ce séminaire :