Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2020
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Nkrumahist Scholars and the Global Development of the Study of Africa, 1966 to 1992

My dissertation examines the roles that intellectuals inspired by Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, in transforming and frequently radicalizing the study of Africa in academic and intellectual centers around the Atlantic. Rather than going into decline after Nkrumah's ouster in 1966, Nkrumahist intellectuals in Ghana and elsewhere in the Diaspora sought to foreground the struggles of Africans and peoples of African descent for political, social, and economic independence within academic scholarship. In doing so, these intellectuals moved away from the more Ghana-centric focus of scholarship produced in Ghana between 1957 to 1966—ironically the period when Nkrumah was directly supporting pan-Africanist research. Forced to think conceptually outside of Ghana, they adopted a more regional and global scope. These scholars interacted with other intellectuals in countries within Africa and across the Atlantic to adapt Nkrumah's pan-Africanist vision to local realities. Through archival and oral research it seeks to trace the networks that these scholars established and the role of those networks in facilitating this shift in their intellectual focus. Within Africa, I focus specifically on their work at the Dakar-based African Institute of Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), a pan-African organization that the United Nations created in 1962. In the diaspora, I trace their role in shaping Black Studies programs in the US and political and cultural projects to foment Black consciousness in Latin America and the Caribbean (specifically in Grenada and Suriname). These collective efforts helped knit a new type of pan-Africanism that took Africa and its diaspora seriously as a terrain of unified political action and intellectual research. The role of this network in these crucial transnational intellectual shifts has not been recognized, nor has their relevance for understanding Ghana's experiences after 1966.