Guest Lecturer: Ernest Allen, Professor, W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
ABSTRACT: This lecture shall examine the history of Pan-Africanism from a Diasporic perspective, for the most part, framed by more generalized African American attitudes towards Africa from the late-19th century onward. In its broadest sense, the term Pan-Africanism invokes the solidarity of all peoples of African descent wherever they may reside; in its narrowest interpretation such solidarity has aimed for the unification of the African continent alone. Confounding any easy categorizations on our part is the fact that Pan-Africanist sentiment has often been indistinguishable from nationalist outpourings in Africa as well as the Diaspora. The phenomenon known as Ethiopianism further muddies the conceptual boundaries. From the turn of the 19th century onward, African-American feelings towards contemporary Africa slowly began to warm as ignorance of the continent gave way to more enlightened reflection. Although Garveyism did much to change Black American and West Indian attitudes towards Africa in the post-World War I era, the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 helped crystallize black popular support for an esteemed African country in unprecedented ways. Following World War II, the confluence of the Civil Rights Movement and African decolonization fueled Pan-Africanist sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic as Africans and African Americans alike moved towards formal freedom.
OUTLINE/GUIDE FOR STUDENTS:
African American Attitudes Towards Africa
Imanuel Geiss, "Du Bois and the Pan-African Conference Movement," in The Pan-African Movement; A History of Pan-Africanism in America, Europe, and Africa, trans. Ann Keep (New York: Africana Pub. Co., 1974), chpt. 12: 229-62.
Penny M. Von Eschen, "The Making of the Politics of the African Diaspora," in Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997), chpt. 1: 7-21.