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Conference Abstracts

Between Afrocentricity and Afrolatinidad: Identity Construction as a Revolutionary Practice

Ashley D. Aaron

Africana Studies Department, Race and Resistance Studies Program, College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University

This research interrogates and examines emerging perspectives and understandings of Afro-Latina/o identity construction in the African Diaspora. Using the United States as a diasporic space of departure, this study pushes the paradigm of both Afrocentric and Afro-Latina/o scholarship by arguing that the construction and privileging of these identities which actively acknowledge and take pride in African ancestry, aesthetics, and culture is one that is both transformative and counter-hegemonic. Dominant narratives of Afro-Latina/o identity have limited their focus to how African-descended peoples from Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean have denied or attempted to silence their ‘Blackness’. This project however, argues that recently emerging constructions of Afrolatinidad are beginning to disturb this notion. In ever increasing numbers, Afro-Latina/o Americans are using identity expression as a way to recenter their cultural histories and experiences as afrodescendientes. To claim and center an Africana identity, in a world which seeks to vilify, malign, and erase the presence of Blackness – is a profoundly revolutionary concept. This revolutionary practice of understanding identity is most evident in that it claims visibility, restores agency, interrupts dominant ideologies, and reclaims history.

Analysis of Forms and Instruments in Bembe Music: A Study of Obafemi Owode, L.G. Abeokuta Ogun State

Oni Abayomi

Department of Music, Waterman College, Nigeria

Music is an essential element of human life which is entrenched in the culture of the people, mostly in African societies. This paper seeks to focus on musical forms and instruments in Bembe Music of the people of Obefemi Owode local government of Abeokuta in Ogun State. In West Africa, Bembe Orisha means "party spirit and this music is characterized by the Yoruba people of Obafemi Owode and is best known for an extremely advanced drumming tradition, especially using the Bembe hourglass tension drums. This style of music has become the most prominent kind in Abeokuta Ogun State and it is also performed in Cuba for Lucumi religious practice. Bembe drums have tremendous influence in structure and rhythmic movement of Bembe music which is constantly used as a means of expression, entertainment and mostly for worship of deities, this paper will analyze the basic forms of Bembe music and the functions of the instruments during performance. However, some elements such as the historical background of the people and their gods (ORISHA), elements of music such as rhythmic patterns of the music, language, melodic structure of the music will also be discussed.

African Muslims in Diaspora

L.O. Abbas

Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

African diaspora is a phenomenal history of primordial occurrence ostensibly buried alive in a shallow grave. Its seeming resurrection in contemporary time has become a reality seeking a global attention. One of the flying wings of that reality which can never be clipped is religion. Being a diehard cultural pivot, religion connotes different things to different people at different times. It is the totality of life to the average living majority of African Muslims in diaspora. Religion, especially Islam, in contemporary time, has become a form of science that requires a concentrate study by all and sundry. This is because religion has graduated from its hitherto personal status into an interpersonal one with global security implications. Most people now see the unfortunate incident of terrorism that occurred in United States on September 11, 2001 as the genesis of the current global Islamic radicalism. This view totally contradicts historical facts as it undermines the real cause of today’s religious restiveness around the world. More than a decade before the US terrorism incident, there had been a signal pointing towards a possible religious turbulence at the dawn of the 21st century. But the signal was tactically ignored and treated as a non-issue. Today, many factors, like slave trade, religious dichotomy and economic insensitivity of former colonial masters still remind Africans in diaspora of their conditions. That reminder is like a whirlwind which should be calmed to allow peace in the 21st century. The modalities to adopt for it are some of the issues to be addressed in the body of this paper.

Nigerians in Diaspora and the Challenges of Good Governance:  A Rescue Mission

Lalude Goke Abidemi, Department of Political Science and Industrial Relations, Fountain University, Nigeria

Ganiyu Rasaq Omokeji, Department of Sociology and Psychology, Fountain University, Nigeria

Nigeria is one of the African countries responding to Western pressures towards acquiring a liberal and democratic culture. Over the years, however, the nation has practiced what can be best described as jackboot democracy.  Today it is regarded as a “failing” state which needs to be saved from grip of social vices such as bad governance, insecurity, corruption, violence, militias and terrorism. More than any other, Nigerians in the Diaspora have the elements and characteristics towards saving the nation. Such Nigerians most of whom live in mature democracies in Europe and America and who are part of the development and progress in these countries have a duty to work for replicating such progress in their homeland, where ignorance and under-development is regarded as an act of providence. Modern Nigerian history is a clear case of the struggles between oligarchs and democracy. An institution that is charged with law and order which decides to breach the law no matter how “justified” creates insecurity. It has become expedient and imperative that Nigerians in Diaspora may have to form a Nigerian union with the intention of different ethnic nationalities within the Nigerian state creating room for cultural expression. This will undoubtedly contribute to a united Nigeria with one and only one ideology. It is therefore in this premise that saving the Nigerian state may undoubtedly lie in the hands of Nigerians in the Diaspora. This paper therefore examines the significance of Diaspora influence on governance and socio economic development in Nigeria.

Developing a Framework for Translating Yoruba Novels: Analysis and Synthesis of Translation Strategies in Two English Versions of D.O. Fagunwa’s Igbo Olódùmarè

Samiat Olúbùnmi Abubakre

Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Language, literature and translation in general are the “spaces” where concepts can be discussed and developed. These “spaces” also serve as vehicles to transfer the concepts across cultural borders. Thus, one of the purposes of translating Yoruba literature is to enhance cross cultural expressions of ideas, identity, tradition and culture of the people. Although there is widespread agreement about the importance of literary translation, there is still lack of consensus about the translation strategies that work for the preservation and transfer of the meanings of culture-specific notions in Yoruba novels to the English readers. While there are a large number of translation strategies for translating literary texts, their applicability and relevance to Yoruba literary texts is largely untested. This paper therefore describes an empirical study that aims to develop a framework for translating Yoruba literary texts, using two English translations of a Yoruba novel, Igbo Olódùmarè, written in 1949 by the Renowned Yoruba literary icon D.O. Fágúnwà as case studies. Gabriel Àjàdí’s (1995 / 2005) The Forest of God and Wolé Soyinka’s (2010) In the forest of Olódùmarè are chosen for the study. The research method is mainly descriptive. After a close reading and comparison of the three texts, the researcher identifies, discusses and subjects the strategies to a critical analysis to identify applicability and relevance to the selected culture-specific elements in the source text. The synthesis of the findings was used to build a framework which can serve as a practical checklist for future translation and evaluating activities.

Colonial Existence, Home, and Nationalism Among ex-British Cameroons’ Exiles in the United States

Fonkem Achankeng I

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh


This article explores the personal meanings and public expressions of colonial existence, home and nationalism among exiles of British Cameroons from the standpoints of eleven biographies of British Southern Cameroons’ first-generation exiles living in the United States.  My examination of their narratives reveals why the exiles actively resist a public categorization as being Cameroonians. This article provides a new type of research regarding British Cameroons’ exiles and their vision of the restoration of the statehood of British Cameroons, a former UN trust territory deserving its separate sovereignty and independence in accordance with the UN Trusteeship Agreement (1946) and UN Resolution 1514 of 1960 on the independence of colonial people. Significant about this study of the narratives of British Cameroons' exiles is its focus on biography for portraying particular facets of nationalist resistance.

Socio-Political Realities and Technique in Wale Okediran’s Tenants of the House

Ezinwanyi E. Adam

Department of Languages and Literary Studies, Babcock University, Nigeria

Critics have examined Nigerian authors’ ideological inclinations that foreground the post-military Nigerian novels and silhouetted their philosophical underpinnings against the themes, characterization and artistic representation of realities. However, a fundamental gap is observed in existing critical studies as to the degree that the post-military Nigerian authors deploy different narratological perspectives or techniques: ultra-realism, child narrator, I - narrator, among others. Therefore, this study is a critical analysis of the approach of ultra-realism to the depictions of socio-political realities in the selected novel of Wale Okediran.  The necessity to undertake a study to critically investigate the approach of ultra-realism to the narrations of the malaise of the Nigerian nation during the post-military era has been invigorated by the socio-political realities and crises currently bedeviling the country. Also, Nigeria represents a hodge-potch of complex multicultural and ethno-linguistic milieu which, by this nature, represents a micro-African setting. The method of textual explication of the selected text with informed eclectic theoretical framework, comprising Sociology of Literature and Post-colonialism, is used for the analysis. The study, therefore, establishes the bases for the continued prevalence of issues of decadence in post-military Nigerian literature in spite of the change in the socio-political setting of the nation.

The Influence of Islam on the Slave Trade in West Africa: The Need for Re-Examination

Rafiu Ibrahim Adebayo

Department of Religious Studies, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Slavery had been an established social order in West Africa long before the advent of Islam there. With the contact of the Negroes of West Africa and the Berbers of North Africa, the trans-Saharan trade became an international trade with buying and selling of human beings as an important feature of the trade. The trade later metamorphosed to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade consequent upon the Portuguese visit to the coast of Africa. However, some scholars have associated the flourishing of slave trade with the presence of Islam in Africa. The big questions therefore are: was there any significant correlation between Islam and slavery generally and what were the contributions of Muslims towards the development of the trade in West Africa? To answer these questions, this paper takes a critical look at the genesis and enabling environmental and customary factors responsible for the success of the trade in West Africa. A particular attention is equally paid to the stand of Islam on slavery and the attitudes of Muslim rulers in West Africa to it, with a view to assessing its implications for the Trans-Atlantic slave trade which thereafter developed between the West Africa people and the Portuguese. Based on this, we conclude that while it is wrong for the Muslim rulers to have allowed the status-quo of slavery and slave trade to remain, pointing accusing finger to Islam as a religion that promoted slave trade in Africa is not justifiable, as an assessment of a religion could only be justified by the scriptural teaching of the religion and not by the attitude of its followers.


Visa Lottery Versus Brain Drain, and Africa in Diaspora: Depleting Effects on Vocational Artisanship in Africa

Tajudeen Adewumi Adebisi

Department of Arts and Social Sciences Education, Osun State University, Nigeria

People throughout the world break through every barrier of racial discrimination, immigration policies and legalities by diverse means to live in other parts of the world for divergent reasons ranging from commerce and trade, professionalism, education, vocation, economy, politics, security and safety.  The concept of the African Diaspora presupposes citizens of the African continent living and working in other continents of the world.  In recent times, the issue of visa lotteries has become more popular in Africa and it is now the major exit point for Africans to migrate to the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) among other countries.  Closely associated with the issue of visa lottery is the brain drain.  The common requirements for eligibility for visa lotteries to these countries are the possession of vocational skills, and professional expertise by the prospective visa lottery applicants.  Thus, migrating from Africa to other continents of the world becomes a coin with two sides being both positive and negative.  Positive for the ‘prosperity’ of the successful applicants and the developmental benefits derived by host nations, and negative for the countries from where the applicants left, which suffer the brain drain as a result of exodus of artisans and professionals from their fatherlands for greener pastures in other countries. This paper, premised on the existing literatures, weighs the effects of visa lotteries, the brain drain, and the African Diaspora on vocational artisanship in Africa and how it affects African development.  It views visa lottery as a means of aiding the brain drain, which leads to not only the drought of skilled artisans but also the loss of a knowledge-based workforce in Africa, which in turn negatively affects economic, social as well as educational development in Africa, but promotes those of the host nations.  The paper posits that African leaders should take the development of their respective countries as a matter of priority creating opportunities for their citizens to work and live prosperously in their own lands.

Child Rights in an African Socio-Cultural Context
Olabisi Adedigba

Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education, Kwara State University, Nigeria

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child have specific references for child care and protection. They safeguard the child’s right to life and survival, health and maximum development, to protection from all forms of violence and inhumane treatment and exploitation. Adaptation of these rights into African tradition and culture provokes a necessary challenge that makes the implementation a mirage. Organization of African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child was adopted in full realization of the fact that implementation of CRC depends on external and internal factors in any country.That the exercise and protection of child rights are determined by the nature of individuals and the society in which individuals operate. This suggests that there exist certain traditional and cultural factors influencing the exercise of individual rights. These traditional and socio-cultural contexts include both negative and positive values and practices. The negative practices constitute systematic and severe violations of rights of millions of children in Africa. The paper looks into the concept of the child, evolution of child rights and the content of child rights, the scope of traditional, cultural and religious practices violating children’s right in Africa. It also provides recommendations for effective harmonization of Child right into African tradition and culture.

Traditional African Festival and Caribbean Carnival: A Comparative Analysis

Ismaila Rasheed Adedoyin

Department of Creative Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos, Nigeria

"A ritual becomes entertainment once it is outside its original context or when the belief that sustains it has lost its potency". Enekwe Ossie (1981:155)

Traditional African Festivals are under serious attack from those who birthed them, and those charged with the duty of protecting and preserving them. The festivals are violently violated and called strange names that are stranger to their ears. The few that still struggle to survive are mutilated, distorted, deformed, repackaged, refashioned, and compelled to change form and if these seem impossible such festivals are confined to life imprisonment or condemned to eternal damnation. Many are already dead and many are on their ways to the mortuaries. The African cyclic belief in the worlds of the living, the dead and the unborn is ruptured and morale of rescuers is low. On the other hand, the Caribbean Carnival is fast becoming a nationally accepted mode of celebration. In Nigeria, apart from the Federal and state governments’ endorsements, several organisations also support the Caribbean carnival not only as a means of socio-cultural and political integration but also as a means of tourist attraction. This seems to be a case of the ‘diaspora’ eroding the traditional. This paper provides comparative and pictorial analysis of traditional African Festival and Caribbean Carnivals. It assesses the techniques of preserving these festivals in the ongoing research in its 10th year at the Department of Creative Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria. The research is conducted through participatory observation and sociological methods. The performance and cultural theories are employed as the conceptual framework.

Abuse of Human Rights of Africans in Diaspora

V.O. Adefarasin

Department of Philosophy, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria

Diaspora refers to the spreading of people from a national group or culture to other areas. The African Diaspora refers to the communities throughout the World that are descended from the historic movement of peoples from Africa – predominantly to the Americas, Europe and the middle East, among other areas around the globe. Contextually therefore, the African Diaspora connotes the totality of people of African descent resident outside the shores of the continent of Africa, irrespective of the manner of their outward migration. Beyond slavery, the mass emigration of Africans to other parts of the World has been on since the early 1970s. This has been on account of persistent conflicts, political instability, bad governance, autocratic and dictatorial regimes that violently trampled upon human, social and political rights to mention a few. The idea of human rights emerged from the assumption of a natural law which says that there are certain immutable rights that belong to man anywhere and which by virtue of man’s humanity should be secured and guaranteed to everyone. The rights of some Africans in Diaspora are being unduly violated even with impunity. The paper therefore discusses Africans in Diaspora, Human Rights, abuse of these rights and some recommendations which, if strictly adhered to, will minimize or totally eradicate abuse of human rights of Africans in Diaspora. The paper ends with the conclusion that in order to strengthen diplomatic relations, co-operation and collaboration, Africans in Diaspora should be allowed to enjoy fully their human rights.

Perception of the New World Experience and Cultural Interference in Selected Nigerian Video Films

Arinpe Adejumo

Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

African culture was one of the values retained by the African slaves who were shipped to America during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Since the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, many Africans have voluntarily migrated to the New World in search of greener pastures. Hence, many Africans now live in diaspora. Literature, a form of projection of the social cultural milieu of society, has been used to expose the attitude of Africans that are in diaspora and their experiences in the New World. In this paper, immigrants’ experiences, and their cultural preoccupation in the New World, as projected in the selected Nigerian video films are examined using the cultural approach. The textual and content analyses of the films reveal that the attitude of some of the characters in the film is contrary to the spirit of cultural retention that guided the trans-Atlantic African slaves in their new world. The films also reveal that there is a high level of cultural denigration in the contemporary times. The selected video films satirize erring immigrants who are perceived as acting in defiance to some aspects of African culture. This paper concludes that video films are used to reclaim the lost African cultural heritage both at home and abroad.

From Witchdoctor To Pastor: The Male Preacher Figure and Cultural Continuities in Nigerian Religious Performances

Abimbola Adelakun

Performance as Public Practice, University of Texas, Austin


This study interrogates the image of the male preacher figure in Nigerian Pentecostalism. My study takes off from W.E.B DuBois’ characterization of the black preacher in African American church as “most unique personality developed by the Negro on American soil. A leader, a politician, an orator, a “boss,” an intriguer, an idealist…” According to DuBois, this figure is an evolution of the witchdoctor from paganistic African societies. I argue a similar cultural retention in the male preacher in Nigerian contemporary Pentecostal religion. This study will study the embodied performances of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, the founder of Christ Embassy Church, Nigeria; the branches in various parts of the world and satellite broadcasting, to trace the process of cultural continuity that led from the witchdoctor personality to that of pastor. Pentecostalism enacts much of the elements of indigenous religions while at the same time disowns any relationship with the latter. Several scholarships have described this with various terms such as “blending” or “fusion.” These concepts suggest the merging of two worlds - that of indigenous religious practices and which signifies “traditional” with Pentecostalism that signifies “modernity.” This assumes a union of two discrete parts to form a coherent whole. In the place of a either blending or fusion, I propose transmutation. Transmutation extends the idea of the repertoire as conceived by Diana Taylor. She argues that performance constitutes a form of knowing because it is "vital acts of transfer" that transmit social knowledge, cultural memory, and identities. This essay will interrogate how the performances in Pentecostal church enhance the process of transmutation; and how this alters the underlying identity of indigenous religions, enough to extricate its identity from the genealogical past.

Reimagining Space and Diaspora in Colonial Lagos

Ademide Adelusi-Adeluyi

History Department, New York University

The possibilities of freedom for Blacks returning to West Africa in the nineteenth century was initially shaped in Freetown and Libreville, and later further east, in cities like Lagos. In colonial Lagos, free men and women from the new world carved out spaces for themselves in a society dominated numerically by Yoruba speaking peoples, but controlled politically by the British. As competition for land intensified—in a context of land scarcity and its rapidly increasing value—ideas around questions of rights of access to space, political power, and above all identity were in flux. This paper explores the changing political and social relationships between indigenous Lagosians and new residents in the context of British colonization. Using sources including maps, government correspondence, journals, and Robert Campbell’s Anglo-African newspaper, this paper demonstrates how questions of race, place and identity were debated in the 1860s, in the process of determining who was local or foreign, and how that factored into the reconstruction of urban space.

African Diaspora and the Challenges of Globalised Education in a Virtual World

Elizabeth Tolulope Adenekan, Lead City University, Nigeria

A. Oyesoji Aremu, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Africa, among other things suffers from the marginality of competitive education in a world that is now virtual. While development in Europe, America and Asia is at a fast pace, and impactful, with information technology (IT), Africa still grapples with underdevelopment occasioned by political, economic and social traumas. These challenges have left Africa and those in diasporas worst of. With education crossing the conventional border to the virtual world, access to open and distance education remains a mirage to African Diaspora. While the 21st century education is virtually-driven through IT and sound economy on a stable polity, Africa still contends with unstable educational policy and gross underfunding of the sector. This leaves African Diaspora marginalized on open and distance education provided in Africa. This paper, therefore, operationalized and limited open and distance education to Nigeria and periscope same to challenges experienced by African Diaspora. This is with a view to opening access of open and distance education to African Diaspora. While the paper discusses these and proffers sustainable solution-based policies, efforts are also made to explore the limitations confronting open and distance education in a globalised world.

Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Southwestern Nigeria: Myth or Reality

Emmanuel Olufemi Adeniyi, Federal College of Education, Nigeria

Olubukola Christianah Dada, Department of Rehabilitation Education, Federal College of Education, Nigeria

Every human being has fundamental human rights. The United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities also stated the basic rights of persons with disabilities. These rights include general obligation, women with disabilities, equality and non discrimination, children with disabilities, awareness raising, education, employment, and health services among others. State parties have signed, ratified and implemented this document while some are yet to sign, ratify and implement. Nigeria is one of the state parties that has signed and ratify this document. This study takes a close look at the rights of persons with disabilities in relation to education, employment and health services in the south western states of the country. In order to know how far the rights of persons with disabilities are taken care of in these three areas, a thirty item questionnaire was designed to elicit responses from two hundred and twenty persons with disabilities on their access to education, employment and health services as contained in the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. The responses were subjected to statistical analysis using multiple regression analysis. The study revealed  that the rights of persons with disabilities is partially recognized in the area of education and health while there is still a lot to be done in the area of employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. It is therefore recommended that the rights of persons with disabilities especially in the area of employment should be taken into cognizance by both private and public employers of labour. The laws and policies on employment of persons with disabilities should be implemented as a matter of urgency. More could still be done in the area of education and health to ensure that all persons with disabilities have access to quality education and health services.

Impact of Tradition and Culture on Family dynamics and Physical Disabilities

Emmanuel Olufemi Adeniyi, Federal College of Education, Nigeria

Olubukola Christianah Dada, Department of Rehabilitation Education, Federal College of Education, Nigeria

Tradition and culture are major norms that affect values in all human groups. Specific tribal identities such as languages, taboos, and oral traditions through song and folklore are strong factors used to create fears and intimidation which affect dynamics in families among the Yoruba of Nigeria. The above resulted in members deviating from laid down status quo in the aspects of care, love, forbearance, and care of individuals who require peculiar attention due to accidental or naturally occurring disabilities. In contemporary Yoruba families, parents and siblings face a lot of challenges from keeping themselves healthy, happy and financially okay to provide safe environment that fosters the physical, emotional and social growth of physically challenged members in the homes and the society. This study addresses the effects of traditional beliefs and cultural taboos on physical disabilities and family dynamics. A twenty item questionnaire was designed by the researchers to elicit responses from one hundred and fifty family members of persons with disabilities in 4 Yoruba speaking communities in Nigeria. Simple percentages estimate was used to analyze the data collected. Results revealed that many families experience chronic stressful situations, intimidations and enigma from the society because of such individuals. Many Yoruba taboos forbid members of the community to render assistance to vulnerable families. It also confirmed that there are no welfare packages from governments to assist families of people living with disabilities. The paper recommended exposure to seminars and workshops to enlighten family members on how to survive and thrive in the peculiar situations. The need for government to enact laws that support families and persons with disabilities to boost their morale as well economic, social, and emotional interest was also reiterated.

African Diaspora and the Question of Development in Africa: Lessons from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

M.O. Aderibigbe

Federal University of Technology, Nigeria

The question of development in Africa is perennial in nature, some of the factors which have vitiated efforts in the past, still continue to plague till now. Attempts to address these problems which permeates the cultural, economic, social and political lives of these nations, have on one hand, emphasizes self-determination. On the other hand, there has also been the agitation for total involvement of the developed world in addressing these endemic problems. While these debates continues, this paper set out to examine the role the Africans diaspora both old and new could play in this struggle towards realizing a new African state. In doing this, Plato’s metaphor of the cave is brought to fore. This explains the condition of prisoners who were in chain and could only perceived shadows, but after a while, one of the prisoners escaped and saw the realities of objects but was left with the problems of how to deliver other prisoners from their predicament. This paper would juxtapose the two scenarios, using the philosophical method of conceptual clarification and critical analysis to determine how the contemporary Africans, like some early progressives in diaspora might become instrumental in achieving the development capable of bringing transformation to Africa.

The Image, the Identity, and the Crisis: Nollywood Films as a Case Study

Fadirepo Adejoke Adetoun

Department of English and Performing Arts, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria

Through the use of indigenous languages and English, the Nollywood industry has tried in many ways to create an image. This image, the Afro-Nigerian, in its production is subsequently bedevilled with identity crises which range between culture, character, and images included in its  representation. The thrust of this paper is to highlight and expand on the problems created by the genre using four  Nollywood films as case studies. This paper uses the content analytical method and the Normative Self Regulatory Approach (NOSRA) as a theoretical framework of analysis. NOSRA as a film theory by an African Nollywood critic naturally navigates the critical gaze on film that are Afrocentric from an African perspective. Findings show that dramatic and filmic elements in these films are represented in mediocrity, hence it is recommended that Nollywood should still be used as a term until the stakeholders concerned are trained to emulate only what is good in Hollywood, Bollywood, or the diaspora, not what is available.

Effect of Globalisation and Cultural Diversity on Trado-Medical Practices

Roheemat Olabimpe Adeyemi

Department of Linguistics and Nigerian languages, University of Ilorin, Nigeria


This paper attempts to explore the effects of Globalisation on traditional medicine in Nigeria. Employing a quantitative method of analysis and in-depth interview, it was found that,although both men and women are involved in traditional medicine, global and cultural diversity have made the practice almost extinct as majority now prefer the orthodox medicine. Using Nativism theory,It was also found that certain limitations affect the practice of the art which has reduced its acceptance as a whole. It is however suggested that, since traditional healers are in diverse areas, there is a need for public policies to be tailored towards the constraints and opportunities of each trado-medical practices

Mutations of Slavery: Prostitution and Women Trafficking in Contemporary Nigerian Novels

Bosede F. Afolayan

Department of English, University of Lagos

Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession and in Nigeria; it has reached a pandemic proportion with Nigerian girls immigrating to foreign lands such as Italy, Spain, Belgium and London to sell their bodies. This act has been criticised by national and international agencies. It has also caught the attention of African novelists who have exposed its debilitating effects in their novels. Adimora-Ezeigbo in Trafficked and Chris Abani in Becoming Abigail have depicted this sexploitation in varying degrees of objectivity and attitudes. This study argues that women’s trafficking is a result of socio-economic deprivations, psychological traumas and thus, views it as modern- day slavery. Working within the Marxist/feminist frameworks, the study engages in a rigorous critical interpretation of the texts to establish the socioeconomic and patriarchal exploitation by the recurring figures of the Madam, the pimps and the violated female in this “slave- transactions”. It concludes by affirming that slavery involves translocation, deceit, the lure of the city and the promise of a better life, exchange of money for services rendered and coercion. So does women trafficking.

Exploring the Social Protection Right of the African Child in Diaspora

Rachael Ojima Agarry

Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education, Kwara State University, Malete, Nigeria

Children all over the world are known to be tender, fragile and usually at the mercy of adult for proper development and wellbeing. They therefore need their parents, other responsible adults and their government of their countries to put in place appropriate measures to ensure their protection and social well-being. In Africa like many other continents of the world, human being have got so many challenges or issues to contend with which as a result is the consequence of unequal treatment among humans including children. This treatment has affected the total development of children especially in Africa. Children as human being have rights which make life worth living for them among which are the social protection right. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) also known as Children's Charter was adopted by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) are the only international and regional human rights treaties that cover the whole spectrum of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children. This paper therefore explores social protection right of African children in diaspora through a child rights lens and identifies key dimensions of social protection programmes and design for African children in other continents. It also examines the impact of the existing programmes on the children as well as highlights innovative approaches in social protection programming, drawn from Africa. The paper ends with outlines of key policy recommendations to improve the design and implementation of social protection interventions for African children in diaspora.

Politics and Conflict: The Making of Liberian Diasporas and the Challenges of Post-War Reconstruction

Chris Agoha
Joint Mission Analysis Centre (JMAC), United Nations Missions in Liberia (UNMIL)

Liberia is an aberration and an archetype: in the African context, its political history is unique, yet its contemporary record is typical of other African states. It does not have a colonial legacy, except for the quasi-colonial period in which the American Colonization Society (ACS), an American Pseudo-humanitarian association, governed by white American slave owners, ruled the dominion from 1822-1847. In 1847, the country became a Republic. The paper discusses the role of politics and conflict in the emergence of Liberia Diasporas. First, it argues that the single party – True Whig Party – hegemony created nepotistic elite that marginalized and disenfranchised majority of the population. Political opponents and oppositions were targeted and capriciously prosecuted, and this trend led to an exodus of Liberians to seek sanctuary abroad. Second, the 14 years of civil conflict exerted decisive pressure on Liberians to flee and settle in several countries around the world. The displaced Liberians built new lives and assimilated into the social fabrics of their respective host nations. With their transnational identity, they continue to use the newly acquired context to express dual allegiance concurrent with their country of origin and their host nation, albeit, several challenges. Finally, the paper analyzes these challenges and the context of post-war reconstruction and governance from the standpoint of Liberia’s Diasporas.

African Americans in Mexico: International propaganda, Migration, and the Resistance Against U.S. Racial Hegemony.

Alfredo Aguilar

Department of History and Philosophy, University of Texas-Pan American

Long after the official demise of slavery, African Americans remained second-class citizens. Fortunately, African Americans had a potential ally. Mexico posited itself as a counter-weight to combat the racial U.S. hegemony whereby granting African Americans the possibility of a heard voice. The relationship between the United States and Mexico produced propagandistic motivations as ploys regarding African American interactions with Mexico. Mexico sought to exploit the position of African Americans in the United States and the U.S. sought to exploit the paranoia surrounding African Americans’ actions. During 1880-1920 several events transpired which produced the motivation for African Americans to relocate to Mexico or attempt reactionary violence. Newspapers played a vital role as an encouraging voice for African Americans as either motivational or suppressive. African American newspapers motivated African Americans to pursue migration with hidden agendas of profiteering. The U.S. suppressive newspapers attempted to disperse the idea of relocation and resistance through subtle forms of racism and repress radicalism in the U.S. By analyzing these propagandistic efforts regarding African Americans, they are therefore seen as pawns of a larger hegemonic battle between two nations. Analyzing the motivating factors of all parties and incentives of motivational efforts played pivotal roles in the successes and failures of these endeavors. Mexico hoped to combat the United States’ western hemisphere domination by assisting African Americans via colonizing efforts and political rhetoric and the United States hoped to impede the spread of radicalism, loss of agricultural workers, and combat the international focus of their own racism.      

'Are you an American or an African?': 19th Century African American Migration through the Diasporic Analytic Lens

Lawrence Aje

University of Montpellier, France

If the forced Atlantic migration of Africans to the Americas during the slave trade has become the hegemonic theoretical framework in African diaspora studies, the migration of free African Americans in the 19th century, and how the latter constituted a specific diasporic experience, has received little notice by scholars. By combining a theoretical and a historical approach, as well as utilizing various case studies, this paper endeavors to show that the transnational migratory experience of free African Americans, from the Revolutionary period to 1865, complexifies the Black /African Atlantic diasporic paradigm. If we exclude migration to Canada, how are the notions of "racial minority" and "racial essentialism" complicated by the fact that, in the 19th century, African Americans migrated to host countries that had a black majority (Haiti, Jamaica or Liberia)? Did the creolized identity of the emigrant population facilitate its integration (Canada, West Indies), or make it more difficult (West Africa)? To what extent did cultural, social, religious and racial - if we consider that many migrants were mixed-race - factors constitute decisive determinants in the diasporic experience of African American migrants? What was the demographic importance of this migration? Did migrants settle permanently in their host country? Was the notion of "homeland" redefined in the case of African Americans settling in Africa? Did African American expatriates have a sense of longing for the United States? Did they maintain transnational contacts? These are some of the questions that this paper will seek to address.

Coolitude in an Era of Creolisation and Cultural Globalisation: An Epistemological Perspective

Angela A. Ajimase

Department of Modern Languages and Translation Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria

Creolisation - a facet of cultural globalisation - and cultural autonomy/purity are two concurrent forces which, being present in the Caribbean are continually in confrontation; with the first being viewed as a predator to the second. Coming from this premise, this paper attempts to examine the logic of the coolitude movement’s aim for cultural purity, in such an era governed by active cultural globalisation. It presents creolisation in the Caribbean as an indomitable predator to the various cultural identities in the region and argues that cultural purity in such a social context may just be considered a utopian experience. The cultural protectionism often advocated for or constructed by nation building is never perfectly efficient in ensuring purity of national cultures as nation-states are themselves compromised to varying degree by globalisation in their capacity to maintain exclusivity of identity attachment. In the case of the Caribbean, the Indian culture is marginalised in institutional development and socializing institutions. This exposes the culture (Indian culture) more to the predatory forces of cultural globalisation.

Aganyin Musical Tradition in Lagos State, Nigeria: A Diasporic Approach

Samuel Toyin Ajose

Department of Music, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

The Aganyin are a people with rich cultural practices. As immigrants from Ghana into Nigeria, they are largely settled around the coastal area of Badagry Local Government of Lagos State, southwestern Nigeria since around 1950s. While an oral source claims that their homestead could be traced to Ile-Ife the cradle of the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria, some other sources traced their origin to Gold Coast now Ghana.  Given the dearth of extant studies on the socio-cultural lives of the Aganyin, particularly their music, this paper examines the musical performance of bunudzogbe –a social musical genre among the Aganyin. This article reveals that the Aganyin musical tradition has fostered inter-culturality in performance practice of both the Aganyin as immigrant in Diaspora and that of its “host” community.

Emergence of African Independent Churches in Nigeria and Its Impact on African Diaspora: Christ Apostolic Church in Focus

Lydia Bosede Akande

Department of Islamic Christian and Comparative Religious Studies, Kwara State University

Emergence of African Independent Churches in Nigeria could be dated back to 1909, when a charismatic Anglican cleric, Garrick Sokari started his divine healing movement around the Niger area of Delta State, in Nigeria. These are Churches established by Africans for Africans on African soil. One of these is Christ Apostolic Church. Since Christianity responds to ever changing circumstances or situation, the Church also saw the need to respond to the spiritual and socio-political endeavour of African Diaspora, people seeking cultural and national identities. This paper therefore explores the status of churches in Nigeria before the emergence of African Independent Churches, factors responsible for their emergence, with focus on Christ Apostolic Church, the impact of the Church on African Diaspora, and the role of African Diaspora on the socio-economic, religious and educational advancement of Nigeria, their original home. Methods employed to carry out this study include historical, interview, visits to the library to collect relevant materials and observations. Findings revealed that, the church which started with few members and branches in Nigeria, has spread its tentacles to be one of the fastest growing assembly, not only at home, but also among Africans in Diaspora. It is therefore suggested among others that African Diaspora should establish close contacts with natives to play significant roles behind the scene to develop their continent, and more importantly see themselves and come together abroad as Africans. By so doing African Diaspora in togetherness with others at home would have made positive impact and left indelible marks on the Church and Nigeria in particular.

The Influence of Religion and Traditional Culture on Creolization in the African Diaspora: the Nigerian Experience

Ezekiel Kehinde Akano

Christian Religious Department, Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo, Nigeria

Nigeria is a blessed country rich in cultural heritage, traditions and religions. The trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonization of Nigeria coupled with insecurity and economic instability brought diversities into the cultural perspectives in various ways with attendant effects on economic lifestyle as well as changes in orientation to the Western world. This to a large extent, translated into Africa Diaspora which invariably made people of African descent to move out of their communities and African continent, the irony of which was a combination of European language with African languages. To this end, this paper examined the influence of religion and traditional culture on creolization in the African Diaspora through historical cum analytical approach. It was revealed among others that there are positive influences on religion on African Diaspora. Creolization also impinged on socio-cultural and religious activities of African Diaspora. It was therefore recommended that Africans in Diaspora should always be mindful of their origin. They should also value and respect their indigenous cultural heritage.

‘They are putting us on our toes’: Diasporic ‘alternative media and emerging newsroom practices in Nigeria

Motilola Olufenwa Akinfemisoye

School of Journalism and Digital Communication, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, United Kingdom

While the proliferation of new digital technologies continues to provide a platform for diasporic ‘alternative’ media to share their stories, there is a paucity of research that investigates whether (or not) their activities are impacting on the institutional daily routines of mainstream journalism back home. This study therefore interrogates how the presence of ‘alternative’ media sites, run and maintained by Nigerians living in diaspora, are negotiating spaces within the mainstream mediasphere in Nigeria. Situated within the theoretical frameworks of networked journalism and sociology of journalism, this study deployed an ethnographic approach. The study questions the binary assumptions of collaboration between these diasporic ‘alternative’ media and the mainstream media in Nigeria, as some theorists have argued, and if indeed such inclusions can engender the democratisation of Nigeria’s mediasphere. The ethnography comprised in-depth semi-structured interviews with print journalists and newsroom observations at four national dailies in Nigeria. Findings reveal that although the presence of such diasporic ‘alternative’ media sometimes set the agenda for the mainstream media in Nigeria, appropriating content from these sites are shaped and constrained by local factors. In including reports from diasporic ‘alternative’ media sites, proprietorial demands and other economic factors find professional journalists in Nigeria upholding their traditional practices of fact-checking, privileging official sources, among others. This study concludes that in spite the narrative that the presence of alternative media poses threats to mainstream journalism, Nigerian journalists continue to contest and defend their hegemonic territories and positions.

Cultural Expressions: Africanisms in the Languages of the Greater Caribbean

Ann Albuyeh

Department of English, Universidad de Puerto Rico

Even where the African Diaspora did not result in the hybrid languages known as creoles, it had an important impact on the languages of the Caribbean islands and the South and Central American countries bordering the Caribbean Sea. In particular, the African-derived vocabulary, the “Africanisms,” currently in the lexicons of the European languages still spoken in the Greater Caribbean often reflect the concomitant continuity of the expressions of African culture in this important diasporic region.  Perhaps nowhere is this more obvious to the inhabitants of these countries than in their traditional dances, whose African influences are recognized from Colombia to Jamaica, and whose names are also reminders of the Caribbean’s African linguistic legacy. Nonetheless, these dances, which have evolved over hundreds of years, are also undoubtedly hybrids, reflecting a mixture of African, European, and possibly indigenous influences.  This paper will trace the names of the dances to possible African sources and compare the forms of the Caribbean dances, past and present, to dances performed among the African ethnic groups believed to have been brought to the area. To do this, the paper will analyze available slave voyage data, historical primary sources, and etymological dictionaries, as well as, discussion of the significance of characteristics of the dances examined.  The conference paper will use video and artwork to illustrate representative dance forms among English-speaking, Spanish-speaking and French-speaking Caribbean populations.  It will thus trace the ways in which the Caribbean’s African heritage transcends the different colonial legacies of the region.

Tutsi Diaspora, Tutsi Nationalism: Rwanda and Politicized Identities in the Great Lakes

T.S. Allen

Department of History, United States Military Academy at West Point

Following the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and subsequent installment of the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front government, the regional diasporic Tutsi population gained a significant patron. The subsequent years saw the militarization of the Tutsi identity within Burundi, Uganda, and the Congo as the strengthening government of Paul Kagame offered support to the previously isolated communities within these states. The Congo Wars of 1996-97 and 1998-2003 and the following Congolese struggles with Banyamulenge (Congolese ethnic Tutsis) fronts CNDP and M23 saw direct military action taken by Rwanda and diasporic Tutsi communities to try and safeguard their communities again the former Hutu genocidaires and rival ethnic groups within the region. However, while each of these Rwandan-affiliated efforts has eventually been either stalled or outright defeated, the Tutsi identity remains one often arbitrated by Rwanda and maintains a robust presence throughout the region. A strong reason for this continuing influence of the Tutsi identity and often nationalistic fervor are the efforts of Rwanda to foster it within the surrounding diasporic populations. While their military efforts have often had mixed results, there has been a concerted effort within the RPF government to host Tutsi members of surrounding states and offer education, support, and cultural training, creating a firm foundation for a Rwandan-informed Tutsi identity throughout the region. This paper will discuss these recent indirect (and successful) efforts to create a unified and often nationalistic Tutsi identity within Central Africa, which have had continued the struggle of political power, identity, and state influence in the region.

Mapping the African Diaspora

Edward A. Alpers

University of California, Los Angeles

Kim Butler writes, “To map a diaspora . . . requires consideration of its internal dynamics in conjunction with spatiality in order to more accurately represent a transnational reality.” In this paper I seek to provide a global picture of the current population of Africans in the diaspora and the kinds of epistemological and philosophical questions such figures raise about how we go about the process of counting. I first lay out the long history of the dispersion of African peoples. Without diminishing the central significance of the Atlantic slave trade for modern world history and for people of African descent, I want to locate it in its broader perspective, both in time and space. I also discuss the free movement of Africans and their resettlement overseas from earliest times through the colonial and post-colonial eras in Africa. I then introduce the issue of the internal African diaspora, which I want to place in the wider (but different) context of migration. Without spending too much time on this aspect of the diaspora I hope to make the point that there has been as much if not more movement by specific African peoples from one place to another within Africa as there has been beyond Africa, and with many of the same consequences and processes of adjustment as Africans faced among non-African societies in the diaspora.

Borrowing the Philosophy of Pan-Africanism from the Diaspora: Challenges of African Unity, Democracy and Development in the 21st Century

Alexius Amtaika

Department of Political Studies and Governance, University of the Free State, South Africa

Fifty years after independence, Africans are still divided and polarized as they were under colonial rule. Some African states still face threats of disintegration through tribal and ethnic rivalries, in so doing undermining stability of governments, socio-economic development, peace, security and democracy. In some countries these developments resulted in the evolution of dictatorial government under the guise of bringing unity among rival clans, tribes and ethnic groups. In the wake of these problems and challenges the question that arises is: what happened to the idea of Pan-Africanism which united and inspired Africans in the Continent to rise up against colonialism and demanded independence and freedom? In an attempt to answer this question, my paper reasons that the philosophy of Pan-Africanism did not hold in the post-colonial Africa, due to the fact that it was alien to Africans in the continent.  It was borrowed from the Diaspora and transplanted in the continent which was divided and polarized through colonial policies of (i) indirect rule, which divided Africans along ethnic and tribal lines through the strategy known as ‘divide and rule’; and (ii) assimilation policies, which forced African to abandon their traditions and cultures in favor of Western European ones. The effects of these policies came to haunt Africans in the post-colonial era through the retentions of colonial boundaries and the upholding of the status quo of policies of ’divide and rule’ and ‘assimilation’ which made the unifications of Africans even within individual states, practically impossible. Noting the role that the Africans in the Diaspora played in the creation of the philosophy of Pan-Africanism which inspired decolonization in the continent, the paper explores ways and roles that Africans in the Diaspora can play in inspiring African unity through socio-economic development in the continent.   

Synergy of Religion and Traditional Culture on Job Performance of Africans in Diaspora

Cecilia Nwogu, Department of Marketing, Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Rumuola, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Frank Onyema Amugo, Department of Arts, Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Rumuola, Port Harcourt

Organisational behaviour scientists interested in African studies unanimously agree that culture has significant impact upon the behaviours and attitudes of individual. Workers in formal organisations. As a people, Africans cannot expect to pick the gauntlet of development challenges of the 21th century with the attitude, belief, mental disposition and prediction of the Stone Age. The paper seeks to x-ray synergy of religion, belief and traditional culture of job performance of Africans in diaspora. The operational definition of religion, culture, belief and organisational job performance were examined. The author went further to state the area of synergy(culture, social and organization).Also, empirical evidence to the issue of benefits to organisations were highlighted by the author.Nevertheless,conclusion and recommendation as were made based on the issues touched therein.

Cultivating “True Sons of the Soil”: War, Diaspora, and Popular Culture in Sierra Leone

Samuel Mark Anderson

Culture and Performance, University of California Los Angeles


Civil war displaced more than half of the population of Sierra Leone. Fleeing brutal violence at home, villagers traveled to urban centers, the capital Freetown, refugee camps in neighboring states, and further abroad to Europe and America. Ten years since the conflict’s resolution, these peregrinations have had dramatic repercussions for Sierra Leone’s aesthetic culture. Many Sierra Leoneans remark that local performances are stronger, since returning artists were exposed to a greater range of performance styles and skill levels than they would have at the village or chiefdom level. At the same time, the influx of international idioms of Islam and Evangelical Christianity, brought back with converted travelers, challenges the continuities of practices such as masked dancing that many now consider haram or sinful. Yet in spite of these threats, the secretive initiatory societies of Poro and Sande are opening out, however conditionally, to annual celebratory programs at which normally sacrosanct masked dances are performed for public entertainments. The goal is to call back former villagers, to remind them of their rural roots, and to profit from the opportunities they have reaped in the cities or foreign lands. Seduced by the cultural performances of the village, the relatively wealthy returnees are encouraged to become “true sons of the soil” through contributions to village infrastructure and development. This paper examines how the mass movements of peoples instigated by war have changed Sierra Leone’s venerable performance traditions, and how these same traditions now propel villagers’ attempts to reconstruct their communities.

Eat, Speak, and Play Like Our Ancestors: A Case of Children from Madagascar in America

Rijasoa Andriamanana

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico

As of 2010, in America, 60.6 million of people speak another language than English at home; nearly 40 million of total population was foreign born, where 4% were born in Africa ( These figures show a significant presence of multilingual and multicultural people who navigate an English dominant society on a daily basis. For children in particular, they tend not to maintain or to develop the language spoken at home, even if it is the only one their parents know. (Fillmore, 1991). As a result, the home cultural patterns became neglected or forgotten. From a multilingual and multicultural theoretical framework, this paper attempts to provide hands-on activities that can be conducted with children to keep the native language and culture alive. More exactly, it suggests cooking traditional food practices, storytelling times, and native games sessions with children’s active participation to revive the ancestors’ experiences. Cooking traditional food allows children to discover ingredients and procedures used for their ethnic gastronomy while conversing in the mother tongue. Likewise, storytelling times offers not only an authentic native language opportunity but especially the values, beliefs, and legends of the home culture. As for playing native games, it exposes children to the importance of groups from the African perspective in addition to acquiring new skills as a family. Although the present case describes children born in Madagascar, it could be easily adapted to any African offspring living as multilingual and multicultural beings in America but wanting to eat, speak, and play like our ancestors.

Narratives of Kinship and Enmification in Offa-Erinle Crises of Kwara State, Nigeria   

Gbemisola A. Animasawun, Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Yinka Ahmed Aluko, Centre for Peace & Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Sequel to the endemic and protracted nature of many identity-based communal conflicts in Africa nay Nigeria, it has become fashionable for policy makers and aid providers to embark on impact assessment of such conflicts as parts of efforts towards peace-building. The outcome of such processes often informs the details of post-conflict reconstruction and the entire post-conflict peace-building processes. However, not much attention has been paid by scholars and policy makers to the negative impact of narratives which sometimes serve as lethal but immaterial causes and reminders of conflict. Despite the attention and resources devoted to the reconstruction of physical infrastructure in the aftermath of conflicts, a commensurate attention cannot be seen to have been paid to constructed narratives which sustain mutually-held enemy images which inform the attitude and behaviour of parties in the conflict context. Based on interviews with purposively selected members of Offa and Erinle communities that have been locked in intractable and protracted communal crisis over decades and relevant secondary sources, the article analyses how each side constructs and deconstructs kinship through narratives and counter-narratives as part of enmification processes and how these narratives are used in defining and mobilizing kinship during armed clashes.

Social Media, the New Revolutionary Tool of African Diasporas

Akua Anyei Obeng

Texas A&M International University

On November 9th 2013, during the 6th edition of the African Media Leaders Conference in Addis Ababa, Mr. William Ruto, the deputy President of Kenya, called on the media in Africa to take the lead in reporting positive stories about the continent. The only image been portrayed by the western media is that of an Africa suffering from diseases, oppression from its leaders and from hunger. These images discourage and wrongly define what Africa is becoming. “ I propose that Africa tells its own story, beats its own drum, sings its own song, and dances to its own beat” he stated. Even before this statement, I think Africans in a way had started telling their own stories. People are not looking anymore to governments or foreign institutions to change their destinies, but they are making use of social media to reach their goals. Social media is the new revolutionary tool Africans are proudly using in telling their own story despite their limited access to internet. For example, Kenya’s technology developer, Juliana Rotich, is connecting and mapping rural cities in Kenya to the world’s map. African diasporas are highly engaged in social media activities promoting self-awareness among Africans and Afro descendants about their identity and about African union. Through social media, Africans and Afro descendants in the world have access to different African music, films, arts, literature, fashion styles and ideologies which were unknown to them some years back. Social media is the new way diasporas are writing their stories for the future.  

The African Diasporas and the Challenges of Contemporary Regional Integration in Africa

Felix Chinwe Asogwa

Department of Political Science, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria

Across the world, migrants of African descent are found. Various factors account for the increasing number of these African Diasporas in the various regions of the world. Interestingly, most of these African migrants have always maintained links with their homeland especially through the regular remittances they make to their different families. The economic benefits of these have been well-documented by scholars. A critical area that has not been given deserved attention by scholars is the role these Diaspora Africans have played and can still play in stemming the tide of regional integration in the continent. The exploration of this aspect of African Diasporas in African socio-political and economic affairs has become quite imperative given the centrality of viable regional integration in Africa’s development and global geo-politics. This work, therefore, set out to examine the role of the African Diasporas play in enhancing regional integration in Africa especially in the contemporary period. The paper adopted essentially secondary sources of data gathering through the application of content analysis.         

J.A. Rogers: Writing Africana World Biography and History within Western Civilization

Thabiti Asukile

University of Cincinnati

This paper seeks to present to scholars the importance of the Jamaican born historian Joel Augustus Rogers (1880-1966) concerning his influential writings of Africana biography which

is a vital part of the literature of world biography and history during the first part of the twentieth

century.  As a self-trained historian and journalist for the African American newspapers

Pittsburgh Courier & New York Amsterdam News, Rogers embarked on a lifetime endeavor to

vindicate through biographical writings the history of black Sub-Saharan Africans and people

of African descent living throughout the African diaspora from the racist pseudo-scientific and

historical writings and scholarship that preceded the early twentieth century in America, Europe,

and the Caribbean.  The paper will convey that biography and history are intertwined and that

both are complementary in their importance in explaining the history people of African descent

in Africa and throughout the world.  Biography through the scholarship of Rogers is not a lesser

form of history, in fact both become one, complementing each other in the process of showing

the beautiful humanity, trials and tribulations, and resilience of people of African descent in

Africa, Asia, and throughout the Western hemisphere.

Rethreading the Broken Cords in Great Campos: Cultural Renaissance of 19th Century Lagos

Moses Adedotun Atilade

Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Proposed paper seeks to explore and document critical linkages in the history of settlements and community development in Lagos; Nigeria’s foremost commercial and political nerve centre. In the early eighteenth century, the Amaros (also known as Nago in Brazil) who were liberated slaves from Brazil and Cuba settled in Popo Aguda; then a marshy Lagos terrain that later became Campos Area. The returnees acquired the status of ‘new Africans’ and were referred to as Agudas. By 1880s, they comprised about 9% of Lagos population. The Intellectual elite in Nigeria at the turn of the nineteenth century were essentially made up of these new Africans who were engaged in evangelical work and influencing development within and around the Lagos metropolis. The then natives of Lagos look up to the Agudas in all aspects of socialization as manifested in fashion, cuisine, architecture and socio-cultural festivities. The paper seeks to undertake historical excursions into linkages of Diasporas to the cultural and socio-economic development of Lagos; Africa’s leading commercial city. The paper seeks to explore historical challenges, opportunities and benefits of cultural renaissance in a global world through a proposal for continued engagement, documentations and renaissances on African Diasporas.

Re-Engineering the Pan-Africanist Vision in the Black Atlantic

Stella-Effah Attoe, Department of History and International Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria

David L. Imbua, Department of History and International Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria

The idea of the black Atlantic commonly refers to a historical relationship between homelands on the African continent — from which Africans were dispersed, voluntarily or forcefully — and the other regions in the circum-Atlantic ocean, most often the Americas, where they ended up. In the past 500 years, oppression and discrimination have been the common experiences of African descendants throughout the black Atlantic region. In response, the Pan-Africanist vision was conceived of in the early 20th century to help organize African descendants with the aim of resisting domination and achieving self-determination towards a more just society. Through it, Africans supported the African-American struggles for Civil Rights, while African-Americans canvassed for the independence of African states and the end to Apartheid in South Africa.  Since the legacies of slavery and Colonialism continue to affect African descendants, we argue for the need to re-engineer synergies between Africa and the Atlantic Diaspora in order to help build bridges capable of sustaining and enlarging the Pan-Africanist vision into the 21st century. Considering that many societies in the black Atlantic continue to be dominated by the descendants of slave owners and the economies that were based upon slave labor, we hold that the current political and economic realities in Africa and the plight of black people globally make the Pan-Africanist agenda a necessity rather than a choice.

Communication and Transculturation: Case of Senior Citizens’ Welfarism in South Western Nigeria

E. Oluwakemi Augustus

Federal College of Agriculture, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

People of African Descent, wherever they live around the world, can be categorized into two broad groups. First are those who were born in Africa, and two are their descendants. Both groups demonstrate, in varying degrees, an appreciable carry-over of their “Africanness” in how they live their lives outside Africa. And one thing that is common to all of them, also in varying degree, is the expressiveness of their culture. Africans are demonstratively expressive, culturally in their language, family structure, religion, entertainment, individual and communal ranks and identity. Likewise, in their quests to contribute meaningfully to the homeland’s growth and ensure better living standard for the average citizens, especially the elderly ones have succeeded in communicating the “westernism” in them by transferring some of the western values to Africa. This “rub off on” culture or transculturation poses some challenges which have engendered serious academic consideration in the contemporary African society. Hence, this paper seeks to explore the concept of communication as an important tool in transferring western cultures to Africa. The study specifically examines the emergence of modernity in rendering care to African senior citizens in South Western Nigeria. It further identifies role of communication in promoting this recent practice and assesses attitudes of Nigerians to the prevalence of this culture in Africa. Recommendations were therefore made based on the findings of this study.

Unifying Yoruba Culture and Tradition with Modernity Through Science and Technology

Bridget Itunu Awosika

Department of Home Economics, Adeyemi College of Education, Nigeria

Modernity refers to an improved way of doing things to enhance the quality of life; while tradition is the belief or symbolic behavior that has significant links with the origin of generations of a group.  Culture is characterized by language, traditional religion, social habits, cuisine, music, arts and the totality of a people’s way of life. This paper observes that both tradition and culture of Yoruba people are implicated by modernity; particularly in the aspects of material culture, oral traditions, and festivals which are grossly eroded by modernist ideologies resulting in gradual neglect/rejection of the trado cultural status quo. Our youths now display a sharp “shift from favored and esteemed components” like language, kinship, housing, clothing, food items, and marriages. The paper discusses the use of advances in science and technology to achieve sustainable contemporary trado/cultural uplift and synergize same with modernity. It concludes that ethical cultural practices related to clothing, food, marriages and religion be entrenched into the curriculums and enforced as compulsory electives in tertiary instructions as a platform for ’ complete growth’ towards culturally alive youths and adults. The paper recommends the inclusion of Recognized Certification into Yoruba traditional marriage to give it higher premium and encouragement consumerism of our ‘throw-away culture’ for renaissance and emancipation at home and in the Diasporas.  

Improving Traditional Technology Transfer for ‘Aso Ofi’ (Indigenous Yoruba Textile) Through ICT.

Bridget Itunu Awosika, Dept of Home Economics, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, Nigeria

Sunday R. Ogunduyile, Federal University of Technology, Dept of Industrial Design, Akure, Nigeria.

Kikelomo O. Adubi, Dept of Home Science and Management, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria.

Improvement, adoption and transfer of indigenous technology have been the bane of development and growth used by civilized economies in contemporary times. Among the Yoruba of Nigeria, cloth weaving on traditional looms is a major traditional technology practiced in Small Scale Enterprises (SMEs). This paper observed that mode of training for ‘Aso Ofi’ production is at variance to other local crafts and its graduates could not rank side-by-side others from indigenous businesses because Aso Ofi Trainers still used traditional method of ‘Master/Apprenticeship’. The paper felt that production technique could be improved upon through ICT to achieve better skill acquisition, competence and better professionalism and take the business to the global market. 24 Masters and 144 Apprentices were interviewed on the mode of training, procurement of raw materials and machineries, finance, and sales strategies. Results confirmed that 64% textiles producers acquired skills via apprenticeship method and used same for their trainees. 36% of practitioners were on their ‘Masters’ the pay rolls since they couldn’t source materials and other facilities on their own. Procedure for acquiring machineries through co-operative groups and involvement of ICT for improved training and products were discussed. Recommendations of e-training with slides, Compact Discs, Pictorial Books as handouts for re-training and referrals were made.

Queens in Flight: Fela’s Afrobeat Queens, Performance and Transnational Imagination in the Production of “Black” Feminist Diasporas

Dotun Ayobade

The University of Texas at Austin

As Afrobeat circulates transnationally as an “African” music style, it has transported with it the feminine principle upon which much of Fela Kuti’s art thrived. The Afrobeat Queens— who functioned in practice as dancers and singers in Fela’s work, and positioned discursively as a subordinate presence in his art— have reemerged as icons of resilience and self-determination in the works of some women artists working within the Afrobeat paradigm globally. This paper examines how the figure of the Afrobeat Queen circulates transnationally in ways that imbue her with possibilities for imagining an alternative “black” feminist diaspora; that is, diaspora circulated in/through the affective dimensions of embodied performance. I submit that questions of belonging, in this thinking of a “black” feminist diaspora, are negotiated through the performative possibilities of becoming that performance permits, rather than within strict categories like race, nation, migration, dispersal and memory. I explore this idea of “black” feminist diaspora in three performance scenarios: Afro Funk System (Japan), Bill T. Jones’s Fela! (United States), and Wunmi (United Kingdom), each of which challenge the ways that space is invoked in diasporic discourse. Each of these acts offer insights into the ways in which diaspora might be differently expressed as a gendered subjectivity that relates to, but simultaneously transcend categories like home, belonging, and memory.

Homeland in Question in Africa: A Reflection on Onwueme’s Legacy  and Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman

Vincent Adesina Ayodele

Department of Theatre Arts and Music, Lagos State University, Nigeria

Between Africans in Africa and Africans in other lands, the question of homeland has continued to be a recurrent issue in the contemporary discourse. Homeland in this context is a concept of a place which an ethnic nationality holds a long history and a deep cultural association with the country in which a particular identity began. The power of Africa generally springs from the stories it tells, beyond the visionary projection of literature, African plays and creative works has celebrated homeland in series of way. This is visible among the academic and other literary works. This paper focuses on the former nostalgia and homeland as means of unifying factor irrespective of instances, contexts and contents. This is observable in Soyinka’s Death and the Kings Horseman and Onwueme’s Legacy. This paper identifies moment with homeland; how the moment has continued to the present.

China’s Emerging Multinational Corporations in Africa: Are these ‘International Vampires’ different from their Western Counterparts?

Augustine E. Ayuk

Clayton State University

Sino-African relations has been strong since the Bandung Conference of 1955. This relationship gained profound momentum after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The proliferation of Chinese Multinational Corporations (MNCs) or ‘international vampires’ in the global arena, particularly in Africa in the past two decade has raised concerns both from supporters and opponents of increased Chinese presence in Africa. Chinese MNCs are gaining strong footholds in sectors such as telecommunication, energy, construction and mining. The purpose of this article therefore is to examine the increased role and influence of Chinese (MNCs) in Africa,and explore whether these Chinese entities are different in terms of their operations, orientations, and obligations in Africa compared to Western Multinational Corporations. Among other things, the article will focus on issues such:Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), displacement of local labor, increased competition with local firms and repatriation of profits.

Local Production, Global Entanglement: Early Southern West African Societies in the Trans-Saharan Trade (c. 1100-1500 A.D.)

Abidemi Babatunde Babalola

Rice University

The study of the medieval Africa has revealed the development of complex social, political, and economic systems across the continent. Also the complex interaction between the North African merchants and the urban societies of the Sahel during the Trans-Saharan trade are well documented. However, the urban societies of the south are often left out of the complex interaction system, or at best referred to as victim of raiding or consumers of imported goods rather than a player in the trade and exchange system. My recent investigation in Ile-Ife Southwest Nigeria has revealed a large scale glass beads industry dated to between the 12th and 15th century A.D. This paper seeks to use this archaeological evidence in tandem with historical and ethno-historical sources to create a narrative on the entanglement of a southern urban society in the trans-Sahara trade. The paper argues that the southern communities were active partners in the interregional trade network not only as consumers, but also as producers and suppliers of valuable items.

The Role of the Diaspora in Strengthening Nigeria’s Electoral System

Philip Sunday Bagu

Department of English, Benue State University, Nigeria

The Nigerian democracy has been described by many politicians and political scientists as being at its nascent stage of development. This is anchored on the fact that since the country’s independence in 1960, there have been more years of military rule than democratically elected governments. By implication therefore, Nigerians are still in the learning stage of democratic culture where efforts have continued to be intensified to sustain and maintain a steady democratic political atmosphere that will engender the much needed development. It is against this background that the role of the Diaspora in strengthening Nigeria’s electoral system has been brought into focus in this paper. The paper posits that the Diaspora with their broad based knowledge on how free and fair elections are conducted in other countries will be drawn to improve on some basic problems that have hindered the participation of the people in electing responsible leaders at various levels of government. It is quite evident that Nigeria’s electoral system is characterized by cases of political thuggery, voter apathy, massive rigging, falsification of results and a lot more of such unhealthy practices. This often leads to a situation where candidates are imposed on the people as their leaders with no ambition other than to perpetuate their personal aggrandizement. The paper surmises that where a deliberate effort is made to seek and accommodate the opinions of Nigerians in the Diaspora, Nigeria’s democracy will be strengthened and improved upon for the growth and development of the country.

Revolutionizing the Homeland: The Philosophical Relevance of Nigerians in Diaspora

Oladele Abiodun Balogun

Department of Philosophy, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria

This paper discusses the philosophical relevance of the activities of the Nigerians in Diaspora in revolutionising their father’s land. Also, the paper underscores the various indispensable roles that Nigerians in Diaspora can play in bringing about the desirable political change and development in their father’s land. It argues further that the relevance of the Nigerians in Diaspora should go beyond mere abstraction which is always done through social theorizing, criticisms of various policies and critique of political and economic ideologies in Nigeria but extend to active participation through dialogues, symposia and personal involvement in various steps towards bringing a revolution in their father’s land. In addition, the paper stretches an objective participation of the Nigerians in Diaspora in improving the socio-economic conditions in Nigeria and deplores a situation where Nigerians in Diaspora are used as tools by ambitious leaders to further plunge Nigerian state into destruction. Finally, the paper commends the efforts of some of the Nigerians in Diaspora who have always merged theories with praxis by contributing positively and philosophically through their continuous contact with their father’s land in various dimensions in order to bring a desirable change.

Perspectives on Economic Decline, Poverty, and Transmigration in Nigeria

Omeiza Olumuyiwa Balogun

Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria

The prevalent post-independence economic decline existing in most African countries (including Nigeria) which has resulted in widespread poverty is by far the most important root cause of transmigration generally. In recent times, transmigration in Nigeria as well as in other underdeveloped economies of the world, his become a formidable phenomenon that has grown in size and magnitude due to the prevailing circumstances under which it has thrived. This aggravating situation has compelled many people especially those below the low income bracket to escape poverty and to relocate from areas where employment is scarce or look for where the pasture is greener which account for the main reason Africans migrate to the diaspora. In other words, the hope for better opportunities outside the country seems at best an irritable alternative which beckons. In recognition of the alarming rise of the tragic abuse of human rights resulting from the lack of a clear cut commitment on curbing this heinous crime resulting from the innate desire to relocate at all cost such as human trafficking, visa scams, asylum, immigration racketeering and matters arising from related issues, this paper does not only seek to examine the nexus between economic decline, poverty and transmigration in Nigeria but it also discusses changes in demographic patterns while it highlights the expectations of the people in diaspora towards revamping and sustaining the Nigerian economy.

Crisis of Identity: A Linguistic Study of the Attitude of the Younger Generation of Africans in the Diaspora

Temitope Aboidun Balogun

Department of Languages and Linguistics, Osun State University, Nigeria

Language and identity are both dynamic phenomena as well as constitute important aspects validating any people’s culture. It is no doubt that African descents that are scattered across the globe have different history and experiences. The paper seeks to investigate the attitude of the younger generation of African in diasporas to their native language; their role at embracing or discarding their native language given various variables. The study focuses on some selected young people in the Diasporas drawn across three countries. Questionnaires are used to gather information in order to test the young adult’s attitude towards their native language as well as their host country’s language. The information elicited is subjected to content analysis using critical discourse analysis. The results show frustration, confusion and indifference on the part of these people as they try to maintain their multicultural identities. While some lament their inefficiency in the spoken ability of their mother tongue, together with the loss of their native language which should determine their root and affirm their national identity, some only have a nostalgia of the native language and a few of the selected samples believe that one’s identity is shaped by the locality such belong to, either by birth or by acculturation. The paper concludes by asserting the dynamism of language and identity as well as proposing some pragmatic solutions that can assist younger generation in the Diaspora not to lose their native identity while they maintain the new identity at the same time.

The Identity of the Immigrant in a Postcolonial Francophone World: Léonora Miano’s Ces Ames Chagrines and Habiter la Frontière

Josiane Banini

Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, West Virginia University

Through the works of Cameroonian writer Léonora Miano, we will explore the impact of colonialism, the factors related to immigration after independence, the claim of a national and cultural identity by these immigrants, and finally the birth of a hybrid culture reflecting the identity of the sub-Saharan immigrant today. This study is based on a cultural perspective insofar as we will be able to analyze the themes of immigration, cultural identity, and post-colonialism, as presented by Miano and her peers. My objective will be to show how Miano treats the politics of identity in Ces Ames Chagrines and Habiter la Frontière. This presentation will depict the experiences of sub-Saharan immigrants in France during the postcolonial period from a cultural perspective. By comparing the characters of Miano’s books and incorporating scholarly research that emphasize immigration and questions of identity of Africans in France, we will show how Miano characterizes the sub-Saharan immigrant in terms of cultural identity (return to sources), integration (in order to reinforce cultural diversity) or assimilation (alienation), hybridity, and the notion of belonging during the postcolonial period and on a global scale.

Reading Mid-Twentieth Century Haitian Travel Advertisements

Kimberly J. Banks

Queensborough Community College, Bayside, New York

W.E.B. DuBois famously said that he didn’t give a damn for any art that was not propaganda. Just as famously James Baldwin denigrated what he considered the stock characters of the protest novel. Perceptions of propaganda and protest are in and of themselves ideological lenses that may sharpen, distort, or render invisible the range of rhetorical and imaginative strategies engaged in formulating diasporic identities. A “new” formulation of diaspora emerged with the United States occupation of Caribbean territories in the twentieth century. I am examining 1940s and 1950s Haitian travel advertisements placed in magazines primarily intended for African American audiences. Haiti during this time period is a representative example of how a specific class of African Americans viewed and traveled through the Caribbean. This paper seeks to understand how diasporic affiliation was imagined by a growing middle class with disposable income. At the heart of this analysis is the question of how political and economic power is augmented, redirected, and deflected through tourism.

Blueprint for Africa’s Political and Economic Transformation and the Role of the Diasporas: Moving Beyond Talkshops

Zakariya Baqi, Department of Sociology, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Moshood Issah, Department of Sociology, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Noah Yusuf, Department of Sociology, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

An important  question arises in the discourse on the Diaspora and African development: what has been the results of all the conferences, seminars and symposia held on African development? To date, the answer beckons to our eyes through the degrading state of the continent’s landscape in terms of socio-economic and political development. The image of 2013 Africa can best be summarized thus: A land full of promises in all sectors but of which the substantial part remains untapped; Mass of vibrant youth characterized by unemployment and underemployment, unmet expectations,  hazy future; Low industrial and agricultural output resulting to excessive importations from the developed and developing regions of the world; Decayed infrastructures – road, water and power, thereby denying the mass of the citizens decent living; High population growth rate leading to over-population and congestion with respect to housing, traffic, educational and health facilities; Diseases and poverty in which the continent have poor rating by international standards; Political instability leading to wars, violence, terrorism and other social upheavals. The present paper seeks to examine the current level of socio-political and economic  development in Africa. Using Nigeria as its case study,  models and experiences from other countries of the world, especially, developing ones with similar historical experience with Africa, would be explored. It would then  attempt to provide a realistic developmental framework for the country and by extension, the African continent.     

“African Diaspora” in the French Historiography: National Boundaries to a Global Concept

Louise Barre

International and World History, Columbia University, London School of Economics           

French historiography's reluctance to integrate the concept of African Diaspora is at the core of this paper which seeks to explore the reasons for what seems, from the other side of the Atlantic, like   denial. Still dealing with its colonial legacy, French Historiography is eager to deconstruct the idea of “blackness” as well as the association between a people and a space as it can be read in the term “African Diaspora”. Historians of migrations focusing on sub-Saharan immigrants therefore focus on ethnic networks or local solidarity to shed light on questions of agency and multiple identification processes.  On the rare occasions when it is adopted, the concept of “African Diaspora” is often translated into a Diaspora Noire (Black Diaspora) which subsumes any reference to Africa, and which also reflects the influence of Caribbean Intellectual over Creolité. Secondly, the divisive overtone entailed in the notion of Diaspora, as something that could possibly disrupt or question the primary national bond which unites a citizen and the state, explains why it is not adopted by French Historians who rather seek to emphasize processes of integration and assimilation. Processes of settlement and cultural appropriation are privileged over stories of multinational identities and transnational trajectories. This contribution seeks to illuminate how the adoption of an analytical concept relies on the national political context which drives historical questions. Its primary reflection, led by the inspirational work of Abdoulaye Gueye, also seeks to add nuance to his views on French academic's dependence toward a national ideology.

Thugs and Welfare Queens: Self Authorship and Identity for African Diasporas

Leamon Lacy Bazil

Saint Louis University


The primary question this paper attempts to answer is how should African Diasporas define themselves? Before taking on this task I explain how black men and women are normally perceived through the lens of western culture and lay out the historical context in which such perceptions were developed.  Second, I describe how various black leaders and social critics, from Booker T. Washington to Molefi Kete Asante, have attempted to author black male and female identities for African Diasporas, also being mindful of these thinkers’ social and historical circumstances. Third, I explain the shortcomings of their answers and attempt to clarify what constitutes a healthy black male and female identity. I argue that African Diasporas ought to see themselves, and others, through the naturalistic lens. What this means is that African Diasporas cannot work with identity discourses that are grounded in hegemony in order to subvert it. Because the ideology of “white” civilization is intertwined with the ideology of “black” savagery and primitivism, the new black social critic must develop ideals of black masculinity and femininity that are disentangled from Victorian and other hegemonic notions of manhood and womanhood.  I suggest that any self-conception that is centered or rooted in the comparative negation of others is a limiting self-conceptionthat perpetuates the master/slave dialectic. It is self-identification grounded in the relative comparison of despised others, rather than a naturalistic self-identification with the indeterminate and limitless potentiality and creativity that exists within each human being.

Revolution at the Crossroads: Re-framing the Haitian Revolution from the Heights of Platons

Michael Becker

Department of History, Duke University

In his landmark Silencing the Past, Michel-Rolph Trouillot contended that the Haitian Revolution had been erased and marginalized in historical memory because it could not be conceived within the conceptual categories of the world order, that is, that its political project was profoundly out-of-joint. I wish to suggest that while recent scholarship has brought the revolution back into view, our vision of a revolution organized around the figures of Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and Henri Christophe has marginalized other sets of historical actors and perhaps even more importantly, other political visions and other visions of the political. In this paper, I offer a re-orientation of the Haitian Revolution as a revolution at the crossroads, occurring at a critical node of Atlantic trade and colonial modernity, and engaging syncretically with multiple political traditions. I focus particularly on a close study of the maroon community of Platons, located in the mountains above the southern coastal city of Les Cayes, during the first two years of the revolution. Through examining Platons in detail, I prompt a series of questions about mass mobilization and organization among enslaved people. Further, I hope to underscore both the importance of the southern province and of maroons and marronage to grappling with the significance of the Haitian Revolution itself.

No Longer “America’s” Pastime: A Look at the New Ethnic Make-Up of Baseball

Lauren Bednarski

University of Texas at Austin

In the years of Jim Crow, Rube Foster founded the Negro Leagues, an organization of black baseball teams that flourished up until the 1950s, a two million dollar industry at its peak. With players such as Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, and Jackie Robinson, the Negro Leagues provide African Americans with a rich presence in the history of baseball. However, Major League Baseball is no longer black and white (or was it ever?), as the ethnic make-up of the sport continues to change. Most specifically, baseball has seen an influx of Dominican players, while the number of African American players continues to decrease. What are the main reasons for this shift, especially when African Americans have such a rich history in the sport? Why are we not seeing the same pattern in other American sports, such as basketball and football? Is there another ethnic shift forthcoming in baseball that may mean the end of Dominican dominance in the sport? How can baseball be used as a mirror for the larger immigration, and appropriation, patterns in the United States? My paper sets out to answer these questions, and more, as I delve further into America’s pastime.

In Search of a ‘Homeland’ in Africa: the Politics of Diasporans’ Resettlement Efforts in Ghana

George M. Bob-Milliar, Department of History and Political Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana

Kwame Essien, Department of History and Africana Studies, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

Many diasporans look to Africa as their ancestral homeland. In the immediate post-independence era, a significant number of diasporans returned to Africa. Ghana is one of the favorite destinations of diasporan Africans. Through the years, many have relocated to Ghana to live permanently. This paper will examine the experiences and the complex process of re-integration of diasporans into Ghanaian communities, using the cases of Nana Kwadwo Oluwale Akpan and Rita Marley. In 1991 Nana Kwadwo Oluwale Akpan an African-American known privately as Gerald Simmons, Jr. moved to Ghana and was enstooled as Chief Ye Fa Ogyamu of Fikankra. Rita Marley the Jamaican wife of Reggae legend Bob Marley, also relocated to Ghana in 1998 and was enstooled as the Nkosuohemaa (honorary queenmother) of the community in 2000. Her title was Nana Akua Adobea I. On 30 May 2008, Nana Akpan passed away in Lome, Togo. Ghanaian traditional customs demands that dead chiefs are returned to their communities for ritual performance and interment. Nevertheless, Nana Akpan was denied a resting place on his ancestral land in Akwamu. Rita Marley, who has lived in Ghana since 1998, recently became the first proud recipient of a Ghanaian passport after she was granted a dual citizenship by the Government of Ghana in June 2013. Other returnees who settled in Ghana before Rita Marley have not been granted dual citizenship after over a decade of appeal. What challenges do diasporans face in their attempt to integrate into Ghanaian communities? This central question will guide our further discussion.

A Kind of Homecoming, 2013

Kevin Brooks

Department of English, North Dakota State University  

In a 1968 talk, Ngũgĩ wa Thiongo examined the theme of "homecoming" via Caribbean writers’ encounters with Africa. Ngũgĩ concluded: “the African masses, together with their West Indian counterparts, are still engaged in a kind of social struggle which may . . .  end in a kind of homecoming” (94).    Three novels published in 2013 by African women examine the African diasporic experience and homecomings in a global social struggle.

  • NoViolent Bulawayo's We Need New Names grows up with its narrator, Darling, who survives Paradise, Zimbawe, then emigrates to "Destroyedmichygen" to complete her education. She feels displaced in America but is told she can no longer claim Zimbabwe as home. 

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche's Americanah tells an ambitious story of the main characters immigration to America and England, with eventual returns to Nigeria, a complicated kind of homecoming with challenging implications for racial and global integration.  

  • Taiyei Selasi's Ghana Must Go tells the story of a Ghanian who succeeds in the US, career and family, until both suddenly crumble.  A family and African reunion is facilitated only by his premature death.   

To have three similar novels emerge in the same year provides a fascinating look at the current challenges of emigration, the familial ties of Africans abroad but the displacement felt both in America and from Africans at home. Rather than theorize "home" and "homecoming" from a sociological or psychological point of view, the presentation will follow Ngũgĩ’s suggestion in Globalectics to theorize home and homecoming from an African literary perspective.  

The African American Civil Rights Movement: Reminisces and Lessons

Danazumi Sharwa Bukar

Plateau State University, Nigeria

The African American civil rights movement is definitely an established and indeed an impulsive part of American history-a tall hallmark of a Diaspora struggle. It is the story of a people upon whose shoulders history bestowed the burden of confronting a racial brick wall, storylines of chains, fetters, bondage, contempt segregation and repression against a Diaspora group whose contributions to the evolution of the modern world economic orders, history knows very well. This paper is an attempt to periscope the entire gamut of the struggle hoping to capture its travails, triumphs pitfalls and victories. While avoiding the temptation of moralizing the racial hatred and trauma the African Americans suffered, it is doubtlessly a bad history whose lessons are invaluable for global peace and the progress of mankind.

Black King, Indian Country: Bolivia’s Rey Negro as Tradition, Symbol, and Strategy

Sara Busdiecker

African Diaspora and the World Program, Spelman College

Bolivia’s African descendants were counted on the national population census in 2012 for the first time in over one hundred years. During much of that period, they were largely invisible and forgotten before the eyes of the state and the general public in what is the most indigenous nation in the Americas. The news that those self-identifying as Afro-descendant numbered a mere 16,329 elicited surprise among many Afro-Bolivians, in part because collective organizing around Afro identity over the past twenty years had led many to feel a sense of community and a corresponding sense that their numbers were greater than their forgotten status suggested. “Black King, Indian Country” exams a little known tradition that experienced a “rebirth” of sorts with the emergence of the aforementioned collective organizing around Afro identity. The tradition is the ceremonial crowning of an Afro-Bolivian king – el rey negro – that takes place in the rural Yungas region of the country. According to oral tradition, this practice dates back to the colonial period when a slave of Senegalese origin, brought to labor on the hacienda Mururata in the Nor Yungas province, was discovered to be of royal birth. That same oral tradition asserts that the current king, Julio Pinedo, is a direct descendant of that slave. Based on interviews and ethnographic research carried out in the Yungas by the author, this paper addresses this and a competing origin story for the rey negro tradition and then goes on to explore the multiple roles this tradition has played over the years. A central argument is that the black king has transformed from a purely local symbolic figure surviving more in oral history than practice, to a co-opted performance orchestrated by mestizos for journalistic and touristic ends beginning in the 1990s, and to an uneasy political strategy manipulated by urban Afro-Bolivian activists beginning in the 2000s. Central to the discussion is the disconnect between local narratives about the rey negro, including from the king himself, and representations of the rey negro circulated in national and international spaces and media. This disconnect offers an entryway into understanding the contested position Afro-Bolivians hold in the particular Indian-centric socio-political reality in which they exist, even as their longstanding invisibility is being reversed.

Traditional is Political: The Quotidian Politics of Baianas de Acarajé

Vanessa Castañeda

Latin American & Caribbean Studies, New York University

Baianas de acarajé are often referred to as “the postcard of Salvador”. These almost exclusively female street vendors are ubiquitously found within Salvador, Brazil, wearing turbans, white blouses and rounded skirts complimented with colored beaded necklaces. They have strategically been used as traditional and authentic assets within Salvador’s ethnic tourism industry. Baianas have been selling their West African foods (acarajé) on the streets and beaches of Salvador da Bahia since the 19th century, originally as wage-earning slaves. In 2004 Baianas de acarajé were officially recognized as symbols of national Brazilian heritage and cultural patrimony. Although symbolically valorized as national symbols of cultural identity and tradition, socio-economic upward mobility has not accompanied this public recognition; and they continue to lead lives of socioeconomic marginalization. Baianas de acarajé continue to face impediments from perceptions as traditional and therefore, cultural emblems of the Northeast incapable of political or economic capacities. This essay argues that Baianas de acarajé do not fall within the polar spectrums of the modern/tradition binary. Drawing from my summer ethnographic field research, specifically examine the role of the Association of Baianas de acarajé (ABAM) and Baiana members in both retaining traditional values and deliberately asserting them for political mobilization and leverage. One such victory was against the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) in being the first street vendors to sell within Cup games. Through organization, legal licensing, maintaining traditional Afro-religious customs and participation within formal public policy, ABAM and Baianas actively challenge their limits as traditional figures within Brazilian popular imaginary and local, state and national configurations.

Diasporas Collide: Identity at the “Fault Lines”

Dan C. Castilow II

Department of Anthropology, Tulane University

Trinidad and Tobago’s ethnic and racial diversity has often been described as ripe for racial conflict.  Historically, the legacies of colonial racial hierarchies and the vestiges of slavery and indentured labor have played a large role in the racial tension in the nation.  Presently, the two largest communities, Africans and East Indians, publicly display their differences, and constructed notions of ethnic identity through racially polarized electoral politics. The understandings of Diaspora by both communities reflect, and are defined in relation to one another.  However, in the Trinidadian case, these competing Diasporas touch, collide, and overlap.  This essay explores the “fault lines” of colliding Diasporas and the assemblages of identities that are negotiated at the permeable borders of African Diaspora.  I argue that Diaspora is malleable, allowing for there to be slippage in terms of identity politics in a way that is distinct from the process of creolization.  I interrogate how identities are constructed through the assemblages of diaspora, and the implications of such identity formations. The cultural logic of ethnic identity in Trinidad is connected to membership in diasporic communities.  These claims are set against a backdrop of seemingly competing agendas of both simultaneous inclusion in diasporic communities and cultural membership in the nation. Afro-Trinidadians have enjoyed relatively unchallenged claims of cultural citizenship in Trinidad, with Afro-Caribbean culture being historically normalized in the region. Conversely, East Indian communities have felt marginalized in claims to cultural citizenship in Trinidad, while actively engaging in discourse of Indian diasporic identity.     

South Africa’s Bantu World, Race, and the United States, 1949-1957

Derek Charles Catsam

Department of History, University of Texas of the Permian Basin

South Africa’s Bantu World newspaper was one of the most significant black publications of the early Apartheid era. The product of an educated elite in Johannesburg, the Bantu World published numerous versions, including a regular West Africa edition. In addition to covering issues of South African black culture and politics, the newspaper’s publishers also had a distinctly Pan-African approach, looking beyond South Africa’s borders for news, for interesting stories, for inspiration, and for a framework for comparison. This transnational bent not surprisingly led the newspaper to pay considerable attention to the United States, which alternately served as a beacon and as a reminder that even in the so-called free world, blacks were not always so free. This paper will look at these transnational inklings, focusing on the Bantu World and its coverage and treatment of American affairs, and especially the black American fight against white supremacy and for civil rights in the period from 1949 through about 1957. I am currently working on a book on municipal bus boycotts in the United States and South Africa in the 1940s and 1950s and this paper will therefore be an offshoot of the work I am doing combing through the Bantu World of that era.

From Feasts to Festivals: Diasporic Divisions in Trinidad Orisha

N. Fadeke Castor

Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University

From Feasts to Festivals: Diasporic Divisions in Trinidad Orisha, based on over a decade of ethnographic research, will explore splits in the African-based religious practices between national and transnational loci of authority and authenticity. Orisha worship in Trinidad has historically been organized around annual feasts (5 day ritual celebrations with offerings, prayer, song and dance). In the past fifteen years there have been shifts in ritual practices among large numbers of the Orisha religious community, from a focus on feasts to a focus on festivals. Throughout the year shrines (the local term for both the site and community of worship) will hold numerous of these festivals, which typically focus on one deity, for example the Oshun Festival or the Obatala festival. In contrast, more traditional shrines will hold their feast as one big public ritual event per year. From Feasts to Festivals explores how this shift in ritual practices brings into focus the emergence of shrines orientated towards Yoruba religious practices in Nigeria. What impact has this shift, from the local and national to the transnational and diasporic, had on the Orisha religion in Trinidad? How have new lines of authenticity and authority changed structures, status, and identity? It is my contention that these shifts in ritual that emerged from a re-centering in Trinidad Orisha towards West African religious practices laid the groundwork for the recent introduction of new lineages, chief among them the Ifá priesthood.

Enslaved Africans and Their Involvement in Crime in the 19th Century Ottoman Empire

Solmaz Celik

History Department, Sabanci University, Turkey

Enslaved Africans in the Ottoman Empire had never told their stories to the next generations. Besides researches into the living conditions and experiences of them in the new land are still at a germinal phase. To deduce untold stories of these people who suffered during the imprisonment, deportation, punishment and forced labor, torture are really difficult. Some scholars has been tended agree upon the fact that the Ottoman slavery system was different than Atlantic slavery and Islam advises masters to treat their slaves well and also freed them after seven years’ service. However, there are many documents at the Prime Minister Ottoman Archives in Istanbul which indicate their sufferings. The paper is an attempt to shed light on the experiences of enslaved African men and women by studying on their involvement in crime in the nineteenth century Ottoman Empire. While some who suffered from their masters attempted to take justice into their own hands for various reasons, some were forced to commit crime by the masters. Or many of them tried to escape from the bondages. For this reason, a close investigation of archival documents on criminal cases and the punishments respectively will inform us the living experiences of enslaved Africans and their bondages. In this regard, this paper intends to look at these crimes; arson, theft, homicide and the case of fugitive slaves. Moreover it will also focus on why they opt for crime. I argue that the legal institutional practices of slavery were quite different when one looks at the treatment of slave masters in practice. In other words, I seek to demonstrate the evidence on the real voices and experiences of the subordinated Africans.

The Portrayal of Baianas in Two Moments of Brazilian Literature

Rafael Cesar

Spanish and Portuguese Program, New York University

This presentation seeks to compare two characterizations of baianas, black women who migrated from the state of Bahia following emancipation to work in the city of Rio de Janeiro at the turn of the twentieth century. The chronologically antipodal works of two authors, Aluísio de Azevedo's naturalist The Slum (O Cortiço, 1890) and Nei Lopes' contemporary Mandingas da mulata velha na cidade nova (no available translation, 2009), both center on the baiana, but from opposing points of reference. The Slum stereotypically depicts Rita Baiana as lascivious, irrational, lazy and felon-loving- the Jezebel archetype - creating a direct association between these characteristics and her alienation from the community. Mandingas' narrative, in turn, recreates the struggle of black communities in Rio for the social legitimization of samba and candomblé. In this context, Tia Amina, a host for musical, religious and political meetings, is placed at the center of a diplomatic process that created a shift in public opinion and strengthened black populations. The stark contrast hence raises one fundamental question: what elements during the century-long span between the works facilitated the production of such different portrayals of the baiana in circulating works of fiction whose plots are set in the same space and historical moment? In order to answer this question, I aim to explore public policies of each period (mass European immigration vs affirmative action policies for Afro-Brazilians), to analyze the different epistemological approaches in the depiction of characters and urban landscapes (determinist vs historicist) and their correlation to each narrative’s perspective and structure (one narrator vs multiple narrators). I argue that literature, by reflecting and contributing to the consolidation of historical discourse and the social imaginary, becomes a strategic arena to comprehend the thread of racial dynamics and racial politics in Brazil.

Slavery and the African Diaspora: A Discourse on the Dislocation and Mutation of the African

Alaneme Justina Chika

Department of Public Administration, Imo State Polytechnic, Nigeria

So much has been said and written about the slavery and enslavement of the African peoples by the Euro-American peoples of the Western hemisphere. In their search for cheap labour and raw materials to set forth in motion the full realization and fulfillment of the prevailing agrarian and industrial revolutions taking place in the West sometime beginning from the 16th or 17th century onwards, these Euro-Americans landed in the African continent. This incursion resulted in the armed raiding of the various African communities for human spoils directly or by the use of their ignorant, largely uneducated and raw African Cohorts or raiding bands; sales, purchase and trafficking, branding  loading and shipping of thousands and millions of Africans to the Americans and West Indies and other European nations for use as slaves in their agricultural plantations and factories, thus ensuring for themselves the much craved-for cheap labour and costless steady supply of raw materials. By reason of this, these Africans were forcefully removed from their homelands and made to toil for their slave masters under the most despicable human conditions, thus settings forth a chain of dislocations and mutations in and among these unfortunate Africans, now in Diaspora. The effects of this slavery, dislocations and mutations still haunt and hurt the African diasporas to this day. However, the aim of this discourse as to highlight slavery and the forms it took in Africa and elsewhere; how and by whom it began; the various forms of dislocations and mutations it orchestrated, including their effects on the African diasporas. The overall aim is to show how despicable and abominable slavery and its other forms can be.                      

Reggae Music as Expression of African Culture in Diaspora

C.D. Chuku, Department of Social Sciences, Rivers State College Of Arts and Science, Nigeria

C. Izeoma Chinda, Department of Arts, Rivers State College Of Arts and Science, Nigeria

Amugo Frank, Department of Arts, Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Nigeria

One unique aspect of human culture is the ability to express their thoughts in words and in music. Africans are very rich in philosophical words which are also expressed in music. As an integral part of life among Africans, it was not unusual to observe that this same culture was transferred to the new world. This paper argues that Reggae music and or protest music is by and large an expression of African culture in Diaspora. It argues that the philosophy behind Reggae music is basically predicated on seeing Africa as their route. Initially, Europeans and Americans never took their music seriously until early 1960s when Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Bony Wailer, Peter Mackintosh and other reggae artists gave the music professional touch. For the purpose of clarity and focus, this paper shall focus on selected music from Bob-Marley and Peter Mackintosh. This paper relies on secondary sources and content analysis. This paper concludes that while the issue of reparation remains a burning issue, Africans in Diaspora through the promotion of Reggae created a niche for themselves. This paper recommends among others the introduction of reggae music as part of curriculum in the study of music, worldwide.

‘Where the Negros Reign’: African Aspects of Colonial Veracruz, 1580­-1700

J.M.H. Clark

Department of History, The Johns Hopkins University

When the Spanish priest Antonio de Ciudad Real arrived in Veracruz in September 1580, he was surprised to find a city with no indigenous inhabitants and very few Spaniards. “Veracruz is a hot and

sick land” he wrote, “a land where the mosquitoes reign, and even the negros, because of all the population they are the greatest in number and have almost all the liberty that they want.” Between 1580 and 1640, Veracruz was the landing point of nearly 100,000 African slaves. Though most were bound for rural haciendas, thousands remained in the port, where they performed vital functions as shipbuilders, dockworkers, constructors, and small farmers and fishermen. Meanwhile, nearly all of the Spaniards who residing in the area decamped to the higher altitudes of Xalapa and Orizaba, leaving behind an urban landscape built and inhabited primarily by Africans. This paper examines that landscape, looking to Veracruz as a city where African ingenuity influenced built environments both in the physical construction of space and in the way that space was mediated. It draws on notarial records, census data, and research in the contraband slave trade to describe Veracruz’s African population, using categories such as gender and ethnicity. It then shifts focus to accounts of Veracruz’s physical layout, making comparisons to descriptions of built environments in cities and towns in the Caribbean, West Central Africa, and the Lower Guinea. In so doing, it seeks not only African contributions to the cultural life of early Spanish America in forms such as religious belief and medicinal practice, but also the physical imprint of those contributions in the construction of one of the New World’s most important port cities.

Mammies, Mulattoes, Morenas, and the Media: Past and Present Depictions of Women of the African Diaspora

Raven J. Crowder

University of Houston-Victoria

Women of the African Diaspora are distinct by geographic location, language, religion and ways of life; however the pain of violent sexual abuse, discrimination, and stereotypes are a commonality shared by the women of this demographic. Several of these experiences shared by women of the African Diaspora are remnants of slavery. Though the systems of slavery were diverse throughout the Caribbean and the Americas, women of color constantly contended with similar societal assumptions regarding their purpose and who they were in the scheme of plantation life. Currently women of the African Diaspora continue to grapple with suppositions and media portrayals. Long gone are the days of the stereotypical mammy role, but only to be replaced with representations of argumentative, combative, emasculating, spit-fire types. The jezebel stereotype continues to be problematic. Perhaps even more problematic are the ways in which women of the African Diaspora currently lend a hand in the formation of these representations. So called reality programs tend to promote certain types of behaviors and in turn women are becoming semi-celebrities in reward to behaviors that support negative stereotypes.

With use of journals, scholarly books, and various media tools this paper will showcase the different types of representations of women of the African Diaspora (past and present) and ways these images have evolved over time.

Being and Belonging: The African Diaspora and Representation in the Smithsonian

Ariana A. Curtis

Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

The Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) was museum of African American History and Culture until 2006. The new mission mandates that we examine broader issues in contemporary urban communities and museology. As a museum with only one main gallery, public programming and outreach are vital to our work as a Community Museum and form the foundation of our museum audience. How do we expand our research, collections, and audience? As the first curator of Latino Studies at ACM, my challenge is the everyday construction of difference and the creation of visual community representation  beyond race and ethnicity in a museum system that has racial and ethnically specific museums, in a museum that used to be one of them and is located in a residential African American community. Central to this work is unpacking Diaspora and addressing issues of citizenship and nativism that create boundaries of African American “us” and a foreign “Latino Other.”  The current politicization of immigration coupled with the narrow public frames that makes immigrant synonymous with Latino can often place African American interests in conflict with a growing Latino presence. This presentation explores ACM's historical and contemporary use of diaspora to foster community and belonging.

Africa’s Ethno-Xenophobia: Cross-Cultural Conversations with Politics of Identity

Gbenga Dasylva

University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Xenophobia has its root in history; experience of some sort twisted over time to suite a selfish purpose of an individual or a section of people that it favors against the “other”. Unity is always contrived, Nigeria and Rwanda are two countries that belong to two different regions of the continent but the two countries share similar experience although with varying degree of violent ethnic rivalry, war skirmishes, and civil wars, culminating in ethnic cleansing. Given the magnitude of the effect of the violence unleashed on fellow Africans on ground of ethnic differences, on the one hand, and the animosity and distrust towards Africans in the Diaspora on the other hand, it calls for a serious scholarly attention for a close study and better understanding of the scenarios that foregrounded the apparent misconception of nationhood and the problem of ethno-xenophobia, a state of grave dislike for the other arising from fear or suspicion. A xenophobic perception of the world reduces complex social and cultural phenomena to simplistic good and bad scenarios. We attach value to the perceptions we have of others and ourselves, such as "We" = positive and "They" = negative. Ethno-xenophobia in African political system in relation to governance and their economic growth would be explored with the roles and influence of ethnicity within Africa and the Diaspora. In addition, shed light on past and present occurrences which define the pace of operation and growth in select African countries.

Slavery and Colonialism in Africa Hindered Development: The Base for Underdevelopment in Nigeria

Abdulsalami M. Deji

Department of History & Archaeology, Taraba State University, Nigeria

Today, development is still eluding the continent of Africa. The greed and personal aggrandizement of Whiteman is been ascribed to the failure of African leaders has inability to develop its continent in line with the present global trend. Obviously, the obnoxious slave trade and colonialism practiced in Africa accounted for its underdevelopment which Nigeria is an integral part of the continent. Since the abrogation of slave trade across the globe and decolonization, what have we done as a nation in terms of development after the exit of colonial master in 1960? Are we still finding excuses for our failure which is the mantra of do nothing political leaders in Nigeria? Nigerian leaders should accept this popular saying ‘‘A man is not yet failure until he blames someone else for his failure’’ if Whiteman must be held accountable for our underdevelopment, Nigeria as a nation should examine its activities since independence, what have we done to change our leadership style? If nothing has been done to redress our usual practice, then, we need to check the excess of slave-drivers running our economy. Does culture of impunity of our leaders today differs from that of slave era and colonial period? This paper will examine the burden of slave trade and colonialism in Nigeria and reasons why Nigeria as a giant of Africa should be exemplary of good governance that will give credible roadmap for desired development across the African continent instead of apportioning blame to drivers of obsolete events that cannot be reversed.   

Reverse Migrations and the Concept of Homeland in African Diaspora Studies

Wilhelmina J. Donkoh, Department of History and Political Studies, KNUST, Kumasi & International History Department, London

Osei B. Boakye, Department of History and Political Studies, KNUST, Kumasi & International History Department, London

Since the 1960s, the study of the African Diaspora has engaged the attention of scholars resulting in the production of a large body of literature. The initial focus of these studies was outward migration into the Atlantic world. Such issues as identity formation, relations between migrants and host societies, evolution of diasporic cultures and theories surrounding these developments constituted the substance within the growing volume of literature on the subject. Since the turn of the millennium, the discourse has extended to the reversed process where people of African descent have returned to the continent. This process has generated its own discourse accompanied by its own concerns. Among them are the return movement and the concept of homeland. Much of the scholarship on reversed migrations in the African Diaspora focused on the Afro-Brazilian 'return movement' to Africa, which commenced in the early 18th until the beginning of the 20th the majority of the returnees were compelled to return to various parts of West Africa including Ghana, Nigeria, Dahomey (now Benin) and Togo due to “the male revolt of 1835” in Bahia. However, the concept of homeland has not been sufficiently explored with regard to these communities. Commentators including Debrunner have treated groups such as the Tabon of Accra as exclusive units without paying much attention to their multinational homelands. Also scant attention has been paid to the history of pre-colonial returnee groups. The returnees have been active historical agents who have been much aware of their multiple origins and ancestries. How has the group managed to defy being tied down to a specific homeland and yet managed to play important political and economic roles in countries they have chosen to identify with? To what extent does this group contribute to or hamper our understanding of diasporic dynamics? This paper explores the concept of homeland among Afro-Brazilians families like De Souza, Aguda, D’Almeida, Antonio, Olympio, and Baéta in Togo and South-Eastern Ghana. This group includes descendants of original returnees and others who were adopted into the group.  

Beyond “Good” and “Bad” Hair: African American Hair, Self-Esteem, and Ethnic Identity

Denika Y. Douglas

Department of Psychology, Texas Southern University

Hair carries a great deal of cultural significance for people of African descent. Whether it is worn in its natural state, relaxed, braided, or weaved, hair is a powerful form of self-expression within the African American community. But, is the choice of hairstyle simply a reflection of esthetic preference, or is it an indicator of something more significant? The purpose of the current study is to examine African American women’s choice of hairstyle, the amount of time and money spent on hair styling and maintenance, and their perceptions of their hair. In addition, the study explores whether these hairstyling practices are correlated with self-esteem and ethnic identity. In this two-part study, a sample of African American women were first administered a demographic questionnaire that collected information regarding their hairstyling practices as well as measures of African American ethnic identity and self-esteem. Next, focus groups were convened in which the participants discussed their hair histories, their feelings about their hair, and how their hairstyling choices have impacted them personally and professionally. This research begins to untangle the complex relationship that many African American women have with their hair and provides insight into how this relationship influences their perceptions of themselves and their identity as African Americans.

The Tutsi Diaspora in Uganda and the National Resistance Army

Emma Dugas

Department of Foreign Languages, United States Military Academy at West Point

During the turbulent independence of Rwanda, a large population of Tutsi refugees settled in Southwestern Uganda, seeking a safer home while still remembering their origins. While systematically oppressed by the regimes of Milton Obote and Idi Amin, these groups found a welcoming ally in dissident leader Yoweri Museveni. Over the five years of Museveni’s struggle (1981-86), the Tutsi population proved to be perhaps his most decisive members of the National Resistance Army fighting against first Obote’s regime and then that of Tito Okello. The significance of the roles filled by Paul Kagame and Fred Rwigyema signify the trust Museveni had with the Banyarwanda and the significance of the Tutsi’s role in bringing him to power. The lessons learned from Museveni and the National Resistance Movement inspired the leaders of Rwandan descent to form the Rwandan Patriotic Front in order to restore peace in Rwanda. From being highly oppressed by the regimes of Obote and Amin to fulfilling essential roles such as Deputy Director of Military Intelligence and Western Axis Commander in Museveni’s army, the Rwandan Tutsi were highly influential in the political discord of this era and used their training to create the Rwandan Patriotic Front which invaded Rwanda on 1 October 1990.

Untangling Discursive Reproduction: Negras, Sterilization and Reproductive Rights in Brazil

Ugo Felicia Edu

University of California, San Francisco/University of California, Berkeley

This paper takes the bodies of black women, particularly their fertility and reproductive system, as its primary focus to explore “the forms of violence and domination enabled by the recognition of humanity, licensed by the invocation of rights and justified on grounds of liberty and freedom”. I draw on 16 months of ethnographic qualitative fieldwork research in Brazil concerned with Brazilian women’s navigation of the health care system, to be able to control their fertility and secure a tubal ligation. Included in this navigation are a host of requirements set out by the 1996 law that legalized sterilization in Brazil. I examine the troubling ways that the invocation of human rights, humanity and freedom and a dependence on the law, can serve to further “tether, bind and oppress” black women in their efforts to end their reproductive careers. I narrate black women’s attempts to secure tubal ligations, highlighting the way that their female blackness makes them subject to the law in ways that hinder access to tubal ligations, in spite of the rhetoric of reproductive rights and choice. I draw attention to the disparity between women’s lived experiences and the efforts to legalize and regulate sterilization, thus theoretically alleviating women of doctors’ and politicians’ abusive practices.

The African Homeland and the African Diaspora: Analysis of the Cultural Nexus-The Igbo Catchment

Juliet Adaku Egesi

Owerri Archdiocessan Catholic Education Commission, Nigeria

Among Africans in diaspora, particularly those of Igbo ancestry whose homeland is in the South-East of Nigeria, the concept of homeland is a dear one. So whatever they do and whenever they are, this idea of homeland colours of underscores it. The belief and strong attachment of the Igbo (other Africans) in and to their homeland affects the cosmology, religious systems and beliefs, language and speech patterns, actions and lifestyles, attitudes of behaviors as well as the degree of attachment to western and Eastern values and norms by the Igbo (African) in diaspora. In fact, the concept of homeland for them determines the level, extent or duration of their migration, economic and social interaction with the outside world. In a breath, the Igbo (African) diaspora old and new have spawned ideologies and philosophies that underscore, their attachment to their homeland. The prevailing affirmative and social actions tinged by African culture of these Igbos/Africans in diaspora also defines their strong attachment and belief to their homeland(s). However, the aim of this paper is to take more than a cursory look into the world of the African Diasporas old and new in order to understand how their concept of homeland affected and continues to determine their cultural and relational attachment to both the African homeland and the countries and peoples in which they have found themselves.  

The Problems of Identity and Africans in the Diaspora

Juliet Adaku Egesi

Owerri Archdiocesan Catholic Education Commission, Nigeria

The major problems facing the modern African both at home and in the diaspora are those related to identity. The modern African, whether man or woman, youth or elder , educated or uneducated, is at a loss as to who he or she actually is, where he/she comes from, what culture does he/she belong to and which he/she is expected to practice and pay due allegiance to, what values, norms, morals, custom, languages, beliefs or belief system will he/she identify with and hold. Is he/she a black man/woman or white man/woman in both body, mind and spirit? Can he/she pursue Western education, hold western values, religion or belief and ideologies speak mainly western languages eat western cuisine and still remain an authentic African in thinking, action and form? This is the dilemma in which the modern African has found him/herself, particularly the African in diaspora, who are mostly born, bred, and who live, study and work in other cultures and lands other than his/hers native continent and come. The facts remains that he/she faces cultural, socio-political, religion-spiritual and spatial crises, in addition to he/she not being wholly integrated into the social milieu in which he/she finds his/her being. To resolve these identity crisis afflictions, the African at home or in the diaspora particularly face a difficult situation and the degree to which he/she successfully resolves the complexity that defines daily life will determine his/her authenticity as an African who will also hold his/her head high anywhere in the world, and thumb at his/her chest and I tell the world, “I am an African from Africa, and I am proud and thankful to God to be so made.” The resolution of the crisis must begin at its origin. The aim of this paper is to analyze the origin, causes, and forms of identity processes facing the African. The overall aim is to present to the African a blueprint or window to work to thrive in order to overcome or escape his/her predicament in the modern world.

Re-defining Language and Identity: A Study of Migrants in Chimamanda Adiche's Americana

Juliet Nkane Ekpang

Department of English & Literary Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria


Language is both the communicative tool and the identity marker of people in a society. A person's identity can be deciphered through his/her use of a particular language. Language and identity therefore, influence the activities of a people and to a large extent map out their interpretation of the world around them. The migration of people from one linguistic society to another as depicted in Chimamanda Adiche's Americana has generated far-reaching implications in terms of language and identity. These implications, found at the phonological, syntactic and semantic levels of linguistic study have generated a new kind of identity: a mixed breed of some sort that is distinctly peculiar. This paper studies these distinctive linguistic habits of migrants in Adiche's Americana and proposes a structural prototype for their taxonomy. The socio-linguistic theory of language analysis provides the framework for this study.

Pragmatic Analysis of Former Nigerian President Obasanjo’s Political Rhetoric on African Empowerment.

Ngozi U. Emeka-Nwobia

Languages and Linguistics Department, Ebonyi State University

Language is an integral aspect of a people’s culture and a vehicular means of expression and transmission of political ideas, activities and interaction. This work utilizes pragmatic principles to examine the role of language in expression of politics. Pragmatics is an aspect of linguistics interested in the study of meaning in relation to speech and situation. The speech situation enables the speaker to use language to achieve a particular effect on the mind of the hearer Leech (1983:6). Pragmatics is the aspect of language study that embraces the use of language in social context (knowing what to say, how to say, and when to say it – and how to “be” with other people) Bowen (2001). The work shall be utilizing Pragmatic principles to examine how Nigerian former president Olusegun Obasanjo utilized linguistic resources in constructing a common identity for the Africans and also for preaching a gospel of African empowerment. The work seeks to unravel how meaning is constructed and deconstructed by politician in conveying the intended meaning for the communication. It shall as well examine the discursive strategies utilized by the president in the delivery of his rhetoric. The paper draws principally from vox pox (newspapers and internet) and interviews with adult locals. Excerpts of Obasanjo’s presidential speeches on African empowerment were randomly selected covering the period of his democratic governance from 1999 to 2007.

Africans in Diaspora and Socio-Economic Development in Africa: An Appraisal of the Contributions of Africans in the Netherlands

Ntim Gyakari Esew, Department of Political Science, Kaduna State University, Nigeria

Otegwu Isaac Odu, Department of Political Science and International Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria

Mass migration is one of the main global forces shaping the world in the twenty-first century and one consequence of this phenomenon which is already evident is the emergence of a large diaspora from the poor South to the affluent countries in the West. With regards to Africa, the diaspora is used to describe large proportions of its peoples who were forcefully transported to other parts of the globe via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Today the term is also used to refer to Africans who have migrated to other parts of the globe in search of greener pastures. Despite the huge number of African in  diaspora in western host countries, they have rarely been the subject of serious study and consequently very little is known about them and their activities. This study is therefore, aimed at appraising the role played by the Dutch-based African Diaspora towards the socio economic development of Africa and how it has shaped and affected the lives of Africans back home. To successfully carry out this research, the study shall rely essentially on secondary sources of data which include textbooks, journals, newspapers, magazines, internet websites and conference presentations. Data obtained will be subjected to qualitative analysis to arrive at

African Diaspora and the Decolonization of Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa

Ntim Gyakari Esew

Department of Political Science, Kaduna State University, Nigeria

For effective administration of their colonies, the colonialists had to teach the colonized subjects their language through the missionaries. As time went on some of these subjects travelled to the home countries of the colonizers and by so doing improved upon their foreign language skills which was effectively used as a weapon to fight for decolonialization. This paper critically assesses the contributions of selected Africans in diaspora to the emancipation of countries in Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa. The choice of this area is because the first wave of decolonization leading to democratization started from there. Relying principally on Secondary data, the paper concludes that English Language employed by Africans in diaspora both at home and abroad was a potent tool against colonialism in Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa.

Revisiting Reverse Migrations Between Ghana and Nigeria

Ntim Gyakari Esew

Department of Political Science, Kaduna State University, Nigeria

For the pursuit of greener pasture cum desire for freedom and knowledge as well as the love of adventure, people have often left their home lands individually or in droves. In West Africa, Nigeria and Ghana have lots of commonalities making it possible for their citizens to move freely and settle wherever they choose. This paper, utilizing both primary and secondary sources, critically examines the expulsion of large numbers of Nigerians from Ghana in the 1970s and similar repatriation of over a million Ghanaians from Nigeria in the early 1980s. It argues strongly that the downturn of the economy in both countries made the governments at that time to pursue a policy of dealing with perceived saboteurs of the economy deemed to be aliens. It is recommended that foreigners living in neighboring countries must try to regularize their stay to avoid future occurrence.

African Kinship Across the Atlantic: A Study of Ben Igwe’s Against the Odds

Itang Ede Egbung

Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria

The forceful transplantation of Africans through the Middle Passage to the Americas; the injustices and the inhumanity they experienced in slavery; the separation from their traditions, culture, kith and kin, language and values was only a physical separation, which hardly affected their Africanness. There is an umbilical cord that binds Africans in the homeland and those in the Diaspora. This is exhibited in the attitude of the Africans in the Diaspora always asking pertinent questions about their Motherland, and taking concrete steps to invest their talent and capital therein. Using Ben Igwe’s Against the Odds, this paper calls on black people on all sides of the Atlantic to once again give attention to the cultivation of African kinship in the Black Atlantic  and by so doing give vigour to the old saying that blood is thicker than water. In spite of the differences in geographical location and language, Africans are Africans wherever they are found and they must jointly be committed to solving problems that confront the Black race. This is the surest way of making meaningful progress in the 21st century, which is still dominated by the descendants of the slave masters.    

Styles and Themes: The Case of Visual Artists in Diaspora

Bojor Enamhe

Department of Visual Arts and Technology, Cross River University of Technology, Nigeria

This paper begins with a background discussion on the importance of styles and themes in visual arts. The problem of the study is to what extent the environment affects art works in terms of styles and choice of themes. Perceptions about artists in Diasporas generate intense thoughts on appreciations and conceptualization in productions, designs, ideas and techniques. Influences from different perspectives as perceived at home and abroad remains the bone of contention. For those professing the visual culture, interpretations of art works have a plethora of resources to hold unto, but to connect to African artists outside the shores of home is the basis for this conversation. The writer intends to make connections with experiences of professional artists in Nigeria to present their views through interviews on who the artists in Diaspora are? How are old and new Diasporas discussed in visual arts? What is their role in modern politics? From their themes and styles, how do diasporic voices shape conceptualizations of individuals and collective identities and lastly what will the African diasporas look like in the future.

Religion, Traditional Culture and Creolization in the African Diaspora: The Case of the Banyangs and Ejagams in Southwest Cameroon

Richard Abgor A. Enoh, Department of History, University of Buea, Cameroon

Agbor Tabot, Department of English, Government Technical High School Buea, Cameroon

This paper examines how the Banyangs and the Ejagam tribes in South West Cameroon were cultural protagonists in religion, traditional culture and religion which have always been a force to reckon with in the making of some major diasporic communities. Being one of the provinces in the west African state of Cameroon, which have suffered the bitterness of “forced migration” through slave trade and slavery; nothing has been mentioned about their contributions and survivals in the New World. Like the Yorubas and the Igbos of Nigeria, the Akan of Ghana, and others, their contributions are felt in the Diaspora ever since their sojourn. Therefore, the Banyangs and Ejagams from southwest Cameroon should also be appreciated as carriers of cultures from their homeland in Africa to the various diasporic communities in religion, traditional culture, music, dance, mannerisms, dress, and conjurations in addition to the methods of creolization that shaped the lives of these bodies. This paper will discuss some of the major communities which the Cameroonian sub-groups, the Banyangs and Ejagams, impressed their derived cultures, mainly in Cuba, Palmares in Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, and South Carolina in the United States. This paper will elaborate on how religion, traditional culture, and creolization influenced community development amongst Africans in the Diaspora and also offer a discussion of how these communities should be regarded as “un-credited ambassadors” in the Diaspora then and now.

A Marriage of Inconvenience: Miriam Makeba’s Marriage to Stokely Carmichael and Its Impact on Her Recording Career in the United States

Tyler Fleming, Department of History and Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville

During the 1960s, singer Miriam Makeba emerged as a popular entertainer and one of the most well-known South Africans in the world.  She released numerous hit records, won a Grammy award, toured across the globe, and appeared in various television programs.  In 1968, however, Makeba’s career dramatically shifted with her sudden marriage to American Civil Rights activist, Stokely Carmichael (later becoming Kwame Ture). Initially celebrated in the press as the “symbolic of the joining of Blacks in Africa and the United States,” their marriage complicated both their lives and their careers. For Makeba, her relationship to Carmichael undermined international audience’s perception of her and her music. Hence she became nearly an afterthought within popular culture during the following decade. This essay explores the larger impact that their relationship had on Makeba’s performing and recording career in America. In doing so, it draws from a variety of primary sources including autobiographical writings by Makeba and Carmichael as well as accounts from the era’s popular press and various other archival sources.

Done Waiting:  When African States Fail to Deliver, Afropolitans are Stepping In

Amadou Fofana, Department of French and Film Studies, Willamette University

Joyce V. Millen, Department of Anthropology, Willamette University

Two years ago, in recognition of how new transnational flows are changing terrains of trade, investment and aid, former World Bank President Robert Zoellick argued that we are moving “beyond aid,” by drawing on the strengths of the developing world to “build more poles of growth” rather than charity. In the same speech, Zoellick explained, “new players and new donors are already transforming the aid world as we know it.” Among these new players are approximately 30 million Africans living outside Africa who, according to the World Bank, send home each year over 40 billion dollars to their communities of origin in Africa.  Until very recently these new players operated below the international aid radar, scarcely perceived by donor countries and aid organizations. Even today, most people are unaware of the powerful force these diasporic African philanthropists have become in the economic and social development of their countries. This presentation is based on findings from a four-year, multi-sited research study supported by the National Science Foundation. It will show how West Africans in North America and Europe are leveraging the familial loyalties and hometown pride of their compatriots abroad to bring needed health skills and resources to their communities of origin in Africa. The case studies at the heart of this research explore changing relations between Diaspora communities and “the State”—both home and host. They also challenge old conceptions of “brain drain” while presenting an uplifting story of solidarity, self determination and the democratization of international aid.

Relevance of Parental Cultural and Socio Economic Background in Nutritional Status of Pre-schoolers

Morounkeji Folarinle Fasakin, Department of Home Economics, Adeyemi College of Education, Nigeria

Bridget Ebunoluwa Adeyanju, Department of Home Economics, Adeyemi College of Education, Nigeria

The paper surveyed the intake of meals by preschool children to determine the effects of culture and economic status of parents on the provision of wholesome/balanced meals for their children. Data were collected through a questionnaire administered on 231 mothers randomly selected from 23 different units of tertiary institutions in Ondo State, Nigeria. The instrument used to collect data was a questionnaire containing 20 items which included respondents’ demography, annual income and meals given to preschool age children among others. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics of simple frequency counts, percentages and mean scores. The results showed that cultural and socio economic backgrounds of parents were major determinants of the meals eaten in families and given to pre-school children. It also confirmed that prevalent malnutrition among pre-schoolers resulted from parental lack of nutrition education. The paper recommended that:

i. Periodic assessment of pre-school children’s nutritional status be carried out to help overcome prevalent nutrition disorders.

ii. Management of schools should ensure that school midday meals contain all essential nutrients in their correct proportion.

Strategies for Enhancing Local Food Consumption Among Adolescents In Ondo West Local Government, Ondo State, Nigeria.

Morounkeji Folarinle Fasakin, Department of Home Economics, Adeyemi College of Education, Nigeria

Bridget Ebunoluwa Adeyanju, Department of Home Economics, Adeyemi College of Education, Nigeria

The study examined the strategies to enhance the consumption of traditional Yoruba food by adolescents for their nutritional enhancement and for cultural emancipation. Data were collected  through a Food Consumption Questionnaire (FCQ) from 2010 adolescents chosen by random sampling method. FCQ contained items on respondents’ demography, patterns of eating and favourite/preferred food items. The data were analysed using frequencies, counts, percentages and mean scores. The findings revealed that up to 83% of the respondents consumed foods from synthetic sources. 79% consumed foods influenced by advertisement, peer groups and those that required very little preparation time. It also showed that ignorance of the nutritional values of traditional foods on the part of adolescents and some parents are limitations towards regular consumption of local foods.

The paper recommended that:

• Adolescents should be trained in the methods of preparing local foods to assist them in meeting their needs for essential nutrients to support growth and fight against nutritional disorders.

• It also recommended the consumption of local food to prevent health issues like obesity and encourage cultural emancipation through good nutrition.

The study concluded that traditional foods should be processed into convenience foods in line with contemporary trends to ensure nutrient preservation of their organic matter and reduction in the time required for cooking to encourage their consumption in contemporary time.

Homeless at Heart, a Comparative Study of the Physical and Cultural Concept of the (home) Land as Depicted in Lopes’ Le Lys et le Flamboyant and Ndiaye’s En famille

Yasmina Fawaz

Department of French and Italian, University of Texas at Austin

In their novels, Henri Lopes and Marie N’Diaye tackle the historical construction of identity in the mixed race individual as either bound in the loneliness of constant rejection and a deep sense of homelessness; or as embodying an impossible hope for the future as a super-human. The novels’ narrators are both affected by what can be qualified as homelessness due to the ongoing diaspora they are both experiencing with regards to their African ties. While they both possess access to a private dwelling, they remain excluded from the world they live in, always conscious of a part of them that remains separate. Their homelessness is located in their identities and is manifested through their bodies, symbols of their transgression. Marie Ndiaye and Henri Lopes offer a challenging outlook on cultural and racial identity and its intersection with the physical and cultural concept of the home and homeland. Through pain and death, suffering and sacrifice, both narrators are confronted with their identities and multiple origins. Sociology scholar Samira Kawash provides a point of entry into the analysis of both texts by way of homelessness, exile and mobility leading into a discussion with scholars such as Glissant and Hartman who engage with the challenges that these texts offer regarding the construction of identity. This paper traces the ways in which both narrators explore and wrestle with their identities through time and become homeless ‘heroes,’ communicating to the reader a new and eventually more optimistic perspective with which to view the mixed raced child and what it means to belong.

Diaspora Income and Business Start-up in Nigeria: Issues and Perspectives

Abimbola Olugbenga Fayomi, Institute for Entrepreneurship and Development Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria

Bolanle Clara Simeon-Fayomi, Department of Continuing Education, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria

The paper explores the different uses of Diaspora income in Nigeria. In particular, it made an attempt to investigate the disposition of Nigerians in Diasporas to starting a business in their homeland. The paper employed purposive sampling procedure to select 10 respondents in United States of America and United Kingdom for the study. Data for the study was collected through an interview schedule. The data were analyzed using appropriate statistical tools. Findings from the study revealed majority in the Diasporas interviewed considered investing in their homeland a desirable expenditure that could engender a secured future. Majority also perceived investment in Nigeria as a form of contribution to the economic development of the fatherland. Nonetheless, the study revealed a weak disposition of Diaspora towards investing in business start-ups in Nigeria for various reasons; some of these include unstable political climate, dearth of dependable business representatives, as well as inadequate infrastructure among others. The paper posits that Diaspora income can indeed help in reducing poverty and unemployment in Nigeria if it is channeled towards business start-up. It concluded by identifying a number of “pull and push factors” that can promote more investment in start-ups by Nigerians in Diaspora.

The Diasporic Birth of a Portuguese-based Creole in West Africa, 1500-1600s

Isabel P.B. Fêo Rodrigues

Department of Sociology, Anthropology & CJS, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth


Unlike other African languages, Afro-Atlantic creoles emerged only a few hundred years ago at a time when written accounts about Africa and Africans were being penned by European traffickers, missionaries, and settlers.  These early sources, particularly those written in Portuguese describing West Africa in the 16-17th centuries, offer pertinent cues and useful insight on the social and historical circumstances that fueled the birth of Creoles in West Africa prior to their birth and diasporisation across the Middle Passage and the Americas. There is a generalized consensus among linguists that creoles are in large part a result of incomplete second language acquisition.  Hence, this work attempts to capture key historical evidence on the acquisition of Portuguese as a second language and possible emergence of a Portuguese-based Creole in the islands of Cape Verde and continental Senegambia region (roughly the area from today's Senegal to Sierra Leone).  It is well known that this area witnessed the birth of the first Portuguese-based Afro-Atlantic Creoles, which in turn affected language and cultural transmission within the Portuguese empire and across imperial frontiers. The functional use of Portuguese in West Africa has been linked to trade and the circulation of goods and people across the Afro-Atlantic initially spiraled by the expansion of the Portuguese maritime empire in the 16th century.         My goal is to discern from the historical record how Portuguese vernacular was transmitted as a second language and which formal and informal social mechanisms facilitated its transmission and creolization through time.


Negros Libres in Early-Modern Manila: Rethinking the Significance of Blackness in the Seventeenth Century Spanish Philippines

Kristie Flannery

Department of History, The University of Texas at Austin

Many scholars of the early-modern world would be surprised to discover that colonial government and Catholic Church officials in seventeenth-century Manila were concerned about the high numbers of negros libres (free blacks) present in this capital of Spain’s empire in the Philippines. Who were these free black men and women in the colonial Philippines? Were they part of the African diaspora? Previously historians have argued the people described as “negros” in the Philippines colonial archive were not Africans, but rather dark-skinned migrants from South India and their descendants. My paper presents evidence of African immigration to Manila that calls for a radically different reading of blackness in the colonial archive. Drawing on evidence from the Archive of the Indies in Seville, I show that colonial government officials and other elites in Manila saw the free black population in the city as disruptive and criminal. In order to physically contain the threat that this group posed to colonial society, the colonial government expelled the free blacks from the walled city of Manila and established a new, segregated black colony overseen by Jesuit missionaries on the island of San Francisco Javier. This evidence raises important questions about usefulness of the Atlantic world as a framework for studying the mobility of African and afro-descendant people in the early modern period.

Afro-German Women and the Cross-Cultural Black Women’s Studies Summer Institute

Tiffany N. Florvil

Department of History, University of New Mexico

In 1991, for the first time, the Annual Cross-Cultural Black Women’s Studies Summer Institute took place in Germany, where it brought together women of color from diverse countries to explore the theme of “Black Women and the European community.”  Founded in the late 1980s in New York by Andrée-Nicola McLaughlin, Gloria I. Joseph, Audre Lorde, and others, the Institute, from the beginning, promoted an African diasporic and feminist perspective.  As the Institute grew in numbers, its leaders and other women of color scholars and activists organized annual conferences throughout the globe that addressed “black” women’s rights.  Marion Kraft, an Afro-German educator and activist committed to fostering connections between black women, undertook the role of program director of the Institute, and along with other Afro-German activists coordinated events in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Bielefeld.  This paper argues that these Afro-German women’s involvement with the 1991 Institute enabled them to cultivate transnational bonds that remained critical to their continuing efforts of Afro-diasporic mobilization in Germany.  Affirming yet transcending the nation, Afro-German women bridged their cultural, national, and linguistic differences by actively creating a global network of “black” women that confronted instances of everyday racism and promoted solidarity.  As a result of the Institute, the participants and organizers produced the volume, Schwarze Frauen der Welt: Europa und Migration, solidifying trust and the perceived commonalities that these women discovered about each other.  Using agendas, programs, and the published volume, I contend that these newly forged kinships helped black women refashion the self and the collective and to address and challenge racial discrimination in reunified Germany.

Food as a Medium of Spatial Reterritorialization: Interrogating How Senegalese Migrants in Durban Recreate ‘Home’ in the Transnational Host Context

Bilola Nicoline Fomunyam

University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

This paper examines the role that food plays in the construction of identity among Senegalese migrants living in Durban. The paper addresses ‘home food’ as an adjustment and adaptation mechanism for migrants and argues that through the consumption food from the ‘home’, migrants are able to transcend ethnic and religious differences. Home food then becomes a common ground for a broader national identity where all internal differences are muzzled. Home food in this context is figurative for the mother figure.  Just as a mother feeds, nurtures and sustains all her children no matter their sex, age, color, size or ideas and beliefs, food from the home which is their motherland is expected to nourish all Senegalese migrants be they Mourides or Tijanis thus leading to the formation of a wider Senegalese identity. It also probes food as a significant identity marker to the Senegalese in terms of eating rituals as an essential difference between Senegalese and South African culture. This is suggestive of the dialectic between the new food habits migrants take on as a result of their being in the host society and maintaining the food habits they had in their home country based on their cultural upbringing.  ‘Home food’ in this transnational context serves as acknowledgement of origin and an embodiment of cultural identity thus through food migrants are able to maintain and assert their identities in host countries. Food is use to mark the difference between ‘them’ and the ‘other’. The arguments in the paper delineate that Senegalese migrants utilize food to re-territorialize and personalize their space. The paper is ethnographic and utilizes the qualitative approach to data collection and analysis.

Cosmopolitan Dilemma: Diaspora and Postcolonial Liminality

Delphine Fongang

Department of Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

My focus is to trace diasporic African literature back to Africa as the focal point of emergent and contested subjectivities constructed in various metropolises of the West. Black diaspora and postcolonial scholars such as Ketu Katrak (2006) Paul Gilroy (1993) Carole Boyce Davies (1994) Françoise Lionnet (1993), and Kwame Appiah (1991), among others, engage in the discourse of displacement and the politics of (re)location of migrant African subjects in the diaspora and the complex search for cultural identity in the metropolis. These scholars talk of diasporic subjects being in the borderlands state, which is a condition of liminality, of being in-between socio-cultural, economic, political and ideological contradictions. Subjects constantly negotiate these conflicting ideologies in order to make a life for themselves in the metropolis. Migration as a central practice in modernity that derives from people moving from their homelands to new places in search for better opportunities often reveal subjects struggling to adjust to the demands of metropolitan countries. Subjects express a sense of alienation and multiple consciousness (that is, being black, gender, migrant, age, language barrier, ethnicity and social class, among others) that define their subjectivities as they struggle to negotiate the myriad forces of domination in a new environment. African diasporic subjects never fully belong anywhere as they constantly struggle to assert their subjectivities in spaces that marginalize them. Their borderland subjectivities are not just based on a physical border crossing, but it also involves internal contradictions that define subjects’ positionality within national and international borders. I argue that it is this sense of displacement and not belonging anywhere that captures the ways in which migrant subjects struggle to constantly negotiate the borderlands in search for agency and a sense of belonging in new communities and being part of a global new order—a desire evident in African diasporic literatures. I will allude to the work of postcolonial African diasporic writer like Teju Cole in Open City; looking at his representation of identity and the constraints impeding subjects from fully belonging in new spaces and places

The Ethics of Transnationalism in the French Caribbean Thought

Ramon A. Fonkoué

Department of Humanities, Michigan Technological University

The French Caribbean has produced some of the most dynamic concepts in cultural studies and postcolonial theory. Indeed one cannot discuss such topics as race, identity, migration and international politics in relation to the African diaspora today without making reference to Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Edouard Glissant, or the Créolité movement. Starting with the concept of Negritude Transnationalism has been a central feature in their intellectual output from the middle of the 20th century onward. Indeed, besides reclaiming the colonial subject’s humanity, Negritude also sought to overcome the limitations imposed by individual nations on people who had shared the same plight, and unite them around a cause transcending states frontiers. In the French Caribbean specifically, the concept of transnationalism had a particular resonance, as the former slaves’ descendants who made up the majority of the population felt at odd with the French central government, and saw in transnationalism a way to avert what Glissant will later call a “successful colonization”. It is certainly this view that shaped Fanon’s theory of decolonization, making him, arguably, the foremost exponent of internationalism in the French Caribbean. This paper examines the strand of transnationalism that, starting with the Negritude movement, culminated in the concept of creolization, analyzed as an anti-national impulse. I contend that through his “poetics of relation” and the “tout-monde”, Glissant essentially sought, without spelling it out, to articulate a humanistic project that would be distinct from classical humanism.

Emirate Slave Raiding in the Nigerian Middle-Belt: Revisiting the Depopulation Debate and the Enslavement Purpose.

Sati. U. Fwatshak

Department of History and International Studies, University of Jos

It is close to about one hundred years since the British abolished domestic slavery in Northern Nigeria. Yet, the issue of Emirate slave raiding in Nigeria’s central region, also known as the Nigerian Middle-Belt, remains topical in academic discourses. Two areas of continuing interest to me in this respect are: 1) the 1970s debate, in the Journal of African History, between Michael Mason on the one hand, and R. M. Prothero and M. B. Gleave, on the other hand, on the question of whether Emirate slave raiding was responsible for the low population density in the Nigerian Middle-Belt was not concluded, and; 2) why the enslavement of ethnic minorities in the Middle-Belt, outside the Emirate enclaves, was the more prominent feature of the Jihad—being an ongoing discourse. I will contribute to the old debate and to the continuing discourses on the enslavement purpose of the Jihad in the Middle-Belt using colonial records (including archives) and secondary data from and unpublished published texts. I will try to establish whether some of the enslaved minorities in the Middle-Belt became a part the Atlantic system or all remained in the Emirates until the abolition in the colonial period.

Education and Mobilization: Primary School Designs for Rural Africa

Michael Garrison

School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin


The School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin was contacted by Dr. Donna Gunn, Executive Director of Africa's Promise Village School, seeking design assistance for the development of a new school in rural Tanzania and as a follow up to this design we were asked by Robin Young and Hope 4 Kids International to develop another primary school design for Burkuri, Uganda. The two school designs are quite different and yet they share a common desire to feature sustainable design principles. In both these schools the children and residents of the village will be educated in crop production; water from the wells will allow them to irrigate and increase crop yields and revenue from the sale of excess crops will be used to sustain the schools. The schools, which will include fresh water wells and will serve approximately 400-500 children each. The designs will include seven-ten classrooms, dorms for students and volunteers, outdoor cooking facilities, teacher housing, sanitation facilities and the wells to provide water for the children, the community, the cattle and goats, and for irrigation of crops. Graduate architecture students from the University of Texas at Austin have developed two green build schools that are fully sustainable, naturally lit, naturally ventilated and will be constructed using local building materials and hand-built construction techniques. The designs of the buildings were driven by local circumstances such as the orientation of the site, the people's living conditions, their construction skills, access to local materials, etc. Special attention has also been given to ecological measures including, shading verandas, natural ventilation, day lighting, and the recycling of rainwater. We traveled to Africa in the summer of 2012 to begin the building process and became an advocate of the establishment of an ecological school design so that integration of innovative sustainable design and construction systems with available local resources was a key concern for the design and construction of the schools. While we started off, from our Texas based studio, investigating useful sustainable design approaches for Africa, somewhere during the process we developed a greater appreciation of the local people, their culture and their timeless way of building. We learned from them about their low environmental footprint and the opportunities for sustainable design we could apply to our projects in Central Texas, which also has a warm climate. Education and learning is a two way street and we learned as much from our design experience with Africa's schools as we have provided in the design of the schools. And we have also learned about the value of education. The long term benefit of the schools will be the new generation of well educated children who eventually come back to help their community as leaders, teachers, doctors, builders, engineers, and architects.

The Expulsés and the Malian Crisis/Migrations de retour et crise malienne

Daouda Gary-Tounkara

CNRS, LAM/Sciences Po Bordeaux

Since the beginning of 2012, Mali has entered into the deepest crisis of its post-colonial history. The combined effects of the Tuareg nationalist rebellion, infiltration of jihadi groups--which led to the partition of the country--and the Franco-African offensive have strongly marked spirits. These military and geopolitical events have overshadowed the sensitive debate on the prospect of signing an agreement with France, the former colonial power about migration and, therefore, the discussion on the fate of Malian deportees, or the “expulsés” (a term denoting irregular migrants to France or elsewhere who have been forcibly repatriated). I suggest that the problematic reintegration of the rapatriés helps shed light on the Malian crisis, with their being enrolled in a continuous and specific criticism of the state. Through the case of the Association malienne des expulsés, I show how the expulsés have positioned themselves against President Touré - accused by activists as having ignored the condition of the vast majority of expulsés returning from France or Africa while favoring Tuareg migrants coming back from Libya - and in favor of the military junta. The political opposition of the expulsés illustrates a broader crisis of distrust among various sectors of public opinion with regard to the State, along with longstanding oppositional politics rooted in migration policy.

Depuis le début de l’année 2012, le Mali connaît la crise politique la plus critique de sa trajectoire post-coloniale. Les effets combinés de la rébellion nationaliste targui, de l’infiltration de groupes djihadistes, de la partition du pays ainsi que de la contre-offensive franco-africaine ont fortement marqué les esprits. Les événements militaires et géopolitiques ont quelque peu éclipsé le débat sensible sur la perspective de la signature d’un accord de réadmission avec l’ancienne puissance coloniale et, donc, la discussion sur le sort des rapatriés (terme qualifiant les migrants irréguliers tels les expulsés et les refoulés). Cette communication postule que la réinsertion problématique de ces derniers constitue un des facteurs de la crise malienne, les rapatriés étant inscrits dans une critique continue et spécifique de l’Etat. A travers le cas de l’Association malienne des expulsés, je montrerai comment les migrants de retour se sont positionnés contre le président Touré – accusé par les militants associatifs d’avoir ignoré la condition de la très grande majorité des rapatriés mais ayant favorisé l’accueil des migrants touareg rentrés de Libye – et en faveur de la junte militaire. Ce positionnement confirme une méfiance croissante de divers secteurs de l’opinion publique à l’égard de l’Etat et un processus ancien de contestation de la politique migratoire.

From Slavery to African Diaspora in the Arabian Peninsula

Iliya Ibrahim Gimba

Department of History and Archaeology, Taraba State University, Nigeria.

For centuries was a trade across the sahara and in this trade articles involved included precious metals, leather and slaves from the sub-saharan Africa to places like Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Sudan for onward sale across the Mediterranean sea to the Arabian peninsula. Goods that were taken from the Mediterranean, Libya, Egypt, and Morocco to sub-saharan Africa were military hardwares such as swords, muskets and musketeers horses to mention few.  The slaves taken across the desert into diaspora to the Arab world, and those that were there because of pilgrimage and could not come back home were allowed some degree of freedom such as the right to marriage, to have children, unlike the practice in America during the slave trade and slavery era where the African parents were separated from their children with the aim of creating identity loss and total disconnect with family trend. The freedom in the Arabian peninsula and the adjacent countries in Africa like morocco Libya, Egypt, Sudan made the Black diaspora live a carefree life that limited their ability to unite and rise above their present status such as the right to be voted for in the countries of nationality due to their color unlike, the freedom enjoyed by the African diaspora in America and Europe. This paper will examine the reasons for their inability to rise above their present status. It will also proffer the way forward. Various secondary sources in the form of published books and primary sources in the form of archival materials found in the National Archives amongst others will be consulted.

“Whatsupotch:” the Social Remittances of the Ethiopian Diaspora and Return Migrants

Hewan Girma

Hofstra University and State University of New York at Stony Brook

In studies of contemporary African Diasporas and return migrants, the literature greatly emphasizes economic influences while social remittances are granted only a passing mention. Social remittances– ideas, behaviors, identities and social capital – are multi-faceted and have transforming influences on social values and lifestyles. Social remittances expose non-migrants to a migration-driven form of cultural diffusion; they alter local customs and at times reproduce social norms or expectations from the migrant’s host nation. In the Ethiopian context, return migrants or Ethiopian-American sojourners, referred colloquially as ‘whatsupotch’ (the “what’s up” tribe), are transforming the country’s social life. The ‘whatsupotch’ tap into the social imaginary of unbounded affluence, social capital and difference to create an identity at the same time coveted and scorned. This paper delves into how this new generation’s migration status is deployed and manipulated to create a special class of social identity premised predominantly on an American experience. Particular attention is given to how this identity is enacted through attire, speech, attitude and choice of hangout locations.

The Bantu Matrilineal Belt: Dismantling Notions of Women’s Perpetual Subjugation in Diaspora

Rhonda M. Gonzales, University of Texas at San Antonio

Christine Said, University of Texas at San Antonio

C. Cymone Fourshey, University of Texas at San Antonio


The authors of this paper define the Bantu Matrilineal Belt as the area stretching from modern-day Angola in West-Central Africa, east to Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and south to Mozambique. Evidence shows that Bantu-descended people who migrated and settled across those regions historically shared a set of institutions, practices, and worldviews that privileged tracing of inheritance, identity, and society belonging through one’s mother’s lineage. Furthermore, prior to the nineteenth century, significant levels of economic, political, and social control were in the hands of women. People in these societies viewed status, power, and gender as complementary dynamics that had to be managed to balance social tensions and sustain communities.  This paper will introduce this idea as one that will shift paradigm approaches to the study of gendered Bantu history, arguing that its outcome results in research is not skewed by nineteenth century and later scholarship that perpetuated erroneous and entrenched ideas about African women’s perpetual subjugation and instead recognizes that the disparate power African women held in those time was the direct result of patriarchal colonial and post colonial policy.

Black Women, Blasphemy, and the African Diaspora in Mexico City, 1600-1610

Rhonda M. Gonzales

Department of History, University of Texas San Antonio

Between 1500-1700 many of New Spain’s citizenry stood denounced or tried for various blasphemous acts. In the nascent colony, such transgressions accounted for nearly a quarter of all religious criminal charges brought to the Holy Office. Recent scholars have taken interest in understanding the shifting historical contexts and social meanings about those transgressions that can be gleaned from the investigations, testimonies, and outcomes found in Inquisition documents.  Two scholars, Javier Villa-Flores and Kathryn Joy McKnight’s, have given attention to blasphemy accounts related to enslaved people of African and Afro-Mestizo descent in New Spain, largely interpreting their transgressions as acts of resistance against slave owners.  This paper builds on their research by centering the lives of enslaved African-descended women who were tried for blasphemy between 1600-1610.  It argues that the snapshots of their lives contained in the annals indeed reveal acts of resistance, but additional interpretation reveals much more.  In the accounts one recognizes young women--most under twenty-five--who realized that their multiple attempts to resist the cruelty they endured as they worked as domestic workers were pointless.  This paper shows that is was the day-today stress, violence, and uncertainty that ensnared such young black and brown women that gave them a sense that blasphemy was their last recourse, a way to interrupt the varied aggression that they could no longer bear.

New African Diasporas and the Development of Black Solidarity in Belgium

Nicole Grégoire

Laboratoire d'Anthropologie des Mondes Contemporains, Université Libre de Bruxelles

From the 1960s onwards, Belgium welcomed growing migrations from sub-Saharan African countries. From the very beginning, sub-Saharan African migrants created informal associations wherein they could feel in a familiar environment and support each other in a context often perceived as inhospitable. Formal sub-Saharan African voluntary associations only began to emerge significantly in the 1990s. Stemming from former social networks, most of these associations still group along the lines of national or regional origins. Nevertheless, since the early 1990s, several “Pan-African” associations have also been created with the aim of bringing together people of all “black” sub-Saharan African origins. They are concerned with building a unified image of these populations in Belgium and with representing them at the political level. Their leaders can be considered as part of an elite network in the landscape of sub-Saharan African associations, given their long involvement in the associational milieu, their intellectual background, their professional status and, finally, the social capital they have managed to build within Belgian society. Analyzing the way these agents explain and justify their associational involvement, the paper will explore the way in which Pan-Africanism, initially a Black emancipation movement that developed from the late eighteenth century, and “diaspora”, as a category of practice, are reinvested by this associational elite in the contemporaneous Belgian racialized context. The paper is based upon an ethnographic fieldwork mostly conducted in Brussels between 2007 and 2010.

Global Places, Local Spaces: the Contemporary Afropolitan Experience

Tamerra Griffin

Africana Studies and Journalism, New York University

Identifying as an afropolitan has become commonplace for those who relate to the experience of moving from the continent to and through other places across the globe. This group, more than the generation preceding them, is more deeply rooted in a plurality of identities: they were raised with Ghanaian manners, for example, but absorbed a British sensibility from boarding school there. They are professional code-switchers, gliding effortlessly between English and local African languages. Nigerian-Ghanaian writer Taiye Selasi described the afropolitan in an essay she wrote in 2005, marking the first time many had encountered it. Drawing from studies of cosmopolitanism by Kwame Anthony Appiah and cultural capital by Pierre Bourdieu, this work will demonstrate how afropolitanism is utilized as a platform upon which Africans challenge conventional notions of African cultures and potential by achieving high status in creative industries, essentially “infiltrating” the same systems that have historically appropriated, exploited, and silenced them. I will illuminate this argument with the narratives of self-proclaimed afropolitan musicians and entrepreneurs, Reggie Rockstone and Blitz the Ambassador, both from Ghana. The afropolitan title has increased the importance of its definition for the rest of the world (as evidenced by the proliferation of African diaspora and afropolitan-focused social organizations in New York City), which makes for a timely investigation. This research will conclude by exploring afropolitanism as a brand, and questioning whether it is at risk of commodification by outside entities with an economic interest in the continent.

The Chagossians: Africans Twice Removed

Peter Harris

Department of Government, The University of Texas at Austin

The Chagossians are an African diaspora twice displaced.  Their ancestors were slaves brought from Africa to the Chagos Archipelago (central Indian Ocean) by French and British colonialists.  Along with indentured laborers from the Indian subcontinent, these forced migrants forged a distinct “Îlois” society over several centuries of colonial rule.  Between 1965 and 1973, however, Britain forcibly displaced the Chagossians again—this time as a prelude to the establishment of a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands.  Knowingly disguising the indigenous islanders as migrant workers, the British authorities relocated the Chagossians to Mauritius and the Seychelles.  As of 2013, the Chagossians’ goal of reclaiming their right to return shows little sign of realization. In this paper, I use the Chagossians’ experiences to decenter the study of power transitions in international politics.  Traditionally, studies of shifts in the distribution of power between states have focused upon the “core” of the international system—so-called Great Powers like the United States and China, for example.  Yet interstate power shifts also reorganize politics in “the periphery” and therefore affect local actors like the Chagossians.  Drawing on International Relations scholarship on vulnerability in international society, I argue that the modern international system is geared towards the production of instability—and particularly forced displacement—as a concomitant of shifting power.  Case studies of the Chagossians’ forced migration—first as slaves in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, later in the context of the Cold War—are used to illustrate the argument.

Redirecting Second-generation Americans: Seeking Authority and Authenticity in North Africa and the Middle East

Maysan Haydar

The 1965 Hart-Celler Act reversed biased American immigration policies, allowing for thousands of new arrivals from across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The children born to those immigrants came of age through the 1980s and 1990s, with many of them temporarily “returning home” to their parents’ homelands and/or homelands of imagination and identity, ostensibly to study Arabic, cultural history, or religious texts. By the mid-1990s, official and unofficial programs and processes were established throughout North Africa and the Middle East to cater to these traveling seekers. Many such students reported desiring to experience “authentic” Islam or to meet “real” Muslims, demonstrating some effects of the growing pains of assimilation and difficulties in creating an indigenous, organic American Islam. This paper will report some of the narratives of these student travelers (both of their trips and their amalgamating an identity upon returning home), and describe how that traveling has been affected by the revolutions across North Africa.


Ikula: The Kuba Personal Knife and Colonial Resistance

Letitia Hopkins

The University of Texas at Austin

During the first half of the twentieth century, the area populated by the (Ba)Kuba peoples was occupied by the Belgian government. During this time, Belgium established colonial rule to secure its economic foothold and missionaries from Britain and America arrived to win souls and create relationships that would secure their respective national economic futures and relationships. My paper will focus on personal knives, or Ikulas, held in the DeLand Collection at the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. This particular collection contains approximately twenty knives of varying size and ornamentation. The decorative patterning on the hilt and blade of the Ikulas expressed the societal status of Kuba men. The Belgian colonial government eventually outlawed the carrying of these knives after dark. As an act of resistance and a way to maintain their culture, the men created wooden replicas of these knives to carry during restricted times. This paper will explore the original use and meaning of these knives, how the creation of wooden replicas became a subtle form of resistance, and how the inclusion of the knives in an art collection has contributed to the spread and study of the African Diaspora.


The Profits of Slavery and the Furtherance of Music

David Hunter

The University of Texas at Austin

Until 2013 no music historian had thought it worthwhile to investigate the ways in which the profits of the slave trade, plantations and trade in slave-produced products were used in Britain and its colonies to support music and musicians.  The discovery that George Frideric Handel invested in the Royal African Company in 1720 has triggered the long-needed investigation.  By exploring the investments of the subscribers to the Royal Academy of Music, the origins of surviving instruments, the account books of ticket buyers and other such evidence, we can begin to see that music, like the other arts and sciences, was supported in part by slavery’s monetary profits.  Handel used savings invested in another slaving business, the South Sea Company, to fund his own seasons of opera 1733-39. Given the primacy of the elite as patrons of music and investors in the slave-based economy it is not surprising that many individuals can be shown to have participated in both.  Nor is it surprising that such dual involvement has been ignored, occluded or obscured by music historians and biographers.  But, as studies in the visual arts and built environment have shown in recent years, some of the profits of slavery were used to create works of lasting aesthetic merit for the privileged few.  It is time for music history to recognize, investigate and acknowledge the role played by slavery’s profits in the creation of the objects it studies.

Remapping the Journey from Freedom to Slavery to Diaspora

Alaine S. Hutson

Huston-Tillotson University

The primary vehicle for the making and expansion of the African diaspora before the 20th century was the slave trade from the continent. The Atlantic slave trade and the diaspora it birthed in the western hemisphere has the oldest and most mature scholarship dedicated to its study. The trade between Africa and Arabia was a substantial and much older slave trade but is a relative “new” site for diaspora studies or more diverse, nuanced research about the bulk of those enslaved on the Peninsula. Currently much of the scholarship on so-called Islamic slavery comes from the portrait of “benign” slavery Ottoman officials painted in the mid-nineteenth century and assumes that when freed slaves were absorbed into slaveholder’s society rather than stood apart as a diaspora. Toledano described the Ottoman strategy in creating this image as an “amplification” of the role of the empire’s military, administration, and harem slaves in more benign slavery, and “deletion” of domestic and agricultural slavery, even though the bulk of slaves did domestic and agricultural work. This paper engages the lives and work of slaves, most engaged in domestic and manual labor in close proximity to their Arab owners and all their demands, control, and negotiation. The work is sited in Saudi Arabia, 1926-1938. The conceptual framework is to compare the official image of slavery projected by the Ottomans and the explicit rules of slavery set out by the Shari’ah and the Sunna with the lived rules that can be extracted from the narratives of runaways. The project draws on the data and narratives provided by runaway slaves and their relatives collected by British officials in the Foreign and India Offices resident in Arabia and the Persian Gulf. I have already compiled and coded the data from these documents into a free, online searchable database for researchers – Runaways Enslaved and Manumitted on the Arabian Peninsula (REMAP). contains both the dataset of direct and imputed variables and high-resolution images of the archival documents from which the information came. These narratives contain (and my paper will focus on) information on the various aspects of slave holding and manumission in the region: how and by whom slaves were captured; how and with whom they journeyed from capture to their place of enslavement; how often, for how much, and why enslaved peoples were sold; to what uses slave holders put the enslaved; how slave families were created and disrupted by slave owners; what negotiations went on between owners and the enslaved over work, status, and family; how slave owners viewed differences among slaves (ethnicity, sex, ages); if slaveholders’ sex, locale, and economies produced differences in their slaveholding practices, and if current sources can tell us about the demographics of ex-slaves of African descent.

The aim of the larger project is to build a picture of slave holding on the Arabian Peninsula gleaned from the narratives of the enslaved. Compare it to the Ottoman “amplification” and religious texts and with these frames of reference reconstruct the spectrum of slave systems in the region into which microcosms on the peninsula can be located and new African Diasporas identified.

The Influence of Globalization and Politic on Nigerian Arabic Poetry

Lateef Onireti Ibraheem, Department of Arabic, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Aliyu Muhammad Jamiu, Department of Arabic, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Nigeria

Man, it is said, is a product of his environment and environment creates literary figures. Today, the whole world has turned global. Hence, the whole universe is an environment for every literary figure. In order to establish this assertion, in the context of Nigerian Arabic literary discourse, this paper studied the influence of globalization and politics on Nigerian Arabic Poetry with the aim to discovering the extent to which the Arabic poets were influenced by the agents and instrument of globalization in their creative writings. Selected poets of different educational background in Nigeria were studied and the data used is made up of randomly selected poems of which thematic preoccupation is on politics. It was discovered, that the globalization, through its various means, especially the internet and media, have impacted on the poets and made them view the second “fall” of Baghdad, the unprecedented September 11th event in America, the Rwandan genocide and other world political events. This arose the emotion of these poets and prompted them to express their feelings in poems with simple and acceptable standard Arabic. This paper has uncovered many copious untapped contributions of Arabic literary figures in Nigeria and by extension given account of the height Arabic language has attained in the country.

African Diaspora Organizations and Homeland Development: Which Diaspora for Whose Development?

Odoziobodo Severus Ifeanyi, Department of Political Science, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria

Ihemeje Chidiebere Godswealth, Department of Politics and Government, University Putra Malaysia

In recent times, the development potentials of the African Diasporas’ involvement in homeland development have gained much interest among policy makers, international development organizations, academics as well as researchers. Diaspora organizations are perceived to be central to development actors; they can bridge the gap between foreign donors and the local population. They are also capable on their own to fast rack the development of the African continent. This paper among other things, explores the following issues: what is the development potential of Diaspora organizations? What are the activities and visions of the stakeholders? What are the major constraints, prospects and challenges?

Black Leadership in the United States of America and Jamaica: The Political and Cultural Expressions of the Black Predicament in the Activities of Malcolm X and Peter Tosh, 1952-1987

B. Steiner Ifekwe

Department of History and International Studies, University of Uyo, Nigeria

Towards the middle and the end of the twentieth century, the racial tension within the United States of America and Jamaica took a more militant pattern  with the rise of two black personalities - Malcolm Little (Malcolm X) and Winston Hubert McIntosh (Peter Tosh). Although they were not specifically the only black leaders then, their activities in the shaping of African and African American history, had earned them a place in this essay. Both men shared common goals in their political and cultural institutions: they hated racism, black subservience, Pan African philosophy of Marcus Garvey and spokesmen for their religious and political institutions eg the Nation of Islam, the Organization of African- American Unity, Rastafarianism and Reggae Music. Through countless lectures, interviews, speeches and lyrics, they recounted the black plight.  It was as a result of their complementary roles that critics called Peter Tosh the “Malcolm X of Reggae music”. It is the position of this essay that both Malcolm X and Peter Tosh still deserve a place in our historical discourse today for arousing the blacks globally to be proud of their heritage and culture. Although they were products of the ghetto culture in Harlem, the United States and Trench Town, in Jamaica, they broke away from these shackles and embarked on activities which today have found themselves as major themes in Black history. It is within this context that we will deepen our understanding of their positions several years after their assassinations, that they were eminent black leaders in the United States and Jamaica.

The More They Leave, The More We Die: An Ethical Investigation into the Politics Behind Africans in Diaspora to Development Focusing on Nigerian Experts Abroad

Okafor Nneka Ifeoma, School of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Felix Murove, School of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

It is established that financial capital cannot be equated to human capital. Notwithstanding how essential fiscal capital has been established to be in development, as such human capital remains at its best the topmost. Various scholars have it that African diaspora are funding directly to the livelihood of many of Africa’s poor, thus facilitating to the reduction of poverty in their native homes which is not doubtful. The fact still remains that the cost of skill removal from the native land always surpasses the significance of help given to the native. Using both primary and secondary data provided by some renowned scholars in this field, like the work of Philip Emeagwali who argued that : “African Diaspora constitutes the biggest group of foreign investors in Africa, but what few realize is that Africans who immigrate to the United States contribute 40 times more wealth to the American than to the African economy.” Therefore, this paper revolves around the ethical fact behind this episode and gives its constructive observation and way forward for African development as regard its citizens in diaspora.

The British Colonial Rule and its Implications on Intra-Ethnic Relations among the Yorubas in Southwestern Part of Nigeria

Gbade Ikuejube

Department of History, Adeyemi College of Education, Nigeria

The study of British colonial rule in the southwestern part of Nigeria has received the attention of a number of scholars. Many of these scholars focused largely on the legal frame work of British colonial rule. They devoted much attention to ordinances, political memoranda and how the ordinances work in practice, the impact they made on the existing political structures and the reaction of the indigenous people. However, while these works have greatly contributed to our knowledge of various aspects of colonial rule, they have failed to enable us to understand the impact of British colonial rule on ethnic relations in South Western part of Nigeria. The harmonious relations among various ethnic groups in South Western part of Nigeria came to an end when the British rule was imposed on the area in the first decade of the 20th century. The establishment of native authorities, native courts and native treasury were gradual attempts at reconstructing the traditional political system to meet the prescription of the colonizing power. The concomitant subordination of the authority of one traditional rule to the other and other administrative policies which tended to abrogate the independence of one group to the advantage of the other group created crises and contradictions in southwestern part of Nigeria. This development adversely affected the cordial socio-political relations that existed among various ethnic groups in the South Western part of Nigeria before the advent of colonial administration. The central thrust of this paper is to expose the damage done to the existing cordial relations among various ethnic groups in southwestern part of Nigeria by the British imperialism.

An Appraisal of Global Names Revolution and Identity

Benson Ohihon Igboin

Department of Religion & African Culture, Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria

There has been persistent global names’ revolution commonly referred to as change of names. This global phenomenon rather than being a purely religious undertaking is also vastly a major secular/government interest. The reasons for this from both religious and secular circles, in Africa as well as in the West, indicate that names play important roles in personal, cultural, national and religious identity. Through the gristmill of critical analysis, the study shows that while some Western governments are involved in change of names of their citizens, which they believe bear ‘demonic’ connotations to adopt more ‘good-fortune’ ones and also autochthonous to, and preserving their cultural identity, missionary religious institutions in Africa rather than the governments are demonizing traditionally and culturally identifying names and rechristening themselves with Western and missionary ones, thus losing their cultural, traditional and religious identity, which is one consequence of mission and colonialism. The study, therefore, argues for African government and the Diaspora intervention through socialization, legislation, and critical inculturation.

Royal Subjects: Old African Christians in the Atlantic World

Chloe Ireton

Department of History, The University of Texas at Austin

In the sixteenth century, hundreds (if not thousands) of free Afro-Iberians, some of them first generation Africans (manumitted slaves) acquired royal permits to embark in fleets to cross the ocean as vassals of the crown, that is, as Old Christians. In preliminary research I have discovered two hundred and eighty-one cases of free black Africans traveling with royal licenses in the Iberian Atlantic from Seville between 1509 and 1640. Free bozales (recently arrived from Africa as slaves) and their descendants, ladinos (hispanized Iberian-born Africans), successfully argued in the House of the Trade in Seville that they should be given permission to travel to the New World because they were Old Christians from West Africa. While such applicants may be considered as hispanicised (ladinos) as they were fluent in Castilian and were well known in the Iberian cities where they lived, ultimately it was the colour of their skin and African heritage that enabled them to successfully argue that they were as Old a Christian as any white Iberian and that they should be given permission to travel to the New World. In my paper I will explore this puzzle: how did free Sub-Saharan Africans manage to successfully claim an Old Christian status and travel in the Iberian Atlantic, creating transatlantic communities in their wake. This is a study of the communities they created and the religious discourses they deployed to do so.

The Relevance of 'Alasalatu' and Celestial Church of Christ of Oriade Local Council Development Area with the Traditional Culture in the African Diaspora.

Hannah T.K. Ishola, Department of Christian Religious Studies, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Otto/Ijanikin, Nigeria

Bolanle N. Akeusola, Department of Christian Religious Studies, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Otto/Ijanikin, Nigeria

The paper focused on the African Culture and its relevance with 'Alasalatu' a social grouping in the Islamic sect. It is also examined the activities of Celestial Church of Christ church and compared these two groups within the two religions, Christianity and Islam in Oriade Local Council Development Area of Lagos State. The activities of the Aladura Church (C.C.C.) in the Oriade Local Council Development Area of Lagos State. Historical and Phenomenological Approaches were employed i this research work.The  methodologies used were interview, observation and questionnaire. The findings revealed that the 'Alasalatu' had undergone some transformations making positive impacts in the area under discussions. Not only that socially groups is practice in the African Diaspora. That there are significant relevance in the African Traditional Culture of the sects under study.

Pan-Africanism as Bulwark for Unifying Continental and Diaspora Africans: A Critical Evaluation

Victor Iyanya

History Department, Benue State University, Nigeria

The evolution of Pan-Africanism from the late pre-colonial, through the colonial, to the postcolonial era, is mainly attributable to the widespread sentiments among Africans against the Atlantic Slave Trade, and its negative impact on Africa. While there is absolutely no question about the merit of the Pan-Africanist ideal, the initial fervor that characterized the movement from its inception right through to the end of colonial rule, began to dissipate soon after the attainment of independence in most African countries. The inability of Pan-Africanism to translate the high hopes associated with it at the eve of independence into practical reality became apparent within the first decade of independence in most African states. The very fact that the economies of most African states in the post-colonial era continue to rank among the lowest globally, raises fundamental questions. One wonders for instance whether independence devoid of economic liberation (as typified by neo-colonialism) is really worth all the trouble it took to attain it. While it was possible for Pan-Africanism to take advantage of anti-slavery

sentiments among Africans in rallying the support of fellow Africans against Colonialism, this has not been successfully replicated in the case of neo-colonialism. This paper submits on the basis of the foregoing thus; while the forcefully removal of many Africans under inhuman conditions, as typified by the Trans-Atlantic Slavery Trade is clearly condemnable; it may not be beneficial in the long run for Africans to perpetually dwell on the ills associated with that experience as a means of bargaining for economic liberation. After all, the entire history of mankind is replete with such large scale social displacements for whatever reason, which were often overcome through sheer determination and resilience of a people in transforming such challenges into opportunities for unleashing even greater potentials. The paper therefore recommends the setting aside of victim consciousness, and the fashioning out of pragmatic (rather than idealist) strategies, capable of turning around the collective destiny of Africans.

Pushing the Paradigm: Locating Scholarship on the Siddis and Kaffirs

Sureshi Jayawardene

Department of African American Studies, Northwestern University

This study locates the scholarship on the Siddis of India and the Kaffirs of Sri Lanka - two African-descended populations in the Indian Ocean region - through an Afrocentric approach to analysis. In analyzing the extant literature on these groups’ historical, cultural, and social conditions, it is evident that the Siddis and Kaffirs exist in spaces where the articulation of a Diasporic identity specific to the Indian Ocean region is driven by memory, passage of tradition, cultural survival and transformation. Using Afrocentric theories and concepts, this study interrogates the limitations of this existing scholarship using a content analysis of select scholarly texts. This study reveals the discursive decentralization of the experiences and perspectives of the Siddis and Kaffirs submerged in Eurocentric and multicultural narratives of African presence in India and Sri Lanka. This study also transcends the mere disruption of the Siddis’ and Kaffirs’ identities, which are positioned as oppositional in these representations. This study establishes typologies of existing research approaches to the study of the Siddis and Kaffirs, highlighting the importance of a culturally grounded worldview and location in studying these groups. Finally, this study serves as a foundational step towards developing culturally relevant approaches to future study about the Siddis and Kaffirs.

Language, Militancy, Terrorism and the African Diaspora: Promoting or Resisting Change and Development of Africa?

Terseer Jija, Department of Languages and Linguistics, Benue State University, Nigeria

Jighjigh L. J. Ishima, Department of Languages and Linguistics, Benue State University, Nigeria

The modern-day political plane is replete with high incidences of armed revolts and heinous vices like thuggery, kidnapping, assassinations, arson and anarchy targeted at security agencies and civil society. This pitiable plight of many African nations accounts for the emergence of militant and terrorist groups like Jama’atul Alhul Sunnah Lidda’wati wal jihad, otherwise termed Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Shabaab in Somalia and Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The unwholesome and dastardly acts unleashed by these militant and terrorist groups including their likes that are not mentioned here for want or space and time, do not only pose adverse threats to peace and security, but are equally opposed to political, socio-economic and human resource development of Africa. Similarly, the revolts have aborted the hope of the African people and inflicted a great divide among Africans, many of whom have deserted the continent and flocked into western societies. This paper acknowledges the concomitant impact of the language component as one of the major unifying factors and too for the solution of conflicts in human societies. As the most effective instrument of establishing modes of communal loyalties and social cohesion, language also conditions our mental behaviour or psychology, shapes our beliefs and controls our cultural values and collective aspirations. The description of language as expressed above, tantamount to the African Diaspora potentials of developing policies that heighten the voices and development cooperation at different levels, and also contribute to the development of African nations irrespective of citizenship and nationality. In other words, the study examines the potentials of the duo of language and African Diaspora, or the views of African educated elites in devising strategies towards ensuring sustained peace, security and development in Africa. The paper also discovers that Africans are themselves contributors to the current spate of insecurity, lack of peace and underdevelopment of the continent. This work is descriptive in nature. It thus employs the content analysis and qualitative methods of data collection. Finally, it recommends that the Africans in Diaspora should partner with those at home and rescue the continent from the claws of agents of underdevelopment by providing windows of opportunity for law and security to prevail and take their natural course against militants and terrorists with the intent of synergising preemptive and preventive agenda for curbing the menace.

Tracing the Gaze: The Origination and Perpetuation of the “Single-Story” of Africa

Mandy D. Jolly

Undergraduate Honors Program, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Since the beginning of the Western world’s exploration of the African continent, “developed” nations have viewed Africa with a paternalistic gaze: a land of uncivilized, exotic, and primitive savages, awaiting Western help to move both up in status and forward into “Western” modernity. This paternalism is not only evidenced in the records that explorers and British colonial administrators left behind, it can also be traced to current descriptions of the continent in modern media such as National Geographic. Despite the changes overtime in these developing nations, the West has clung to these stereotypes and perpetuated a skewed view of the continent. The assumption remains that the entirety of the African continent must desire Western progress and Western modernity. This paper will trace this persistent paternalistic gaze by examining three eras of British contact with West Africa: 1) accounts of exploration and discovery beginning in 1850, 2) the colonial period, with specific emphasis on Imperial administration of British Colonial Africa, and 3) modern depictions in National Geographic. The paper will use Edward Said’s view of Orientalism as a philosophical lens to view 19th Africa by colonialists. It will also use Frantz Fanon’s anti-colonialist scholarship as a critical lens of the West’s descriptions of postcolonial Africa.

The Lack of Political Identity of the African Diaspora on Facebook

Louis-Marie Kakdeu

Centre de Recherche et d’Action pour la Paix (CERAP), Côte d’Ivoire

In a cross-sectional approach, this work is to describe the activism of the African elite on Facebook during the period from 2010 to 2013. The work notes the disparity of political identities and proposes the principle of concordance as an approach of solution suitable to allow the African Diasporas to position themselves as real alternative forces for social change in Africa. Indeed, in light of what is written on Facebook, it is difficult to determine what the Africans want to make their continent. It is observed that developed countries have a political identity: In Switzerland, there is unanimity on banking secrecy. The United States or France’s African policy does not change with the change of regime. By analyzing the behavior of the African Diaspora on Facebook, we have the impression that there is equivalence between the number of Facebook accounts and the number of political identities/parties. Africans do not agree on the fundamental namely: the management of their natural resources, monetary policy, migration policy, education policy, national sovereignty, ethnic diversity, etc. In Cameroon in 2012 for instance, the leaders of the Diaspora had formally created more than 312 political parties to solve a single problem: development. This calls for the need to rethink the African development policy and place the consensus on the Diaspora’s political agenda.

The African Diaspora in Britain, 1500-1640

Miranda Kaufmann

Independent Scholar, United Kingdom


In England in 1596, the future Governor of Newfoundland was publicly whipped by the African servant of an English gentleman. It’s a scene which strikingly contradicts everything we thought we knew about the position of Africans in the Renaissance world – Edward Swarthye, the African wielding the whip, gave evidence in the ensuing court case, which demonstrates that the state recognised him as a free man. Swarthye was just one of over 360 Africans my archival research has uncovered living in England and Scotland in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The impression of their lives that can be gleaned from parish registers, tax returns, household accounts, wills, letters and court records is more positive than those who trace attitudes to ‘race’ in literary texts such as Shakespeare’s Othello and Hakluyt’s Principall Navigations suggest. This paper will explore the various ways Africans came to Britain: from Africa, from Europe and from the Spanish Caribbean; with privateers, pirates, merchants, aristocrats and royalty. It will consider their status, showing that they were not enslaved in Britain, but gained a level of acceptance into society. They were baptised, married and buried by the Church of England, paid wages, and testified in court like the other inhabitants of these islands. Their stories challenges the traditional narrative that racial slavery was inevitable, imported to colonial Virginia from Tudor England, and forces us to re-examine the 17th century to find out what caused perceptions to change so radically.

Interrogating Identity: A Study of Siddi and Hadrami Diaspora in Hyderabad City, India

Khatija Sana Khader

Center for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament, School of International Studies,

Jawaharlal Nehru University

This paper intends to engage with two diasporic communities – Siddis and Hadramis – in Hyderabad city, India, by locating these groups in the interstices of their past and present. While Siddis came to India mostly as slaves from Sahel, Nubia, Sudan and Ethiopia, Hadramis hail from the Red Sea region of Hadramawt, Yemen. Migration from Hadramawt was mostly voluntary and for the purposes of trade, religious activity or both. Hadramis were instrumental in spreading Islam along the Indian Ocean rim and as a seafaring community they weaved complex networks of kinship and economic relationships along its ports. Further, Hyderabad a landlocked city located in South India has historically been implicated in the Indian Oceans economic, cultural and religious activities. Moreover, Hyderabad since it’s founding in the sixteenth century has hosted a thriving cosmopolitan society. Therefore, it is a site that can best be studied within the migration/mobility framework. This study has a threefold aim; firstly, this paper will focus on how these diasporic identities have been negotiated from early colonial to contemporary times located as these are in complex circuits of knowledge production. Secondly, by foregrounding itself in the literature on Indian Ocean, which allows for a perspective not bound by rigid territorial divisions, this study will engage with frames of assimilation across the Indian Ocean region. Thirdly, by tracing the genealogies of these diasporic identities, this study will engage with conceptions of belonging, homeland/s, host society, and territoriality, theoretically.

Against all Odds: Slavery and the African Diaspora

Rosalie Black Kiah

Department of English and Foreign Languages, Norfolk State University

The expression African Diaspora has gained currency as a descriptor for the forced migration of millions of African people to other continents of the world. This dispersal impacted demographics, history and culture. However, historically, the early modern African Diaspora developed as part of the global associations that began with the Iberian expansion when by the mid1550s African slaves comprised nearly ten percent of the population in much of southern Portugal including the capital Lisbon. This represented approximately 12,000 slaves a year being brought out of Africa. The progression continued through the height of the transatlantic slave trade. Likewise, the horrors of the transatlantic sea voyage, the middle passage, are legendary with its sacrifices of human lives and folkways. Much has been written about this and the terrible ordeals that awaited the survivors of this horrendous voyage once they reached the Americas. Research reveals that from the 1500s to the 1800s four-fifths of all people who crossed the Atlantic were enslaved Africans. Additionally, by the 1780s, 80,000 to 100,000 enslaved Africans were being forcibly transported to the Americas every year. (Grant, 36)  The "seasoning process" and the preparations to continue the journey on to the American colonies has been documented by numerous researchers and scholars, thus this paper will not repeat that research. Rather the focus will be on some of the seminal slaves who when the odds were stacked against them, still survived. To these brave stubborn and courageous slaves we owe a debt of gratitude for chronicling orally and graphically the horrible experience of slavery and the African Diaspora. Slavery and the African Diaspora did not end with these brave souls. Perhaps there is a message in their stories for the trafficking in slaves today, children and adults . Who then are their abolitionists?

Jomo Kenyatta and the Puzzle of Pan-Africanism, Nationalism, and Ethnic Nationalism, 1926-1963

Michael Mwenda Kithinji

History Department, University of Central Arkansas

Jomo Kenyatta is a fascinating historical figure credited with leading the anti-colonial liberation movement which overcame British colonialism in Kenya. While most narratives about Kenyatta cast him as a visionary and selfless African nationalist and pan-Africanist, it is usually forgotten that when he began his political career, he did not envision himself as a cosmopolitan pan-Africanist but rather a defender of the rights of his Kikuyu community. Kenyatta’s metamorphosis to a nationalist and pan-Africanist only came during his exile in Europe in the interwar and Second World War period. During this period, Kenyatta would acquire the same stature as the leading pan-Africanists and African nationalists of the time such as W.E.B. Dubois, George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah, and C.L.R. James among others. Kenyatta with his colleagues in the pan-African movement played a critical role in organizing the notable fifth pan-African Congress in Manchester, England, in 1945, which marked a turning point in Africa’s struggle for liberation from the colonial rule. This study aims to depict the tensions that characterized Kenyatta’s early encounter in Europe with diasporic pan-African idealists like George Padmore and how he was challenged to transform himself from a mere champion of Kikuyu interests to a pan-Africanist and African nationalist who would lead the Kenya’s anti-colonial movement. The paper will further examine the extent to which Kenyatta sustained the nationalist and pan-Africanist ideals upon his return to Kenya in 1946.

“Use What You Have to Get What You Want--Sex for Work”: The Ghanaian Perspective of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Yaa Konadu-Yiadom

University of Ghana

One of the most serious challenges in the workplace which can affect productivity is sexual harassment.  This global phenomenon affects both men and women though majority of the victims are women (about 70%).  Most of the young ladies who refuse to give in to the sexual escapades of their superiors are faced with retaliation, underpayment, psychological and emotional distress and at worst loss of job. The paper seeks to determine the willingness of women to offer sex in order to gain employment.  This paper argues that sexual harassment is seen as a usual practice by most women in Ghana.  Most women interviewed points out that; sexual harassment begins right from the time of application through to employment especially when the lady is unmarried.  The pressures are most often so intense that, most women say they often give in to these sexual demands or at best resign or refuse appointments. Discrimination and harassment against women are against the laws and the fundamental human rights of women.  However, the Ghana Labor Act, 2000 (Act 651) speaks little about sexual harassment at the workplace making it difficult for women who fall prey to report these matter to the appropriate authorities.  It is evident that aside weak laws, the high unemployment levels in Ghana make women more vulnerable to offer sex in order to be employed even when they are qualified.  

Malcolm X Transnationalism and Legacies in Kenya

Mickie Mwanzia Koster

Department of History and Political Science, The University of Texas at Tyler

On December 20, 1964, at a rally located at Williams Institutional CME Church in Harlem, New York, Malcolm X listened keenly to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s (SNCC) Freedom Singers. The song “Oginga Odinga of Kenya” gave praise to Kenya’s Mau Mau revolution, a precursor to Kenya’s recent Independence.  The song was created by the SNCC group to inform Odinga - during his visiting tour of America by the State Department- of the persisting segregation issues in America. In addition, the song reveals the importance of communication between African Americans and in this case Kenyan leaders; there was a need to raise visibility worldwide. Yet, the singers uhuru or “freedom now” message connected the struggles of African Americans and Kenyans. Following the song, Malcolm X used the platform to congratulate Kenyan Independence by acknowledging Oginga Odinga, Kenyatta, and the Mau Mau. Specifically, Malcolm X pointed out that “Oginga Odinga is free,” a desired state for African Americans. This study argues that Malcolm X’s transnationalism in the 1960s, as depicted with his Mau Mau embracement, facilitated a much needed conversation between Africa and its Diaspora. Malcolm X helped promote Mau Mau as a global liberation movement symbolic and meaningful for the mobilization of Africans worldwide. Interestingly, Malcolm X transnationalism contact has planted seeds that continue to bear fruit with the new generations of revolutionaries who embrace Malcolm X activism.

Beyond Diasporic Times and Spaces: Identity Formations Among Eritrean Protestants during Colonial Times

Rahel Kuflu

Södertörn University, Sweden

Theoretical perspectives on diaspora are many times idealistic in its way of emphasizing the victimizing aspect of the migration. Nevertheless, this view has in the past recent decades met postcolonial critique that instead stresses diasporic communities’ relations to the political, economic and cultural conditions caused by Western colonialism. With examples from my research on Eritrean Protestant identity formation and their negotiations with the Swedish Evangelical Mission during Italian colonialism my paper addresses the issue of using postcolonial diasporic theories on non-diasporic studies of colonial identity formations. In the 1870s a rather small but well-known group of reformers within the dominant Orthodox Church in the Eritrean highlands got into a cooperation with Swedish evangelical missionaries. However, the Italian colonial regime and the oppression it practiced would later on diminish the Eritreans’ positions within this evangelical cooperation. The Protestant Eritrean group was caught between the European presence as well as the African presence as they had now left their mother church and was to be subordinate to the Swedes in their new found Lutheran Church. This new minority and soon-to-be elite challenged and at the same time confirmed the colonial hegemony. Their situation in many ways reminds us of today’s African diaspora which reveils similar hegemonic structures in the Western world. Postcolonial diasporic theories often deal with concepts of alienation and hybridity. I argue that such diasporic theories go well beyond diasporic times and spaces. They are not only useful but necessary in my research of identity formations in colonial times.

Maritime Exchange Networks and Urban-Centered States in Ancient East Africa and South Asia

Chapurukha M Kusimba

Department of Anthropology, American University

Throughout history, trade has linked diverse peoples and communities in a network of interactions that had a huge impact in advancement of the daily life.  Evidence of biological, cultural, linguistic, commercial, and technical communication between cultures is documented throughout the ancient world.  Today, most of the world is integrated in a global economic system.  The adoption of agriculture, market-based exchange, and urban centered governance were the main catalysts for building communal and personal wealth in ancient East Africa.  Ongoing archaeological research documents steady transformation of the villages and hamlets into small towns, cities, and ultimately to city-states that hosted large and diverse citizenry.  Both relational and sociopolitical stability are crucial for prosperity.   The kernel upon which global connections, contributions, and complexity arose in Eastern Africa must thus be sought in the bonds, pacts, treaties, and alliances (including opportunistic intermarriages) between cities and hinterlands and merchants across the sea.  My long-term research in Kenya and India aims to: (1) model how Diaspora communities arise, (2) their role and significance in initiating change, (3) how anthropologists and economic historians make sense of these contributions, and (4) ultimately why the general public should care.

Exploring the Untapped Potential of the African Diaspora for Development

Wayem William Kwame

University of Ghana

In most research works on the development that the African diaspora plays in Africa, the focus of attention has been on the impact that foreign remittances sent by these people have in their respective national economies and in the lives of people. Indeed the contribution of the African diaspora in Africa’s development effort cannot be discounted. However, the contribution has been limited to only the remittances that these people send home. Against this background, this research piece attempts to explore the untapped potential of the African diaspora as far as economic and political development in Africa is concerned. As a result, several tools which inter-alia include the need for the diaspora to pay taxes to their home countries; allowing the diaspora to exercise their political franchise; and the need for constructive criticisms to their home governments. The diaspora of Israel for example has been very efficacious in these and in fact the Israelis’ diaspora presents itself as a perfect example of how the diaspora of a country can be used to promote development. Approaching the issue from both economic and political perspectives, the policy implications thereof are discussed. Both primary and secondary resources of data will be employed in this study.

The Remittance Intentions of Second-Generation Ghanaian-Americans

Kirstie A. Kwarteng

Remittances have become an integral part of economies all over the Global South and Ghana is no exception. Official accounts estimate that remittances to Ghana have been as high as US $1 billion a year, although the true number is likely to be much higher as funds are also remitted through informal channels. This is a significant inflow of foreign currency, sent almost completely by first generation Ghanaian immigrants abroad.  To maintain this level of inflows over the long run, however, would require that second-generation Ghanaian immigrants continue to remit at the same level as their parents. This study examines the remittance intentions of second-generation Ghanaians-Americans in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. The study examines whether the intent to remit will be based on the same factors that motivate remittance sending by the first generation, namely, family ties, cultural identity and emotional or cultural connection to Ghana. In addition, the study examines if second-generation Ghanaian-Americans are more likely to send social rather than monetary remittances. The study found that there is no relationship between cultural identity and emotional or cultural connection to Ghana in regards to intent to remit in the future. The largest factor was emotional connection to people (i.e. family or unrelated individuals) in Ghana. In addition, second-generation Ghanaian-Americans are more likely to remit social remittances instead of monetary remittances. From this we can conclude that unless second-generation Ghanaian-Americans have an emotional connection to family members in Ghana, they are less likely to send monetary remittances.

Betwixt and Between: Creating, Negotiating, and Contesting Diaspora Identities

Genet Lakew

Africana Studies, New York University

The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is the site of the largest Ethiopian population outside of Ethiopia as well as sizeable Eritrean, Somali and Sudanese diaspora communities. But beyond monolithic national labels, individuals ascribe to a variety of identities that privilege their ethnic, national and transnational, racial, and/or diasporic attachments. Identity and belonging, to one’s current location and to a country of origin, are active questions in the daily lives of young people who have spent enough time in the United States to participate in varying levels of school and work. East Africans between the ages of 18 and 35 cannot simply, neatly and permanently be lumped into one census-style category. They occupy a city and time that allows them to affirm and represent their hybrid identities, which are undoubtedly informed by experiences of growing up and/or coming of age in the U.S., while also maintaining attachments to their homeland. Because the term ‘diaspora’ is laden with dizzying contexts, uses and meanings, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza’s distinction of historic and contemporary diasporas is crucial to this work. While all contemporary diasporas cannot fully divorce themselves from trans-Atlantic slavery, they assume an extra layer of ties to European colonialism and migrations. Through ethnography, including one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions, participants will highlight narratives on the process of negotiating competing identities in rich diasporic spaces; the availability of online and offline platforms to express and debate complex transnationalism; and the ways in which diasporans interact with and understand one another in such platforms.

Writing African Students into the Modern African Diaspora

Olanipekun Oladotun Laosebikan

Department of Graduate Programs in Education, Chicago State University

In this paper I examine what I believe is one of the most important processes to uncovering the early history of the modern African diaspora and that is the historical pursuit of higher education in the United States by African students. Beginning in 1774 with the arrival of two Africans, John Quamine and Bristol Yamma at the Theological Seminary of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) to this present period, tens of thousands of African students have pursued higher educational opportunities in the United States. Across this time period, the majority of these students after the completion of their studies returned home. Some students however, indefinitely delayed their return to their native lands or did not return at all. The subject of significant scrutiny as a part of the brain drain/brain gain debate that has ebbed and flowed since the late 1950’s, the non-returning African student has been largely misunderstood. I argue that what has often been missing from most analyses of this population is the larger historical context that frames the presence of African students and African immigrants alike in the United States. African students in particular have rarely been considered as part of the modern African Diaspora and the United States. What it means to consider non-returning former African students as a part of the new/modern African Diaspora in the United States, is a re-evaluation of the brain drain and non-return as we know it. It also offers an opportunity to extend our historical framing of the modern African Diaspora beyond the widely acknowledged Immigration Act of 1965.

“In this Matter of Dignity”: Black Unionism, Racial Order, and the Struggle for Citizenship in Cienfuegos, Cuba, 1899-1907

Bonnie A. Lucero

Department of History and Philosophy, University of Texas-Pan-American

At the turn of the twentieth century, Cubans struggled to define the terms of citizenship. Thirty years of anti-colonial struggle (1868-1898) undermined longstanding social hierarchies and ignited controversy over who could wield power legitimately in the emerging republic. The inauguration of the American military occupation (1899-1902) exacerbated this debate by making Cuban sovereignty contingent upon the preservation of “order,” a concept that implied white privilege. Cienfuegos, a moderately-sized port-city in south-central Cuba, was the site of an intense struggle over what this order would mean. Unionized black port-workers put forth their own vision by demanding a living wage and a modicum of control over their working conditions. With burgeoning union membership after the war, port-workers organized a series of strikes in 1899 and 1900, paralyzing the port and rendering powerful commercial elites helpless to export their products. By waging their struggle in the name of “dignity,” black stevedores levied a broader claim for citizenship, a privilege increasingly reserved for so-called respectable men. Between 1901 and 1907, commercial elites gradually subdued the union, mirroring a parallel process of political marginalization of black men within the political realm. The ongoing battle over dignity encapsulates the unsuccessful reconciliation of desires for a racially-inclusive citizenship with demands national self-determination. By examining the struggle of Cienfuegos stevedores during this period of transition, we can understand more precisely how these competing discourses of honor eventually gave way to a supposedly colorblind, yet intrinsically racist republic.

Being and Belonging: The African Diaspora and Representation in the Smithsonian

Deborah L. Mack

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Although it has offered program and exhibitions since 2007, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will open to the public from its own building and site in late 2015. As the Smithsonian’s newest 21st century institution, NMAAHC must be, by intentional design, a highly collaborative institution that effectively engages and serves new audiences, stakeholders and institutional partners in mission-critical ways, and that collaborates with a myriad of museums, educational institutions and other cultural heritage resources both nationally and internationally. The Museum’s development coincides with the Smithsonian’s overall review, benchmarking  and strategic re-visioning of  its international role to better delineate and leverage a strategic, forward-thinking and sustainable position within a global community of professional practice. African Diaspora partner self-definition and terms of engagement; the identification and negotiation of collaborative partner roles - both within the U.S. and beyond – constitute critical elements, among others,  of NMAAHC organizational development.  This presentation will illustrate several pilot project collaborations by which NMAAHC is charting and developing its strategic Diaspora definitions, priorities and programs.  These same multidisciplinary and partner-driven projects are also  informing overarching Smithsonian strategic direction priorities, standards and practice for the national museum system.

Ayi Kwei Armah’s Poetics of Desire

Fouad Mami

Department of English, University of Adrar, Algeria


This paper engages with the ways in which the Ghanaian writer, Ayi Kwei Armah (1939-present), engages in his fiction with desire and the significance of that engagement in the cultural poetics of present day African literature. Indeed, identity seems to be regarded by the writer as initially a form of desire encompassing, not only individuals but also certain mores and customs. In Armah's opinion, African individuals and communities, with no awareness of the diametrically opposed essences of Europe and Africa, are doomed to experience loss and confusion. What feeds Africa's present cultural malaise, according to the writer, is the history of the continent's unconscious exposure to Greek perceptions of desire; first among them is patriarchy. Greek desire, the way Armah formulates it, is not only responsible for the exploitation of African resources for the benefits of non-Africans and the retardation of genuine development in the continent; it has also generated values of maximum profit and competition. It has been blamed for its irremediably destructive nature, as it has caused violence, genocides and imperial conquests. Beginning with Why Are We So Blest? (1972) Armah shows how inadequate the Greek paradigm of culture can be self-suppressing and suicidal for an African. All of Armah's novels that follow Why Are We So Blest? are attempts at setting a healthy and regenerative paradigm; the one that is based on balance, justice, reciprocity, moving in the last two novels Osiris Rising (1995) and KMT (2002) to Ma'at, the term used by ancient Egyptians and enclosing all these positive values. Armah traces the history of each paradigm of desire dialectically, only to validate and to opt for the African paradigm while pointing at the catastrophes generated by the Greek one.

The Multiple Migrant Experiences and the Search for a Place in the Metropolitan Cities in Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah

Irikidzayi Manase

University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa

The paper will examine the nature of migrant experiences in the British and American cities depicted in Adichie’s novel, Americanah (2013). It seeks to establish the homogeneity of the African, mainly Nigerian, migrant experiences and discuss the different forms of dislocations, particularly Ifemelu’s and Obinze’s, in the United States of America and Britain, respectively. It assumes that the migrant experiences are multiple in nature and one’s success in the host cities depends on chance, one’s networks and sheer tenacity, which in most cases results in further dislocation. Thus, I will examine how the depicted migrants place themselves in and connect with the host societies’ social, economic and cultural rhythms. I will also outline the tenacious and survivalist migrant identities and determine their impact on the psyche of the migrants as they deal with the conditions in host cities and remember their home countries. As a result, the paper will first draw resonances between transnational migrancy and Giddens’ notion of the ‘run away world’ to discuss the link between transnational migration and globalisation and the constitution of perpetual vulnerable and dislocated migrant identities. It will also draw on Hall’s concept of discursive identities, De Certeau’s concept of tactics, and Ury’s ideas on mobilities in an effort to discuss how the represented African migrants in Britain and the USA struggle to find a place and integrate into metropolitan lived and socio-economic and political spaces, as well as raft new identities.

Religious Borrowing, Intertextuality and Creolization in Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory

Maha Marouan

Department of Religious Studies, University of Alabama

This presentation explores the way Haitian American novelist Edwidge Danticat deploys Vodou imagery and cosmology in Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) to compose a fresh model of Haitian female spirituality. I argue that while Danticat’s novel articulates Haitian and Haitian American women’s experiences with displacement and fragmentation at the heart of diaspora, the liberating potential of her female characters’ creolized practices clearly communicates their quest for wholeness. Danticat makes new religious and cultural associations in order to construct a model of female spirituality that generates new spiritual assurances for Africana women. For instance, while the blending of Biblical narratives of female sexuality and Vodou mythology in her novel communicates an existing historical relationship between Vodou and Catholicism, Danticat goes beyond just evoking that relationship. Instead, she invents new associations that allow her to challenge a Western hegemonic discourse and engage with Africana women’s spirituality in a complex and provocative way that carries the potential for spiritual healing and liberation.

More Than a Victory: The Bechuanaland Protectorate and British Colonialism

Ian Marsh

University of Central Florida

In 1895, at the height of British colonialism in Africa, Cecil J Rhodes and his British South Africa Company (BSA) stood to engulf a South African empire. Rhodes had successfully petitioned the British Parliament to allow the BSA to annex Bechuanaland as well as the Bechuanaland Protectorate to the immediate north. With the concession papers all but signed, three Tswana Chiefs from the Protectorate travelled to London to protect their homeland. Through the resources and assistance of the London Missionary Society, the media fire the Chiefs set in Britain, and the sheer tenacity of the Chiefs themselves, led Joseph Chamberlain, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to overturn the previous decision and retain the Protectorate under the Crown. The success of this mission kept the land of the Tswana free from Rhodes‘ oppression and solidify its existence through future adversity until independence in 1966. This event, however, had a much further reaching impact on British colonialism in South Africa; it showed the cracks in Imperialism and the existence of an anti-colonial movement during the high point of British involvement on the continent. This paper will prove the importance of the Chiefs‘ mission in exposing anti-colonialism in Britain at a time when Britain was believed to be a unified imperial force. In doing so, it will also show the importance of homeland to the three Chiefs who exhausted their resources and stood against great opposition in order to avoid dissolution.  

Afro-Caribbean Pedagogies: Can We Engage African Diaspora Paradigms Without Addressing Africa?

Lidia Marte

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus

This interactive conversation and media presentation proposes to share lessons from my use of African Diaspora paradigms for my own research and for teaching of Cultural Anthropology, Comparative Contemporary Issues (Africa & the Caribbean) and Caribbean courses. The lessons come from the tremendous significance that these frameworks had in the shaping of my own work and life, and later from the realization that I could not effectively teach about colonization, slavery and the Caribbean without addressing the ethno-history and anthropology of Africa. The powerful diasporic works and lives of Aimé Cesaire, Fanon, Kincaid and Danticat, and the music of Ali Farka Touré, Toumani Diabate, Oumou Sangare and African-Cuban fusions, will help as landing pads for the discussion and concrete examples of materials used in the classroom.

Diasporic Dialects: Garifuna

Brittmy Martinez

University of Baltimore

On May 18th 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, proclaimed the Garifuna Language, Music and Dance a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Originating over 500 year ago, the Garifuna community has revitalized the cultural landscape of African descendant populations in Latin America. The Endangered Language Alliance reports that “Garifuna belongs to the Ta-Maipurean (or Caribbean) branch of the Arawakan (or Maipurean) language family, the largest indigenous language family in South America in terms of number of languages…[Garifuna] can be considered a “fusion language” which has an Arawakan base but also contains a significant portion of African and European elements”. Currently, the UNESCO has listed the language as “critically endangered” with only 115,625 speakers worldwide. This paper seeks to present an anthropological view of the Garifuna people through the evolution of their language. This historical analysis will not only decipher the ambiguous history of the Garifuna people’s culture, custom, language, but also shine light on the effects the diaspora has had on Garifuna people’s language.

Modernizing the Minds: The Introduction and Impact of Western Education on the Nomadic Fulani of Southern Cameroons

Emmanuel Mbah

City University of New York

In the early 1940s, British colonial authorities in the Southern Cameroons felt a strong need to educate the nomadic Jafen cattle Fulani of the Grasslands of Bamenda. This need arose primarily from colonial economic concerns and not from genuine desire to educate the Jafen. The Jafen were the main cattle-keepers in the region, and cattle provided much of the revenue for the British colonial administration. Thus, the objective of the British was to provide a limited education to the Jafen, to enlighten them in more efficient ways of stock keeping without any significant change in their occupational lifestyle. But having extended the system of Native Authorities (NAs) into Southern Cameroons from their Nigerian colony, the British colonizers felt that education in the region was contingent on NA revenues generated by Native Treasuries (NT) from taxes and other sources. Based on the limited educational opportunities provided to local Africans in the region, as was the case in other British African colonies, the Jafen education endeavor, to be funded from NT coffers, was destined to encounter challenges in the areas of recruiting personnel/staff, providing facilities, and general funding. In this essay, I argue that the British push to educate the Jafen derived from how such an education could boost cattle revenues, the most important source of liquidity for the pursuance of British colonial enterprise in the region. The chapter is divided into four main sections: The first examines the intentions that underpinned the urgent need to provide education for the Jafen so late in the colonial process; the second analyzes the various schooling options conceived for the Jafen; the next explores government resolutions and subsequent consultations with the Jafen; and the last reflects on reasons why the Jafen education scheme flopped.

Soldiers of His Majesty: Inter-Imperial Rivalries and Black Carib Militarization in Central America’s Age of Revolutions

Ernesto Mercado-Montero

The University of Texas at Austin


On April 18, 1797 during the first Naval War between Great Britain, France and Spain, a British fleet withdrew from Central American Spanish coasts leaving behind some two thousand armed Black Caribs captured on Saint Vincent Island. This event forms part of a larger tale of massive and forgotten ethnic re-settlements in the eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Atlantic. For instance, British armies relocated thousands of manumitted British American slaves during the American Revolution from Virginia, Georgia, and the Middle colonies to Nova Scotia first, and eventually to Sierra Leone. In 1803, French troops abandoned two hundred Antillean blacks and mulattoes on the Guajiro Indians’ coast of New Granada, after a frustrated attempt to sell them as slaves in Cartagena of Indies. Using sources from the Archive of Indies in Seville, this paper explores how local conditions and Spanish imperial policies favored the negotiations between Caribs and Spaniards, and the subsequent Carib militarization. After swearing fidelity to the Spanish king, the Caribs maintained their status as free subjects, re-shaping the Central American army’s composition. In 1798, around 70 percent of Trujillo’s soldiers were Caribs. However, this case presents a different morphology from other ethnic relocations and enlistment of free blacks in the Caribbean. The Caribs gradually transformed their displacement and imperial loyalty into building blocks of ethnicity, becoming the Garifunas. Hence, historicizing the Carib arrival to Central America within the wider framework of the Atlantic Revolutions sheds light on the first stages of the Garifuna ethnogenesis and diaspora.

Reverse Migration of Africans in the Diaspora: A Woman’s Quest for her Roots in Tess Onwueme’s Legacies

Jeremiah Methuselah

Department of English and Drama, Kaduna State University, Nigeria

Migrations of Africans began in earnest about five hundred years ago. Records indicate that between eight and twelve million Africans were forcefully displaced to the ‘New World’ to work in plantations through the trans-Atlantic slave trade. These were the first wave of Africans in Diaspora, who like we said earlier on did not emigrate to Europe and America of their own free will but were coerced. They form what has become known as old Diaspora.  Historically, this era terminated around the 19th century. From then onwards, a ‘new’ type of African Diasporas in rich industrialized countries of Europe and America emerged. Unlike the old Diasporas who were forcefully moved out of Africa, this second category of the Diasporas comprises many Africans who left their countries of origin in search of ‘greener pastures’ in Europe and America because of economic emasculation of many economies of their host countries. Other reasons for this type of migration range from religious to social/political.  However, many years later a number of these Africans in the Diaspora have started returning back to their home countries. This phenomenon of their return which is known as Reverse migration is explicated under a number of reasons. This work is case study of such dramatic returns by a woman in her quest to link up to her roots as represented in Legacies, a play by Tess Akaeke Onwueme. A content analysis of this play is made to understand the underlying issues that propel for this reverse migration at a time when the craze by many is to ‘check out’.

Constructing an Afro-Brazilian Identity in Nineteenth Century Ceará, Brazil

Tshombe Miles

Black and Latino Studies, Baruch College

In the last two decades there has been upsurge in scholarship on the African diaspora in Latin American countries such as Mexico, Uruguay, and even Argentina where the migrations of people of  African ancestry and the African diaspora in general have been understudied or marginalized. Academic studies about people of African ancestry in these regions before these periods were thought to be not of serious inquiry because it was argued there were no histories of people of African ancestry. The case of Brazil is interesting in that although there is enormous scholarship about the African diaspora, certain regions concerning the African diaspora has been under-researched. This paper examines the Afro-Brazilian diaspora in Ceará, Brazil. Up until the end of the twentieth century it was not uncommon for intellectual elites to insist that people of African heritage played a minimal role in the development of Ceará. Yet the census information of the nineteenth century strongly contests this analysis. The Afro-descendant population of Ceará has had a significant presence in region since the eighteenth century. People of African ancestry were vital to the cultural and economic development of the region. Using census information, travel accounts and local histories of Ceará from the nineteenth century: I explore the role of people of African ancestry in the history of Ceará but also discuss how and why there was often a conscious effort by the intellectual elite to construct a national identity that marginalized and in many cases erased people of African heritage in certain geographical regions particularly as citizens in the construction of the nation-state and specifically in Ceará.

The Development Implications of Mobile Banking in Africa: A Kenyan Case Study

Tara Mock

African American and African Studies, Michigan State University


With average poverty rates nearing fifty percent (48.5%), countries across Sub Saharan Africa face multiple economic and social challenges. Those with large rural populations oftentimes experience difficulties in providing access to basic infrastructure and services such as education, healthcare and banking. Participation in financial services proves particularly daunting, given widespread income instability, high transaction costs, and distance. Resultantly, more than eighty percent (80%) of Sub Saharan Africans are unbanked, without access to formal or semiformal financial services, leaving them exposed to economic shocks, health crises, natural disasters, and political unrest. The recent proliferation of information technology promises to play a key role in increasing financial access amongst the unbanked, whilst also serving as a platform for poverty reduction efforts across the continent. This presentation focuses specifically on the use of mobile phones as an intermediary in financial service participation and socio-economic development across Africa, with particular emphasis given to the success of M-PESA in Kenya. Many research studies have focused on the promise of mobile banking in emerging markets, with most emphasis placed on Asian markets or solely on mobile use as a financial tool. However, there is a gap in the scholarly literature regarding the service’s wider developmental implications. This presentation addresses the following key question: how has the proliferation of information technology, with specific emphasis on mobile telephony, impacted development in Kenya?

Youth and Irregular Migration in Nigeria: Causes, Consequences and Policy Challenges

Ukertor Gabriel Moti

Department of Public Administration, University of Abuja, Nigeria

Movement of persons across borders in the world today is a regular everyday occurrence. Migration has been defined as the movement of persons across borders with the intention of establishing permanent or temporary residence for a variety of reasons. The quest for a better life and the attempt to escape poverty has influenced a major segment of Nigeria's population to seek alternatives for better livelihood prospects for themselves and their families. Migration, be it regular or irregular, to Europe and other parts of the world is usually a sought after option considered by those seeking greener pastures. The restrictions and expenses involved in regular migration make individuals opt for irregular migration as an appealing and viable option and this desire for a better life has led many young Nigerians to elect to be smuggled or to fall prey to the deceptions of criminal gangs. There is no doubt that irregular migration has proven itself to be bad in every ramification. But why do Nigerian youths still take the risk of travelling through illegal channels despite the efforts of the government to stop this so far? Little wonder stakeholders are expressing concern. Equally the maxim, that no place is like home is one that everybody can easily chant, however, it is sad to note that some youths do not hold this axiom to be true and that is the reason they still seek to travel out of Nigeria through any possible means  available even if the channel is illegal. The paper examines the causes and consequences of irregular youth migration and the policy challenges to curb this ugly phenomenon.

Gift Giving as Modern Manifestation of Corruption among African Leaders in Diaspora in Contemporary African Societies

Felix Munyaradazi Murove, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Wisdom Okwuoma Otaluka, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

A view advanced by some African scholars is that gift giving is a problematic manifestation of corruption in some African societies. It is one of the major discussions in contemporary scholarship of ethics. While some scholars like Obasanjo (1994) argues that gift giving in Africa is a way of showing appreciation or gratitude in the traditional African society, and therefore, is not corruption, others such as Ekpo (1979); Gildenhuys (1991); Okeke (2002); Oliver de Sardan (1999) and so on, contend that gift giving is indeed corruption. The scholars who contend that gift giving is corruption argue that in the traditional African society, it is expected that a person shows appreciation or gratitude for favors done to him or her without any ulterior motive. But in contemporary African societies such as Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and others gift giving has ulterior motive behind it. Gift giving is no longer only for appreciation or gratitude but for expectation or anticipation. Thus, the main thrust of this paper is to show how gift giving manifests as corruption in the contemporary African society. This paper is thus anchored on the thesis that the way gift giving is practiced in some African societies do not only suggest that it is corruption, but also gift giving encourages more corruption in Africa.

De Facto Preferential Lending: How South Sudan’s Microfinance Industry Unwittingly Fostered Divisions Along Wartime Diaspora Lines

Crystal Murphy

Department of Political Science, Chapman University

Following South Sudan’s 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement with northern Sudan, an influx of approximately four million Southern Sudanese returned to their homeland after decades in exile due to the Second Sudanese Civil war. Many development programs were introduced to jumpstart South Sudan’s failed economy, but little was known about how those programs might foster social change in a tense post-war context. This paper discusses findings from a multi-year ethnography of the microfinance sector, which claims to alleviate poverty foster social cohesion in Juba, South Sudan. It argues that microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Juba practice what I call de facto preferential lending, and that those practices complicate how users utilize the services. Specifically, the replication model by which MFIs implement industry standard procedures in this unique context make access to services prohibitive for some but not all—by virtue of their place of exile. They do this by emphasizing certain parts of the membership process but not others their group-lending model. Some South Sudanese returned from urban cities, while others came from large displacement camps; each associated with perceived low and high levels of social closeness, respectively. Accordingly, those with tight-knit social networks formed groups and enjoy facility in loan disbursement because the first part of the membership process is contingent on those relationships. This paper conjectures that (in)access to microfinance along these diasporic identity lines might also have come at financial and social detriments.

African Indigenous Knowledge: Dissemination of West African Dance and Drum, Cultural Commodification and Racism

Collette Murray

York University

This paper critically analyses how African indigenous knowledge is misrepresented in contemporary Western research, problematizing recent issues of race, cultural commodification and appropriation within the musical subset of its epistemology: West African drum and dance in North America. With the 2007 acceptance of African peoples by the United Nations (UN) as indigenous peoples, this paper addresses why West African dance and drum is an indigenous epistemology, how West African dance and drum is culturally commodified and appropriated.  Using Critical Race Theory, this research will incorporate narratives from indigenous teachers, students, professional dancers, drummers and artistic directors of African and non-African descent from Toronto, New York and Boston to analyse reactions and responses to increasing non-African participation. A Critical Indigenous Protocol is outlined from the diaspora’s reactions to address concerns about intent, appropriation and how to manage the learning relationship of West African drum and dance knowledge. As a participant-observer, the author provides a personal narrative and experiential knowledge as an African-Canadian professional dancer in this field with the discourse of the lack of black dancers and drummers in the Greater Toronto region.


Zimbabwean Transnational Migration and Diasporic Identities in Brian Chikwava’s Harare North (2009) and Petina Gappah’s An Elegy for Easterly (2009)

Terrence Musanga

Department of English, University of Venda, South Africa

This article explores the phenomenon of transnational migration and transnational diasporic identities in post-colonial Zimbabwe as captured in two fictional works of literature.   Transnational migration in contemporary Zimbabwe is largely attributable to the crisis of the nation state which has generated and accentuated the ontological insecurity of its citizens. The genealogy of this crisis, as will be argued in this paper, can be traced back to the very formative years of the Zimbabwean nation state as attested by crisis moments that metaphorically serve as signposts of the degenerating and retrogressive nature of the Zimbabwean nation state. Transnational migration and its relation to the negotiation, formation and constitution of identities in contemporary post-colonial Zimbabwean literature is under-theorised and this article endeavours to remedy that incongruity. Furthermore, transnational migration in postcolonial theory is largely celebrated and perceived as challenging essentialised ways of conceptualising and perceiving identities. However, this reading of transnational migration is exposed as largely utopic and not grounded in the lived experiences of migrants shown in Harare North (2009) and An Elegy for Easterly (2009) as it fails to take into cognisance the classed nature of transnational migration. It is therefore my contention that the identities obtaining in the aforementioned texts predicated on restlessness, paranoia, persecution and anxiety significantly challenges the valorised theorisation of transnational migration in postcolonial theory as fundamentally emancipatory.

Beyond Mãe Preta: The Presence of Black Women in the Imprensa Negra Brasileira (Black Press of Brazil), 1910 – 1937

Wendi Muse

History Program, New York University

Upon first glance, the Imprensa Negra Brasileira (Black Press of Brazil), appears to have been an entirely male endeavor. With its pleas to “men of color” to organize, to black male youth to dress more professionally, and to whites to extend “fraternity,” the INB was filled with references to men. The majority of its writers and contributors were male, as were the public figures, celebrities, and world leaders they covered in their articles. Yet within this phallocentric press, women frequently appeared at the center of discourse regarding the prospect of black unity, the fortification of the black family, and the adherence to dominant cultural norms of greater Brazilian society. In this study, I argue that within the earliest stages of the twentieth century manifestation of INB, its writers sought to establish the proper roles for black women through an emphasis on their appearance and behavior, marking them as potential constants amidst Brazil's drastic demographic shifts, government turnover, and precarious labor market. The respectability politics posited by the INB served as more than a means of measuring black men's ability to exercise power over their female counterparts within the patriarchal society in which they lived. Instead, for the INB, women's degree of adherence to the expectations set for them would serve as a testament to the potential blacks held in the few decades following emancipation to emerge as contributing members of Brazilian society and facilitate their inclusion as equal citizens.

The African Diaspora as a Catalyst for African Freedom: Pan-Africanism and Africa’s Decolonization

Wanjala S. Nasong’o

Rhodes College

Available evidence is clear that Pan-African thought, and indeed its offshoot, the Pan-African movement, originated in the New World. It emerged as a reaction against the oppressive cultural and political context in which Black people found themselves. As it evolved over decades, Pan-Africanism developed into a major social movement for the social, economic, and political empowerment of Africans in the diaspora and those on the continent. In particular, it emerged as a major catalyst for the political emancipation of Africa. This paper seeks to explore and probe the role of Pan-Africanism as a catalyst for anti-colonial nationalism and thus its contribution to the decolonization of the continent. The paper argues that the main catalytic ingredient in the pan-African movement lay in the declaration that emerged out of the fifth Pan-African congress held in Manchester, England in 1945. The declaration, among other things, challenged colonial powers that if they were determined to rule mankind by force, then as a last resort, Africans would resort to force to achieve freedom ‘even if force destroys then and the world’! it exhorted continental Africans in attendance, among them Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Peter Abrahams, Raphael Armattoe, Garba Jahumpa, Obafemi Awolowo, and Kamuzu Banda, to return home and put their hands to freedom’s plough and furrow the ground for the seeds of liberty to grow.

Human Rights as Natural Rights: The Quest for a Theoretical Grounding

Wanjala S. Nasong’o

Rhodes College

There is something deeply attractive in the idea that every person anywhere in the world, irrespective of citizenship or territorial legislation, has some basic rights, which others should respect. The moral appeal of human rights has been used for a variety of purposes, from resisting torture and arbitrary incarceration to demanding the end of hunger and of medical neglect. At the same time, the central idea of human rights as something that people have, and have even without any specific legislation, is seen by many as foundationally dubious and lacking in cogency. A recurrent question is: where do these rights come from? It is not usually disputed that the invoking of human rights can be politically powerful. Rather, the worries relate to what is taken to be the ‘softness’ or ‘mushiness’ of the conceptual grounding of human rights. Many philosophers and legal theorists see the rhetoric of human rights as just loose talk—perhaps kindly and well-meaning forms of locution—but loose talk nevertheless. More ardent critics of the notion of human rights argue that it is no more than ‘bawling upon paper’! So, where do human rights come from? Are human rights universal or are they relative? What is the basis of the belief that there are rights that people have unconditionally simply by virtue of being humans rather than having them contingently on the basis of certain qualifications? This paper grapples with these questions by tracing the trajectory of philosophical debates about the theoretical grounding of the concept of human rights with particular focus on two dialectical schools – the Universalists and the Relativists. The overall purpose is to establish justification for the high moral ground occupied by human rights in contemporary societies.

Beyond the Act: Theatre, Culture and Ifa Corpus, a Tradoslamichristic Interrogation

Taofiq Olaide Nasir

Department of English and Performing Arts, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria

Religious worship can be seen as an act that entails some role playing by the priest/imam/babalawo and the worshippers alike, role playing being at the heart of theatre. Though several reasons could be adduced for such worship, the underlying fact is that the worshippers sooner or later revert to their original characters. Religious worship in Africa needless to say is one major factor that has contributed immensely to the disunity experienced in the region. Several people having undergone what is called religious rebirth, rejuvenation or born again often tend to change their name(s) to suit their new found faith. Hence it is very popular these days to hear of jesugbemi as against ifagbemi, jesuwale as against sangowale and some names like Divine, Heritage Habeeb, Raheem etc which are alien to African culture. Unfortunately, these traditional religion relegated to the background at home is being appreciated in the diaspora. Relying on the functional theory, this paper is an interrogation of the tone and functionality of the Ifa Corpus as reference in religious worships vis-a-viz other religious beliefs, attempting the synergy of culture and tradition in the lifestyle of the people. It concludes that the concept is synonymous to the three popular faiths in Nigeria even if it is communicated in different languages and sometimes, inaudibly.

Beyond Redemption? An Historical/Cultural Interrogation of Nigeria’s Political Landscape

Taofiq Olaide Nasir, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria

Omeiza Olumuyiwa Balogun, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria

Nigeria gained her independence in 1960 and became a republic in 1963. However, it has been a chequered history in the life of Nigerians since then. The road has been smooth and bumpy but now, getting bumpier. Having survived a civil war and eight military regimes, the almost 200 million peopled nation seem to have eventually settled for democratic governance. However, since the advent of this democratic rule, the masses are yet to enjoy dividends of democracy leaving the people to wonder whether the country is practising democracy or oligarchy. Even the diasporic voice and writings of nationalists has had little effect on the governance. Reflecting on importance of democracy, this paper discusses visions and missions of the founding fathers and the contributions of the nationalists at home and in the diaspora focusing on artistic icons such as Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti etc. It discovers that the root of the plethora of problems ravaging the nation is embedded in corruption which is fast gaining ground across the continent. Juxtaposing with some African countries, it queries: Is corruption part of African culture? It then concluded that despite the visions of the founding fathers and nationalists, despite the abundant natural resources at the behest of the nation, the people are yet to enjoy the benefit of democracy leaving them to think they would have fared better under colonial administration.

Representing African American and African Diaspora Identity at the Smithsonian Festival

Diana Baird N'Diaye

Cultural Heritage Specialist/ Curator, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

African American culture is diverse and simultaneously permeated with commonalities, discordant and confluent experiences, histories, and myriad expressions. There have been several paradigms or ideological approaches to representing African American culture on the National Mall and parallel threads that emphasize: expressions of African American identity grounded in the experiences of culture developed by those whose ancestors survived the institution of slavery in the United States, African Americans as part of American society and culture writ large, and African American culture in the context of African world as Diaspora citizens. This paper examines the varied ideological messages that seek to offer definitions of African American and Diaspora cultural identity that have been implicit and explicit in Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 1967 through 2013.

Akwanshi: Historicizing and Immortalizing Kinship Ties Through Art Forms

Umana Ginigeme Nnochiri

Department of Visual Arts and Technology, Cross River State University of Technology, Nigeria

The Akwanshi Monoliths of Ikom are among the world's renowned historical art forms. These over 300 sculptural monuments were a means of preserving and immortalizing kinship, religious and social ties in the community. It also served as a source of economic empowerment and skills development for the people within that geographical area. These Art forms have put Ikom, Cross River State, Nigeria and indeed Africa in global limelight. The intent of this paper is to delve into the history of kinship in Ikom, origin of the Ikom monoliths, in a comparative view with other world monoliths; the designs incorporated into the Ikom monoliths and finally, the relevance of the Ikom stone monoliths in contemporary times and other applications to which the monoliths and the incorporated designs can be put.       

Nigerian Representation via the New African Diaspora Film

Olaocha Nwadiuto Nwabara

African American and African Studies, Michigan State University

Nigerians have voluntarily migrated to countries such as the Unites States, the United Kingdom, and Canada since the 1960s triggered primarily by Nigeria's independence from Great Britain. As with other Africans entering a post-colonial continent, Nigerians sought to migrate for economic opportunities or as refugees to newly tolerant countries such as the United States. The release and presidency of Nelson Mandela and subsequent end of apartheid created a new route for Nigerians and other African immigrants to relocate for economic gain in the New South Africa. I argue that this established South Africa as an intercontinental host country of the African Diaspora. The post-colonial wave of migrants is a new African Diaspora, which differs from a historic African Diaspora most commonly defined by the enslavement of Africans, primarily throughout the Atlantic world. New African Diasporas differ from historic Diasporas in the way that they bring and retain their cultural identities and traditions and often can return home. As such, transnationalism becomes a salient factor of this contemporary diaspora. The identities of new African Diasporas are also complicated by the political identities that await them in the host country creating intersectional racial and ethnic identities. This paper reveals evidence of a growing racial and ethnic identity formation that is self-represented in African Diasporic film and literature in an actualized/empirical way, often reflective of personal identities and experiences in a globalized world and era. Members of the new African Diaspora, like Yoruba filmmakers Rahman Oladigbolu and Akin Omotoso, have represented such identities in their films Soul Sisters and Man on Ground, respectively. Their representations of Nigerian Diaspora life create artistic documentation of culture and life, which is read and watched by African and African descended people around the world. The paper uses literary and content analyses, including an artist interviews and samples of the work of these Yoruba cultural producers, Oladigbolu and Omotoso, to identify relationships between racial and ethnic identity on the one hand, and representation on the other. The paper aims to generate discussion about representation of race and ethnic identities throughout the African Diaspora in preparation for dissertation research.

Is There an African Diasporas Organization? Whither African Union?

Kenneth Nweke

Department of Political Science, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Nigeria

Today more than ever, the need to discover Africans in the Diaspora and mobilize, as well as harness them for Africa’s development is a task that must be accomplished. The Diasporas have become the object of considerable policy and academic interest because of their perceived utility for Africa’s development. The Diasporas are said to be strategic in the socio-economic and political development of Africa as a result of their power of remittances, technical skills and connections. Unfortunately, the African Diasporas have not been mobilized and harnessed adequately as a continental body for this onerous responsibility. This paper believes that it is a task for the African Union. The paper therefore articulates the modus operandi of having an African Diasporas Organization with membership drawn from Diaspora organizations of different African nations established and facilitated by the African Union.

The Role of Diaspora in Strengthening Democratic Governance in Africa

Kenneth Nweke, Department of Political Science, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Nigeria

Vincent Nyewusira, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Nigeria

Democratic governance in most African States since the attainment of political independence has been less than satisfactory. This is regardless of the fact that in the last ten years, more than two thirds of countries in Africa have had multi-party elections. The paper seeks answers to whether or not African diaspora has the capacity to strengthen democratic governance in a political landscape littered with innumerable distress signals. In the process, we offer interesting perspectives on how the diaspora can, essentially with benefits of exposure to advanced democracies, ‘import’, canvass, build and institutionalise tenets that make democratic tripod of the executive, legislature and judiciary approach governance, legislation and justice administration with the aims of entrenching democratic culture. We adopted systems theory as analytical tool to view the diaspora as an interventionist group that collaborates and networks with critical institutions of democracy such as election management bodies, the media, civil society organizations, labour unions, professional bodies and security agencies in ensuring the development of democracy. Undoubtedly, a strong and practical synergy between the diaspora and democratic institutions is a platform for intellectual analysis, conceptualization, interpretation and right diagnosis of the continent’s democratic failure, with the ultimate aim of offering some sort of ‘elixir’. We argue that a key stimulant to this partnership is constitutional provision for diaspora participation in electoral process. Our argument stems from the fact that such arrangement will provide the legal and moral basis for the diaspora to jettison the prevailing feelings of being ‘stakeholders without a stake’. This is because, the more a group of people participate in a system, the more interest it has in the survival of that system. Although we do not absolutely believe that the only solution for Africa’s democratic conundrum is diaspora participation, but we argue strongly that the future of Africa will be shaped by the roles of diaspora in modern politics.

Harnessing Diaspora Remittances for Africa’s Economic Development

Aori Nyambati

University College London

In recent years, Diaspora remittances to Africa have more than quadrupled and arguably about to surpass foreign direct investment (FDI) and official development assistance (ODA).  In 2010 alone, remittance inflow to Africa hit US$ 40 billion mark. Deploying conventional neoclassical growth framework and unbalanced panel data from 33 African countries spanning from 1980 to 2010, this paper investigates the aggregate impact of Diaspora remittance on economic growth in Africa. Two key preliminary findings are presented: a) Diaspora remittance to Africa is transforming global foreign aid architecture, qualitatively and substantively; b) Diaspora remittance has significant growth-boosting effect on African economies. Diaspora remittance is making Africa a more self-organising, self-running and self-sufficient continent in the 21st century.

Challenges of Adopting ICT in African Primary Schools: Case Study of Rwanda

Bitutu B. Nyambane

Mount Kenya University, Kenya

Information Technology (IT) has drastically altered the way we live.  Education has experienced an influx of innovation and technology that support the use of IT.  In Africa, Rwanda has taken the mantle and implemented a visionary program where primary schools have integrated IT in their school curriculum. Nations such as Kenya have noted the drastic changes in IT and the successful implementation of the IT program in Rwanda’s education system and intend introduce the same. This research aims at understanding the challenges and relevant solutions that accompany such an  program. To understand the issues that Kenya is likely to face, a qualitative study was undertaken basing on Rwanda’s past experiences. Questionnaires and interviews were used to understand the challenges the “One Laptop per Child” project faced. The paper parallels Rwanda’s defining moments in changing its education infrastructure with other nations and considers the relevance of the solutions adopted in Rwanda. Once such moments have been analyzed, the paper will provide a concise review of global education initiatives and how this initiative influenced the Rwandese state of education. A situational analysis of the current state of education policies, prevailing economic and social challenges, and deficit in IT experts to train the students, the ICT program in schools as well as the challenges the schools, students and its citizens are currently facing was necessary.  The field study also included a review of the stakeholders in the education sector and their understanding of the impacts and challenges of this project. This paper will reflect on firsthand experience of implementing audacious programs in developing countries such as Rwanda.  Kenya has a daring development blueprint, the Vision 2030 program, which seeks to catapult the country to a middle income nation by 2030. To do this, she has identified ICT and education as one of the pillars. This study will be significant in spelling out some expected challenges in implementing such a program.

State Violence, Radical Protest and the black/African Female Body

Kanyinsola O. Obayan

The University of Texas at Austin

This work examines state violence against Nigerian women’s bodies through an analysis of the radical contemporary practice of nude protest employed by these women to challenge state power.  In 1929, Igbo and Ibibio women in the small southeastern Nigerian village of Oloko led a resistance against the unfair taxation of the British colonial government through the use of indigenous bodily forms of protest. Although numerous scholars often valorize the Women’s War of 1929 as a major instance of anti-colonial resistance in Nigeria, the impact of the war far exceeds its conventional interpretations as it can be used as praxis to understand global dialectics of gender, activism, and the body politic. In this paper, I argue that there is an inherent incompatibility between the British colonial system of thought at this time and the indigenous Igbo and Ibibio systems of thought that motivated the women’s war. As a result, we must read the women’s war as a clash between different epistemological conceptualizations of the female body and its political materiality.  The word  “body” here not only refers to the corporeal body but it also refers to its attendant existential and cultural state of being. Thus, when the Igbo and Ibibio women of 1929 resisted using the indigenous practice of nude protest, they were purposely disarticulating the grammar of coloniality by imposing the problematic of the ‘obscene’ female body onto the colonial regime while asserting their right to the control of indigenous femininity and its practices.

The Economics and Constraints of Contemporary Nigerian Diaspora Communities in National Development Since the 1990s

M.O. Odey

Department of History, Benue State University, Nigeria

In contemporary parlance, Nigerian Diaspora groups constitute about the highest population of resident emigrants in different parts of the globe who are contributing undoubtedly to the development of their host communities in a variety of ways. The central argument of the essay is to demonstrate how the huge social and economic capital of Nigerian emigrants in oversea countries can be harnessed to stimulate the current drive towards sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria. First, the essay specifically examines the basic issues/trends of Nigerian emigrants to other parts of the world since the 1990s as well as their economic potentials as a basis for how best to engage and mobilize their social and economic capital towards national development. Second, the paper goes further to show how the accumulated wealth of Nigerian Diasporas can be mobilized, organized and sensitized towards areas of priorities in national development and how remittances may be collected and be used as direct capital investment. Third, the paper also underscore the need to provide a platform for Nigerian Diasporas to generate individual and group-opinions, ideas and to suggest alternatives when necessary in policy formulation and direction or support viable projects in their home countries.Fourth,the paper placed the analysis in a wider context of the dynamics of global emigration, nationalist consciousness and identity of Diaspora groups and the demographic challenges and specifically addressed the basic problems and issues confronting Nigerian Diasporas and their reluctance to respond to the national development drive. The conclusion of the paper is to suggest how to resolve these challenges and maximize the economic benefits of Nigerian Diasporas around the globe towards national sustainable development back in Africa.

Dehumanization, Enslavement, and Violence against African Americans in American History.

Onaiwu W. Ogbomo

African Studies & History, Western Michigan University

Recent research by David Livingstone Smith, author of Less than Human (2011) argues that the concept of dehumanization plays a significant role in war, genocide, and in different practices of cruelty and inhuman treatments. While this is recognized by all, Smith states that writings on dehumanization are very thing. Hence, he tried to explore the concept “bring dehumanization out of the shadows, and to jump-start conversation that is centuries overdue.” This paper is a response to Smith’s call for that needed conversation. Using the prism of enslavement and violence against African Americans in American history, this paper intends to examine the forces and factors which motivated slaveholders to adopt a dehumanizing attitude towards enslaved Africans. Furthermore, the paper will explore the explanations offered by the powers that be under Jim Crow America for the brutal nature African Americans were treated during the segregationist era in American history. What provokes dehumanizing impulse in humans? There is no doubt that dehumanization is a social construction which appears in a culture and historical period. But to what extent do social, political conditions prompt the need to dehumanize others?  Why are certain individuals and groups of individuals considered less human? Why do members of particular societies condone dehumanization? These and many other issues is subject of this paper in relation to African Americans in American history.

Perspectives on Recruitment and Retention of African American Students in Higher Education.

Queen Ogbomo

Tennessee Technological University

While it has been established through research that minorities in America deserve access to higher education, it is still a constant struggle for many institutions of higher learning to recruit and retain African American students. This paper will examine existing literature on factors that impede the success of African American students in higher education. The changing demographics of America have resulted in a major change in the student population in American universities over the years. In many states, minority students make up more than one-third of the total student body. With the change in student population, the importance of addressing the needs of these students has also been widely recognized. Demographics and current trends in education show a growing African American population in higher education, but different factors contribute to black students losing ground in the educational process. African American students are still underrepresented despite the fact that the number of blacks earning degrees has increased over the years. Research shows there is clear evidence of continuing inequities in educational opportunities along racial lines and that racially diversified environments, when properly utilized, lead to improvements in educational outcomes for all parties. While there is ample empirical evidence with regards to the positive outcomes of having diverse student population, recruiting and retaining black students has continued to be a problem on university campuses across the United States.

The Diaspora and the Leadership Challenge in Nigeria

Silk Ugwu Ogbu

Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria

Since the end of colonization, most African countries, including Nigeria have been grappling with the problem of leadership. In spite of the enormous human and material resources spread all over, Africa is undeniably, the poorest continent in the world providing home to 35 of the 50 poorest countries. The problems of failed states, underdevelopment and violent conflicts, many have argued, are all traceable to the failure of leadership in Africa. In Nigeria, the inability of the ruling elite to provide transformational leadership since independence has become the most important obstacle to development and institutional growth. As the 2015 general elections draws closer,  the search for new leaders has effectively commenced  especially amongst the over 17 million Nigerians living in the Diaspora, many of whom are leading professionals in their various fields. With over $10 billion in international remittances in 2012, the role of the Nigerian Diaspora in providing a solid platform for economic and political transformation of Nigeria has become of great interest, especially to the academia and intellectual pundits. This paper is an attempt to analyze the relevance of the Diaspora both as a potential source of good leadership and also as a facilitator of social and attitudinal change within the Nigerian Society. The paper critically examines the problems preventing the Diaspora from coming back and explores ways that the government can encourage those who are willing, but afraid, to return.

(Re)examining Traditional Drum Surrogacy: dundun as a Conduit of Socio-Cultural Cohesion in the African Diaspora.

Adeolu O. Ogunsanya

Department of Music, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Whenever the hourglass shaped drum ‘Dundun’ is mentioned, minds of music scholars readily go to the Yoruba speaking people of West Africa. Although this does not mean that this drum is peculiar to the Yoruba as it is also found in its varied forms among the Hausa of northern Nigeria and across other east and West African countries especially Ghana. Its compositional and performance techniques have become highly specialized because of the drum’s high usage in both the social and religious celebrations of the Yoruba. Previous studies on Dundun have focused on its function within the traditional and popular music settings where it performs melo-rhythmic role which exhibits the lo-mid-high tonality of yoruba speech pattern. However, this paper focuses on the use of dundun to perform other tunes beyond Yoruba speech melodies and oral poetry. With the use of intercultural music theory, empirical and historical evidences have shown that Dundun is the most eloquent of all Yoruba drums. It has the capability of producing chromatic notes within its octave which is seldom used by the the traditional drummers. The use of dundun within the context of diasporic music reveals greater potentials of the instrument. Therefore, interested musicians in the diaspora will find this instrument useful for their subsequent compositions and performances that will help redefine the socio-cultural worldview of the music of Africa.

Human Rights and Physical Capital (Environmental Infrastructure and Social Services) in Nigeria

Jonathan Ogwuche

Department of Geography, Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria

Human Rights became a focus of international law (UN Charter of 1945) long before environmental concerns (Stockholm Declaration of 1972) did. As environmental awareness grows, there is increasing recognition that life and human dignity are only possibly in a healthy environment with access to adequate physical capital. Everybody has the right to a healthy and sustained environment. Issues on the environment relating to physical capital are addressed by the Committee on Economical, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations. Under international human rights, physical capital, notably water, is protected as a human right. Nigeria, as most States, uses various constitutional provisions to protect the environment and human rights, and are extended to include the right to a healthy environment. However, fundamental issues of right to physical capital are lacking. Theoretical discussions on the nexus between human rights and physical capital address issues of availability, accessibility, affordability and acceptability. The nature of this nexus enables the development of necessary mechanisms and laws in the context of sustainable development, as a violation of our environment through lack of physical capital is a violation of our human rights. This paper identifies obstacles to improved access to physical capital to include poor management, lack of political will and planning, and privatization. It is recommended that development of global action plan and national strategies are needed to plan, develop and implement physical capital.

Fela on Broadway: Seeing Fela Anikulapo Kuti through the Eyes of the Fela! Musical

Albert Oikelome

Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Nigeria

The contributions of Africa and Africans in Diaspora to the development of African derived music in the global arena are phenomenal. This is evident in the billion dollar music industry’s commodification and exploitation of elements that are obviously African derived. Furthermore, there is a wave of inquisition whereby Europe and America are seeking genuine rapport and collaboration with human essence and creative dynamism in African music. One of such is the Fela Musical. Afrobeat is already an established phenomenon recognized all over the world. There are several active Afrobeat groups that are scattered across Europe and America but one major group that has engrafted the relevance of Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Afrobeat into the stream of world Music is the ‘Fela Musical’. The Musical is based on the music and lyrics of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, chronicling his achievements from birth till his demise in 1997. Written by Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis, the Musical x-rays the life and times of Afrobeat exponent with modern day musical complexities and choreography that has held the audience spell bound. The group has toured several cities around the world (including Nigeria, where Fela was born). While it has received resounding applause and commendation from many across the globe, the Musical has been condemned by others as lacking the basic ingredients inherent in Felá’s music. Furthermore, they argue that there is no way a Musical from another country other than Nigeria can give a true description of Fela and his music. The study therefore will examine the music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti from the perspective of the ‘Fela on Broadway’ Musical. It will analyze the creative dimensions of the production as important elements in understanding how Felá’s identity is defined, constructed and reinforced on the ‘Broadway’.

Mainstreaming Black European Experience in the Global Black Diaspora Studies: Issues, Themes and Prospects

Okpeh Ochayi Okpeh, Jr.

Department of History, Benue State University, Nigeria

The literature on Black diaspora is dense and extensive, and has continued to deepen both in terms of issues being interrogated, and the themes explored. Consequently, it has continued to justify its relevance as a field of study that has continued to command the respect of researchers globally. But while there are generally many volumes on the Black diaspora in the Americas, the same cannot be declared for those in continental Europe. Therefore, the impression is often given that there are only few Blacks in Europe compared with what obtains in the Americas and Canada, or any part of the world for that matter. The persistence of this notion has raised some interesting conceptual and methodological issues regarding the Black diaspora that should now interest scholars. First, is the need to re-examine the question of what is the African/Black diaspora. We need to interrogate the fluid nature and trajectory of the African diaspora and the implications of this on the broader diaspora research and studies. Second, there is the need to revisit hegemonic theories on the diaspora question and see to what extent they either impact or shape the literature on the Black European diaspora on the one hand and its place in the global diaspora, on the other. Third, arising from the socio-economic, cultural and political roles of Black Europeans in Europe, it is important to expand the dialogue on their history from a transnational perspective as a critical basis for deconstructing existing prejudices and stereotypes about them, and enhancing a better understanding of their collective identity. Against this background, this paper proposes to revisit the African diaspora question in light of the Black European experience. Underscoring this experience as an important aspect of the global Black diaspora, the paper makes far-reaching conclusions on the basis of emerging issues, themes and future prospects of the field.

Analysis of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song: An Allegory of Mental Slavery in Nigeria   

Olufunmilola Oladipo

Adeyemi College of Education

Bob Marley was a Jamaican of mixed descent. He grew up in Jamaica in the atmosphere of racism. His background and belief in freedom for the African descents prompted his composition of ‘Redemption Song’ in 1979. The track described how Africans were robbed of their freedom, dispossessed of their dignity and wealth, sold into slavery, and shipped to other parts of the world to suffer untold hardship. The music was dedicated to African descents whose forebears were eyewitnesses to the obnoxious slave trade. Though the present generation are physically independent, yet they are mentally enslaved, they are born free yet always in chains. My paper examines Marley’s redemption song vis-a-vis Nigeria’s present situation of mental slavery and neo-colonialism evident in tribalism, nepotism, religious conflicts, underdevelopment, inferiority complex, poverty, human right abuse, exploitation and oppression of the less privileged by the affluent class. It traces the history and discusses the effect of the Trans Atlantic slave trade, colonialism, indirect rule, neo colonialism and mental slavery on Africa, especially Nigeria. It concludes by suggesting ways of escape from mental slavery, because no one else but ourselves can free our minds.     

Rethinking African Spirit of Collectivism as a Tool for African Empowerment

S. Layi Oladipupo

Adekunle Ajasin University, Department of Philosophy

The continent of Africa suffered a lot in the hand of their colonial masters. This popular saying is not unconnected with the way and manner in which the colonial masters handled their affair while they rule them and even after their independence. Many of the African leaders that fought gallantly for the emancipation of African from the shackles of the colonial masters were not directly given the responsibility of controlling the affairs of their people. Hence, those, that are well vast on what leadership and governance demand, who really prepared for governance and leadership, are edged out for stooges who will do the bidding of the colonial masters. This to some extent distorts the spirit of collectivism with which the African fought for independence. In place of this, the spirit of individuality sprung up. As such, this paper harps on the implications of the absence of the spirit of collectivism and its effects on Africa to advocate a revisit of Africa communal nature that is built on collective participation for African empowerment.

The Extended Family and African Diaspora: The Need for Social Harmony and Communalism, A Case of Olugbon Family, Agosasa Ogun, State, Nigeria

Wale Olatunji, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education Otto/Janikin, Nigeria

Oladipupo Awofisayo, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education Otto/Janikin, Nigeria

One social institution that has religiously held together the bond of relationship and unity among members of several communities in Africa is the Extended Family. The practice of Extended Family system has continued to strengthen social contacts among Africans within and outside the continent. While variations may be observed in terms of practices in different part of the continent, due to external influences and the natural environment, one fact remains, members anywhere they find themselves regard one another as belonging to the same family. The extended family continues to play the role of social stability among Africans even with the changing global social and economic climates occasioned by formal education and improved transportation and communication. The annual assemblages of members from different walks of life at the ancestral homes to share social and economic experiences is a pointer to the sacredness of this institution. That, this bond of unity continues to exist in the contemporary globalized world society in the face of increasing immigration urbanization and industrialization is a reflection that the African communal life should be resuscitated and practised by Africans anywhere they may find themselves on the globe. This paper therefore, examines African Disaporism in the context of the Extended Family and the need for social harmony and communalism among Africans. Data for the paper are gathered through review of relevant literature and oral interviews.

Re-Thinking Evidential Requirements in Prosecution of Embezzlers of Public Fund: The Olabode George and John Yakubu Sagas

Olubukola Olugasa

Department of Private and Commercial Law, Babcock University, Nigeria.

Between 2012 and 2013 the Judiciary in Nigeria would appear to have let down Nigerians in the fight against corruption, economic and financial crimes following the outcomes of the cases of the cases of Chief Olabode George v The Federal republic of Nigeria and The Federal Republic of Nigeria v John Yakubu. In the former case, the trial Court found the defendant guilty. The defendant promptly contested the decision and proceeded to the Court of Appeal but the Court dismissed it. Dissatisfied with the Court of Appeal decision, the defendant proceeded to the Supreme Court which allowed the appeal and quashed the conviction. It became an unpopular decision. John Yakubu’s case involved the defendant’s stealing of a whooping sum from police pension fund yet he plea bargained and was asked to pay some insignificant amount compared the sum he admitted he stole. Who is to blame? The Court or the Legal system that practices adversarial system which provides: 1. the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty; and 2. The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt. This paper seeks to appraise these legal requirements with a view to revealing the gap created by them in the criminal justice system and therefore come up with suggestions for reforms through a new evidential culture that aligns with the African customary law heritage.

Nobody Knows De Troubles I’ve Seen: A Discourse Analysis of Selected Afro-American Protest Music and Their Relevance to Contemporary Issues

Stephen Olusoji

Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Nigeria

It is important to note that Negro spirituals, a musical typology that has over the years been associated with the travails, oppression, and other dehumanising conditions of African people in the diaspora during the Slave Trade era deserves to be studied regarding their relevance to contemporary issues. To the aforementioned, this paper examines the lyrical and musical content of selected Negro spirituals using ethnographic methods.The paper posits that the messages presented in the music are still relevant in contemporary times.The paper list problems such as inequality and racial discrimination, and economic stagnation as some of the problems bedevilling the African American people that are quite visible today.The paper concludes by proffering solutions to issues raised in the study.

"Home! Sweet Home!": African Diaspora and Reverse Migration in the 21st Century

Donald O. Omagu

Department of History, City University of New York

The phenomenal influx of African immigrants to the United States attributed to identifiable economic, political, as well as social pushes and pulls factors in the last three decades has not only been slow in recent years, but have witnessed reverse migration. This paper examines the factors which have triggered the reverse immigration rates within the context of the global economic meltdown and other important variables like the strong attachment that migrants maintain with their countries of origin and the elusive “American dream” as well as racism.

Migration, Diaspora and Tourism Development in Nigeria: Experiences from Annual Holy Ghost Congress of the RCCG

Adetola Omitola

Department of Tourism and Transport Studies, Redeemer’s University, Nigeria

Africa has been involved in migration right from the ancient time for various reasons; however, the modern variant is seen as conditioned largely by issues such as war of independence, civil wars, educational pursuits and lately severe economic crisis forcing large population of African skilled workers to become labour migrants. Thus, “brain-drain” which is also referred as “brain gain” is of mutual benefit to the home country as well as the host country of such labour. This is due to the tendency of emigrants to maintain a close linkage with their home country through various means such as sponsoring or supporting political activities, supporting family members, religious and other societal links. This is the case with Pentecostal churches in Nigeria with members in Diasporas who maintain close linkage with their headquarters churches through various annual programmes. This paper therefore interrogates human mobility and religious tourism development in Nigeria using the case of Annual Holy Ghost Congress of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. The paper adopts descriptive and statistical analysis based on primary and secondary data to determine the influence of this mobility on the socio-economic activities of the area where the programmes are held, development of tourism infrastructure of hotels, eatery and other impacts. The paper concludes that the movement of members of the church to attend annual programmes possess potential for tourism development in the country however; there is need for more government involvement in terms of policy decisions, awareness among others for the development of the sector.

Transnational Network and Nigerian Security: Challenges of Cattle Herders and Farmers’ Conflicts

Bolaji Omitola

Department of Political Sciences, Osun State University, Nigeria

In recent time, the conflicts between nomadic cattle herders and farmers which has turned North-Central Nigeria to perpetual war zone is attaining a genocide proportion. The conflict which can be traced to increasing desertification of land for grazing and shrinking of major water sources in the Northern part is gradually spreading to the Southern end of the country. The “weapons of warfare” has transformed from bows and arrows to the like of AK 47 and improvised bombs. This is made possible by the transnational nature of the nomadic’ cattle herders in the Sahel and Savanna regions and their close affinity to some terrorist gangs espousing Islamic fundamentalism therefore accessing trafficked small arms and light weapons. These SALW are deployed in the battles with local farmers possessing equally dangerous arms and ammunitions, thus, necessitating the deployment of the armed forces to contain the conflicts in a war-like fashion. This situation has been worsened by contradictions in the Nigerian State; vast and porous borders; corruption, inefficiency and inadequate security infrastructure among others. This paper concludes that while the Nigerian government must urgently address the crisis of water and grazing facilities, there is also a need for reappraisal of the security infrastructure in terms of structure, operations, deployments processes and the overall security objectives. Specifically, this must involve a more decentralised, people oriented and ownership, intelligence based and technology driven security measures if the objective is to curb the current threat to the existence of the country as a sovereign polity.

Tracing the History of Slave Trade through Sculpture: A Case Study of the Calabar Slave History Museum

Emekpe Okokon Omon

Department of Visual Art and Technology, Cross River State University of Technology, Nigeria

Human history is marked by the fact of the trade in fellow humans as slaves. This and other makers of history would be referred to as stains and would rather be wiped from the fabric of history, were there to be a means to do so. However, these also have a flip-side to them, as these “stains on the fabric of history” could so easily be repeated, were there to be nothing to remind us of the goring details, the pain, the sorrow, and the peculiar and unmistakable opportunity they give us in this age and time to peep and gain invaluable insight into the extent to which human life and worth could lose value before fellow humans simply in response to the call for sacrifice on the altar of selfish pursuit and material gain. History does a good enough job for a reminder, but sculpture as a tool for demonstrating history is unquestionable as it gives unmistakable form and substance to history, and provides a more interactive experience as the facts comes off the pages and become more palpable. This property of sculpture is clearly demonstrated in the Calabar Slave History Museum, where a walk through brings you into first hand and close encounter with what may have been the experience of the victims and disposition of other players on the stage of time.

The Slavery of African Descents and Christianization of Yorubaland, Southwestern Nigeria in the 19th Century

Rotimi Williams Omotoye

Department of Religions, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

A discussion of slavery in Africa and the experiences of the ex-slaves in Yorubaland, South-western Nigeria in particular and Nigeria in general would not be complete without an examination of its effects on the expansion of Christianity in the 19th century and beyond. Many of the ex-slaves and their children became agents of Christianity and western education in Yorubaland. By the end of the 20th century, many of these Yoruba Church founders, especially, the Pentecostal Churches, have also founded Churches in European countries. The story has been summarized as “sadness and joy” because, while the slavery experience started on a sad note for the Africans and their succeeding generations, today, these Africans are seen evangelizing the “developed countries”.  We believe that Nigerians in diaspora would have a role to play in accommodating and assisting the new crops of Nigerian evangelists in re-focusing themselves in their Christian missionary activities, in an environment which is gradually becoming secularized.

Nigerian Diaspora and National Development Strategies: Reflections from Nido-UAE

Opeyemi Aisha Oni

University of Wollongong in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

In recognition of the potential of its citizens in the Diaspora, the Nigerian government under President Olusegun Obasanjo supported and sponsored the establishment of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Organization (NIDO) in 2001. Through this organization, the government aimed to tap from the skills of Nigerians abroad. Despite the inclusion of some highly-skilled Nigerian Diasporas in successive regimes in Nigeria since the resumption of democratic rule in 1999, and despite the high remittances flow from Nigerians abroad, official statistics show that their collective contribution toward national development is still relatively low. My research focuses on how this trend can be improved and how the Nigerian Diaspora contribution can be made much more effective and all-encompassing. In an attempt to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Nigerian Diasporas viz-a-viz the development of their homeland a set of questions will be asked. What are the possible ways by which Nigerian Diasporas can contribute to national development? What are the challenges they face in their effort to contribute? What have they contributed/what do they have to contribute and how can they do so more effectively? Why should they contribute, anyway? I am conducting several focus group discussions (FGDs) with a number of NIDO-UAE members as participants. The study will build its analysis, recommendations, and conclusion on the opinions and suggestions of the participants with the hope that the findings might be found useful by the Nigerian policy makers in pursuing the shared development objectives between the government and its Diaspora citizens.

Connecting with Your People: The Case of Young Igbo Diaspora

Uchenna Onuzulike

Howard University

This paper explores how the second-generation Igbo (SGI) young adults engage themselves with the Igbo community in the diaspora. Although the aim of this study was to examine how the SGI young adults in the United States keep connected with the Igbo community in the United States and in Nigeria, the emerging of their dialectical concerns led to an underlying question of what is the emotional state of mind of these SGI young adults in the diaspora. This study employed the qualitative research method of in-depth interviewing. Twelve participants were recruited through a convenience sample of SGI young adults who were residing in the Washington, DC area in order to obtain their lived experiences. The result revealed that SGI young adults utilize several channels of connecting with their ethnic identity in the United States and in the ancestral homeland. Three themes: (1) organizational and association dynamics, (2) social media and new media, (3) and ancestral homeland as well as five sub-themes: (a) pan-African, (b) pan-Igbo groups, (c) intra-Igbo groups, (d) young Igbo groups, (e) and indifference emerged from the analysis. The findings reveal that the co-ethnic young Igbo organizations, associations, and social groups played a primary role in how they perform their ethnic and transnational selves in the diaspora. The implications suggest that how the SGI young adults enact themselves is structured around the dialectical tension of cultural construction and cultural negotiation.

The Role of African Diaspora in the Modern Politics of Nigeria

Boniface Opara

Institute of Direct Marketing of Nigeria

Africa Diaspora are citizens of African countries that have left this continent to settle in other countries of the world such as Europe, America, Asia, etc for greener pastures. A good number of them have not forgotten their source despite the long distance migration to the other side of the world. There is the ill-feeling that the socio-economic and political tendencies of their people have no pedigree and are still suffering stunted growth. As a result of this, they try in their own way to explore avenues to make contributions to better the lives of the people they left behind. Some come together to form various concerned group – be it social, political or any other. They understudy vigorously what goes on in their present country of domicile, monitor activities back home, and make valuable contributions to correct these ineptitude and unhealthy ways of doing things. But, then, I want to lay emphasis on the role such groups or people play in the modern politics of Nigeria. It is very obvious that politics in Nigeria lacks required rudiments as the players don’t see it as a means to serve, but for egoistic purposes and self-aggrandizement. I have witnessed occasions where these our brothers and sisters out there are talking through phone-in Radio/TV programmes, Newspaper Correspondence, Facebook, one-on-one with those that matter in Nigeria engaging on electoral process, political reforms and issues that may enhance the political well being of the people. This paper therefore examines the role, contributions, successes and failures of the African Diaspora in the modern politics of Nigeria.

African Diaspora: Unending Encounters with the Subtlety and Blatancy of Racism

Kunirum Osia

Coppin State University

Both science and history have debunked the attributions of phenotypical and genotypical traits in humans of superiority over inferiority and super-ordination over subordination. We are aided not only by history but also by science in the affirmation that human beings have more similarities than dissimilarities. The ‘out-of-Africa’ migration or dispersion of humans has held sway despite continued challenges to that assertion. The origin of the word ‘diaspora’ is biblical. It refers to the dispersion of the Jews among the Gentiles after their period of exile. This biblical referent is noted in the book of Deuteronomy 28:25, John 7:35, James 1:1 and Peter 1:1 respectively. It has now acquired universal applicability in the context of voluntary or involuntary migrations of people to areas other than their homelands to seek comfort or refuge. This paper will demonstrate that efforts at acculturation, enculturation and assimilation have not diminished the onslaught of the subtlety and oftentimes blatancy of racism that African diasporans continue to experience. We will examine those contexts or incidences where African diasporans continue to experience negative attitudes. For example, instances of limited access and glass ceilings, double standards, exclusion and isolation, powerlessness, token status, guilty by association et cetera. We will conclude that for racism to diminish and for African diasporans to be appreciated for who they are, humans need to engage in acquiring cultural competency as it relates to dealing with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

African Spirituality: A Dialogue with Eastern Spiritual Traditions

Assumpta A. Oturu

KPFK 90.7 FM, Los Angeles, (Pacifica Radio)

In African Spirituality: A Dialogue with Eastern Spiritual Traditions, I propose to engage concepts and practices that define and give meaning to philosophy of the mind/soul and body. It is a work progress. In it, I attempt to tackle the unanswered questions: ‘who we are’, ‘why we are here’ and ‘what happens at death’. In a dialogue, I utilize African Spiritual and Eastern Spiritual Traditions to provide a contrasting understanding of the mind/soul and body, but specifically how the mind/soul relates to the non-physical and the body relates to the physical. To emphasize these further, I will select certain aspects from Buddhism; for instance the Buddhist notions of karma and the four noble truths: (the truth about suffering, source of suffering, cessation of suffering and the path to the cessation of suffering). As an African in the Diaspora, my exposure to the Buddhist traditions has been an impetus for me to initiate this work, which will progressively lead me to a better understanding of my own African spirituality. Ultimately, the goal of this work is to shed greater light on African spirituality in general.

Biblical Curses and the Atlantic African Diaspora

Gnimbin A. Ouattara

History and International Studies, Brenau University

In 1829, an African-American named David Walker wrote an appeal to the colored citizens of the world in which he refuted the Biblical Curse of Cain cited by slaveholders to justify their enslavement of Blacks. But as he denounced this erroneous interpretation of the Bible that cost millions of lives to Africans and forcefully created the Atlantic African Diaspora to which he belonged, other African-Americans embraced a new Biblical Curse as their reason to enlist as missionaries to Africa: the Curse of Ham. The argument was that at the outset of the Atlantic world in the fifteenth century, Europeans enslaved Africans as the descendants of Ham; now it was time for America, after 400 years of slavery, to redeem itself by civilizing the descendants of Ham in Africa. This new policy was seen in white missionary circles as a sort of reparation to Africa, and African-Americans who accepted this line of thought were recruited as missionary civilizers to Africa. For the 2014 Africa Conference at the University of Texas at Austin, this paper investigates the place of Biblical curses in the violent and peaceful movements of the African Diaspora in the Atlantic, from the first Portuguese expeditions to Africa in the early fifteenth century to the first missions of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in the early nineteenth century.

The Future of Terrorism: Regional Trends, New Development, Likely Scenarios and Worst Cases in Diaspora

Ehiyamen Mediayanose Osezua

Department of Political Sciences, Osun State University, Nigeria

Terrorism has become a common day occurrence in today’s present world. Incidences of terrorist acts, both past and present are constantly in the news both at the national and global levels. Recently, the phenomenon of terrorism has begun to receive increased academic interrogations. Over the past decades, the percussive notion has grown among scholars in the trajectory terrorist activities. Terrorism is reputedly distinguished from the old by a new structure, a new kind of personnel, a new attitude toward violence. The new terrorism has a structure of network, facilitated by information technology. New personnel, who sometimes are amateur, who often come together in ad hoc or transitory groupings; new attitude and increased willingness to cause mass casualties, perhaps by using chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological (CBNR) weapons, characterized the new order from the old. Taken together, network organization and amateur participation suggest that the “new terrorist” no longer need state sponsorship as much as their predecessors did. In the light of the above, this paper therefore examines the features of terrorism (both old and new), with respect to the regional occurrences, new development in terrorist acts, and likely scenarios of terrorism. The work engages a theoretical analysis to the phenomenon of terrorism and assesses changes in contemporary activities of terrorists both at the global and national levels.  

Paradoxes and Contradictions between African Diasporas and Resident Africans in the Search for an Identity:  A Nigerian Outlook.

Segun Osinibi

Department of Private Law, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria

A Yoruba proverb employed to illustrate one of the paradoxes of human existence literally translates to mean “the headless man possesses a hat but is unable to wear the hat, being headless, while the man with a head lacks a hat to cover his head”. This is pertinent to the prevalent situation where African Diasporas strive to identify with and sustain their cultural heritage in foreign lands through afrocentrism while also exploring avenues of contributing to the development and growth of Africa through initiatives such as Africa Diaspora Program (ADP). This runs contrary to a feeling of discontent and despondence pervading the African continent, especially Nigeria, due to abysmal governance, insecurity and extreme socio-economic privations. Consequently, many Nigerians in the homeland adopt desperate and often times, fatal measures to join the Diaspora in the search for a better life. The national psyche is conditioned to accept foreign culture, infrastructure and imported products as being vastly superior to everything in the homeland thus entrenching a sentiment of inferiority complex and perpetuating the brain-drain syndrome to the detriment of the homeland Africa. Thus, a larger proportion of educated Nigerian youth have a better grasp of English language than the local dialect. This paper examines the steps which must be taken to restore African pride and identity; stem the desperation to flee Africa and complement the efforts of African Diasporas to develop Africa.

Comparative Analysis of African Traditional Economic Systems and Micro-Financing

Iheanyi   N. Osondu

Fort Valley State University, Georgia

Microfinance has been variously described as financial services to low-income individuals who may not have access to conventional banking. This typically involves making loans to low income persons   with low interest rates.  However, one major type of African traditional economic system that is variously known as isusu, esusu  utu, adashi or kitimo is the rotatory credit association or union among many traditional African families that allow both high and low income participants to save  money for various purposes such small scale business or even housing.  These and other variants with different names are common in African traditional societies.  In this paper they shall collectively be referred to as isusu. One similarity between the African traditional economic systems and micro financing is that both are commonly used by those who do not have access to conventional finance institutions. However both differ in that isusu groups are known to have developed means of linkage with conventional institutions while maintaining their traditional status. Participants do not pay interest rates for loans (contributions) they receive from their group(s) or that such “loans” are too small. This is what sharply differentiates them from microfinance institutions that are based on western economic principles. Moreover, microfinance is also the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. While some studies indicate that microfinance can play a role in the battle against poverty, it is also recognized that is not always the appropriate method, and that it should never be seen as the only tool for ending poverty. Some studies have shown that traditional economic systems have been used to provide large sums of money that enabled participants to lift themselves out of poverty. This paper compares the advantages and disadvantages of both systems and suggests ways  that will allow the low income to have access to  lump sums of money that  help lift them out of poverty if well managed.

Cultural Expressions in the Christian Yoruba Native Airs of Gilbert Popoola Dopemu

Tolulope Olusola Owoaje

Department of Music, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Yoruba Native Air (YNA) tradition in Christian liturgy evolved as a result of the conflict which arose between European and Yoruba church music traditions at the inception of Christianity in Yorubaland. This paper showcases the activities and the involvement of Gilbert Popoola Dopemu (1921- ) in the evolution and development of YNA as a distinctive idiom of Yoruba church music. Dopemu is one of the distinguished first generation YNA composers who turned out a sizeable number of published compositions.  This paper employed the theory of interculturalism in the study of the background and analysis of the YNA tradition. The activism and advocacy of Popoola Dopemu as an early YNA composer was a manifestation of the cultural nationalism characteristic of the late 19th /early 20th centuries.  He produced works which satisfied the musical, liturgical and spiritual needs of Yoruba Christians of that period.  He was largely self-taught under the influence of missionaries, indigenous organists and choirmasters. In his itinerancy, he composed, taught and performed across several Yoruba congregations. He believed, practised and advocated part singing with harmonium organ with traditional Yoruba drum accompaniment.  Having worked within an intercultural music tradition, Dopemu contributed to the successful resolution of the conflict that arose between European and Yoruba music traditions at the inception of Christianity in Yorubaland.


Preparing a People: The Church and the Making of a New African Diaspora in Middle Tennessee

Adebayo Oyebade

Professor of History, Tennessee State University

In the last decades of the 20th century, the United States began to witness an upsurge in African immigration. Reflecting this increase is an explosion in the number of African immigrant churches in urban America. Recent immigrants from Nigeria, Sudan, Ghana, Kenya, and Liberia, in particular, have established indigenous churches to serve their respective communities. The African church has, indeed, emerged as an important institution in the making to a new African Diaspora in America.  

Initially, African immigrant churches were predominantly found in major urban centers with large African-born population such as New York, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington metropolitan area. However, a more recent trend is the increasing appearance of African churches in mid-size, and even smaller American cities. Taking the Middle Tennessee region as a case study, this presentation will examine the intersection of African immigration and the indigenous African church in the construction of a fast emerging new African Diaspora in America. It will focus on the African immigrant communities and their churches in Middle Tennessee cities such as Nashville, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, and Smyrna.

Skill-Drain or Skill-Gains: Diaspora Intervention, Sports Development and Wealth Redistribution in Nigeria

Oyetunde Samson Oyebode

Sports Unit, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Nigeria

The literature on migration, especially international migration, is saturated with issues of brain drain and diaspora remittances and their places in Africa’s development. While the World Bank and most central banks in Africa states have focused on remittance and its role in the development process, the academic communities across Africa have however asserted that the loss of highly trained professionals to global north is a (brain) drain on development and has therefore denied Africa the benefits of its investment on this highly trained professionals. While evidence abound in the literature buttressing these two diametrically opposed views, little or no attention is paid to the influence of international migration on the small group of talented, most of whom may not be as educated as doctors, nurses, professors, etc., but could be adequately regarded as professionals. As this study shows, professional sports men and women from different parts of Africa are trooping to Europe, countries in North America and the Middle East to market their skills in (male and female) soccer, athletes, and other games and sports. While it must be conceded that the cumulative reports on remittance may have incorporated their remittance-contribution, not much is known in the literature about processes and patterns of international migration by this small group of professionals. In addition, their contribution to development is grossly under-represented in the literature. It is in the bid to fill these gaps that this paper, using Nigeria sports men and women in Europe and the Gulf States as representative examples, examines the processes and patterns of international migration by sports men and women. In partnership with banks, GSM service providers, and other corporate organizations, many migrant sports men and women have orchestrated programs and projects aimed at ‘harvesting’ local talents across the country and ‘feeding’ such new recruits into the international migrant labor networks in the US, Europe, the Gulf States and the Middle East. These are usually catch-them-young programs, which aimed at recognizing, developing, and fixing local talents into international sports clubs where these young men and women can best realized their full potentials. Popular examples include the Long Term Development of Athletic Performance and Afro-centric Talent hunt, Star Search, Goal project, Gold rush, Ultimate Search etc. Despite all these, local clubs are set-up in their different states by diaspora sports men and women where new talents are daily recruited and shipped abroad. While these new recruits are potential contributors to remittance network, the programs and projects serve as means through which sports men and women in the diaspora are contributing to employment generation in Nigeria.

Using data set obtained from interviews with diaspora sports men and women as well as youths in three states in Nigeria – Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states as well as newspaper reports and ethnographic data; this paper traces the provenance of the development, the various factors underlying it, as well as the various ways through which Nigerian sports men and women have contributed and are still contributing to national development both of their home countries and the destination countries. The paper concludes by asserting that Nigeria’s national teams’ newly-found superb athletic performance, especially at the African Cup of Nation in South Africa, owes much to the contributions of diaspora sports men and women.

Deskilling, Resilience and International Migration among Nigerians in US Cities

Bukola Adeyemi Oyeniyi

Department of History, Missouri State University

In most literature, deskilling is discussed as a phenomenon essentially tied to international migration, with local legislation relating to recognition of ‘off-shore’ certification and skills as the worst culprit. This study, which used the experiences of 40 skilled international migrants from Nigeria to the United States, examines incidences of underemployment, downward occupational mobility, degrading and erosion of skills in US’ urban centers. The data set used for the study was obtained from Nigerian communities in two US cities – Houston and New York. In addition, the study also examines coping mechanisms, otherwise known as resilience, adopted by these skilled international migrants in coping with deskilling. As the study finds, deskilling, broadly understood as a situation whereby migrant workers occupy jobs that are not commensurate with their qualifications and experience, occurs due to factors such as non-

recognition of professional qualifications of migrant workers, such as their diplomas, which

determines whether the knowledge and professional skills of immigrants are appropriate to

undertake a particular profession in the destination areas. As studies have shown, this situation,

which applies to both regulated and unregulated professions, is a daily experience of immigrants

in the global north. Among other things, it not only confined immigrants to occupations far lower

than their qualifications, but it is also a disservice to both places of origin and destination.

People’s Diplomacy: Transatlantic Organizing during Portuguese African Decolonization

R. Joseph Parrott

Yale University Fellow

Black American solidarity with Africa has become a popular historical topic. Unfortunately, most scholars confine their observations to short-lived 1950s activism while simultaneously portraying Africans superficially or as depersonalized symbols. In reality, Pan-African activism did not disappear but receded to the less visible popular stratum where it actually grew in strength and breadth. African nationalists actively sought support, collaborating with black Americans to create a grassroots movement. Focusing on the pivotal states of Portuguese Africa, my paper will demonstrate how this transnational network united disparate elements of the black community and reinvigorated an interest in self-determination struggles in southern Africa. This paper will focus specifically on the activities and alliances of the socialist nationalist of Guinea Bissau and Mozambique. Together, these parties and their leaders rallied black Americans to action in the 1960s and 1970s. Through personal diplomacy and their ideological writings, the nationalists convinced many young blacks to become proxy diplomats, spreading information on the cause of self-determination and organizing mass rallies in support of continental independence. As knowledge of the independence groups’ universal revolutionary models spread, many African Americans used them to inform local forms of communal self-assertion concerning education, political organizing, and economic reform. By using the heretofore untapped resources of the WGBH program Say Brother, extensive interviews with activists, and documents from nearly a dozen archives, I will show how the final stages of decolonization became a global struggle for racial and economic equality that animated African peoples on both sides of the Atlantic.

Revisiting (Neo)-Colonial Narratives: A Critical Examination of Ethnicity and Gender in the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970)

Golaleh Pashmforoosh

Department of History, University of Manitoba

Contemporary political discourses as well as historiographies of sub-Saharan Africa have been beset by racist colonial scholarship, nationalist as well as other dominant paradigms. The history of the Nigerian Civil War (or the Biafran War) of 1967-1970 has been written with inter-ethnic conflict as the main causal factor. This study examines the body of historiographical literature on the Biafran War with the argument that it is not enough to simply identify the role of colonial divide-and-rule tactic in the Biafran War to destabilize the myth of ethnic-bloodletting as an “African” phenomenon. The paper finds that numerous works on the topic do not interrogate how Nigerians mediated or understood the role of ethnicity in the conflict and that the inter-ethnic (or communalist) thesis is left intact by portraying Nigerians as merely reactive and receptive to the legacy of British colonialism, rather than as exercising agency or any judgment towards such policies. Most studies also do not discuss the roles and experiences of women in the War. Destabilizing the colonial historical narrative of Nigeria (whereby the people absorb the ideologies of colonialism and function on that basis) can be achieved by examining how those ideologies and their attendant political and social notions were refracted through African experiences, particularly Igbo women’s experiences. Women’s narratives play a key role in discussing ethnicity in the conflict because of the nuanced understanding they bring to existing ethnic and nationalist narratives. The paper attempts to fill in the existing gap in scholarship on the topic and thus bring a new dimension to the historiography.

Diaspora Remittances and the Development of the Global South

Dahida Deewua Philip, Department of Public Administration, University of Abuja, Nigeria

Martin Collins Uadiale, Department of History and International Studies, Nigerian Defence Academy

This paper seeks to examine the role of Diaspora remittances in the development of the global south. The paper contends that Diaspora remittances are altering the very development landscape of the global south. The paper further argues that Diaspora remittances are transforming the various trajectories of the global south in terms of development. Indeed, their contributions to make the development processes in the countries of the global south are phenomenal and generally acknowledged; they have remained none the less contentious as they are debatable. However, there are no questions that remittance income reaches social sectors than official development assistance. The paper shall examine both the thick, as well as the thin of the effects of Diaspora remittances with a view to strike a balance in making robust recommendations.

Re-Membering Samson OtherWise: Resistance, Revolution, and Relationality within The Carnivalesque-Creolized Chronotope of Judges 13-16

A. Paige Rawson

Biblical Studies, Drew University

What designates scholarship as distinctively African/a? What defines diasporic (biblical) hermeneutics? And is it possible for a queer Anglo-wo/man, such as myself, to employ a diasporic Africana hermeneutic? In this essay I attempt to engage and embody these questions through the interpretation of a popular folktale in the Hebrew Bible with sacred significance for the Rastafari movement: the story of Samson and the Philistines. Within the history of its reception the character Samson has become a cultural icon of sorts; the biblical tragicomic (anti)hero of excessive strength, unbridled passions, insatiable appetites, and capricious (not to mention violent) outbursts is a figure of considerable ambivalence whose personhood is portrayed always as and/or in relation to an Other. And Samson’s effective physical prowess and affective mortal weakness have left his readers and audience, much like Delilah and the Philistines, bewildered and frustrated in their attempts to “pin him down” and/or contain him. While biblical scholars such as Susan Niditch, Carole Fontaine and Colleen Camp, as well as Edith Davidson have appealed to Samson’s story as folktale, no scholar to date has actually considered how Samson has been (re)appropriated as folktale within communities whose social structures are characterized by orality within contexts of imperial domination in order to speculate about its significance and function within its so-called or(igin)al context(s). Ultimately, then, engaging the work of Glissant, Bakhtin, Halberstam, Derrida, and Ahmed, I endeavor a (postcolonial-queer-affective) reading of Samson, speculating about the potentiality of his meaning and signification for the post-exilic Persian community of Yehud qua the Rastafari movement in a (poststructuralist) Rastafari re-membering of Samson, where the events of his life and his death as well as his relationship(s) to and with the Philistines have radical revolutionary implications for all of life lived (in the) OtherWise.

Race, Gender, and Migration in the Revolutionary Caribbean

Michele Reid-Vazquez

Department of Africana Studies, University of Pittsburgh

This paper examines the intersections of race, gender, and politics in the Caribbean during the age of revolution (1776-1825). As waves of geopolitical struggle engulfed the Atlantic World, the Caribbean absorbed refugees, exiles, loyalists and rebels, both slaves and free individuals of African descent. Bound by their legal, racial, and economic circumstances, yet determined to stabilize, protect, and transform their lives, free people of color and slaves stood at an ideological and political crossroads. By investigating and analyzing the historical context of women’s actions, my study highlights the nuanced and complex ways in which gender informed how individuals of African descent linked emigration, resistance, and equality during the revolutionary era.

Diaspora, Dispossession, and New Collectivities in Texas’ Freedom Colonies

Andrea R. Roberts

School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin

In the decades following the Civil War, ex-slaves founded more than 400 sovereign towns or “Freedom Colonies” across East and Central Texas. Land ownership in Freedom Colonies represented the first opportunity for formerly enslaved Texans to produce and accumulate intergenerational social capital and wealth. Strong social networks and institutions anchored these now invisible, forgotten, or destroyed settlements. These networks also created modes of exchange with similarly situated settlements, arguably as a nation within a nation. Currently, Freedom Colony residents and descendants are losing the remnants of that social capital and land to higher taxation, urbanization, poor estate planning, and frequently legal land tenure systems. While, urban planning and development scholars attribute inequity in rural areas to regional sprawl and poor transportation planning, these modes of inquiry fail to encompass the unique historical circumstances and reparative remedies required for Freedom Colonies.  In this paper, I will theorize the Freedom Colonies as an African Diaspora, composed of rhizomatic settlements that are unique yet interrelated sites of “Black” identity formation and resistance. This paper explores the relevance of Freedom Colonies as sites of new political projects where imagined and real connections to black roots and routes may inform organizing efforts around instances of land dispossession, the prevalence of “dead” heir property, cultural erasure, and materializing collectivities that challenge while operating within capitalism. The author posits that Freedom Colonies represent a conceptualization of African Diaspora defined by Black agency and self-making in the service of social and political empowerment in increasingly intangible geographies.

Systems of Violence: Inequalities and Diasporic Identities in the North of Ecuador

Melana Roberts

Department of Development Studies, York University, Canada

Despite the recent recognition of Afro-descendant collective land and anti-discrimination rights, achieved through the politicization of collective cultural identity, extreme inequality between rural Afro-Ecuadorians and the mestizo-blanco population continues to pervade. Existing literature has concentrated the analysis on racial discrimination, the state-citizen relationship, and the cooptation strategies through which Afro-Ecuadorian organizations have been incorporated into the state to explain the ongoing reproduction of inequality. To address this oversight, this study critically examines how the intersecting processes of rural development in Afro-Ecuadorian territories work to shape Black identities and the terms under which rights are realized along the Pacific Coast. Drawing on extensive fieldwork with African diaspora populations, I will argue that in the case of Ecuador the links between extractive industry and narcotics-trafficking, in addition to racial discrimination and corporatist state inclusion, work in dynamic and interconnected ways to produce a system of violence, which structures and constrains the realization of autonomous and sustainable development. I contend that systems of violence weaken Afro-Ecuadorian collective rights and claims to full citizenship. These systems create different layers of displacement through which collective diasporic identities, powers, and places are marginalized, reinforcing social, political and cultural inequalities. Through the examination of systems of violence we are better able to understand the forces that work to shape diasporic experience, to explain the diaspora’s role and importance in modern political processes evolving in rural territories today.

Slavery and Its Apparatuses: Machado de Assis’s “Pai contra mãe”

Fernando de Sousa Rocha

Middlebury College

This paper analyzes Machado de Assis’s short story “Pai contra mãe” [Father Against Mother], which is set in mid 19th century, when slavery was the major source of labor in Brazil. Although Machado de Assis himself was a mulatto, his writings seldom delve into the experiences and lives of Afro-Brazilians. One exception is the story “Pai contra mãe,” which depicts, to my mind, a Black microcommunity that is defined by slavery, as a structuring institution. Assis’s story begins with the assertion that, with slavery, there came occupations and apparatuses that were specific to it, such as slave catching, the protagonist’s occupation, and masks and iron collars, which might have been used on Arminda, the slave he catches. What interests me, in this paper, is to examine the connection between “ofícios e aparelhos” [occupations and apparatuses], which the author proposes in the opening sentence and reinforces once he states that he mentions certain apparatuses only because they are tied to a certain profession, that of the slave-catcher. It is, I would argue, such a connection that more exactly defines the microcommunity Assis portrays, inasmuch as it structures the relationships between persons within it. The iron mask, in this sense, pertains not only to slaves, but also to free (or freed) Blacks. Ultimately, the slave-catcher is caught in the occupation that, to a certain degree, occupies him, and the Black microcommunity must wrestle with the ambivalent, fluid antinomy that the title of the story encapsulates.

Being and Belonging: The African Diaspora and Representation in the Smithsonian

Fath Davis Ruffins

Smithsonian National Museum of American History


When it was founded fifty years ago, the National Museum of American History (hereafter NMAH) was nearly silent about African American history and culture. Today, a portion of the Woolworth counter from the 1960 Greensboro sit-in which sparked the formation of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is proudly exhibited on its second floor and has an exciting, inviting, award-winning public theater piece, ”Sitting in for Justice” that is performed twice a day. I have previously written about how the Smithsonian as a whole institution came to include African diaspora histories.  This presentation explores how NMAH’s representations of people of African descent have changed over the last 30 years. During that time, it hosted the Smithsonian’s Program in Black American Culture founded by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon; the groundbreaking exhibition, “Field to Factory,” on the Great migration curated by Dr. Spencer Crew. Crew later became NMAH’s first and to date only, African American director; and a number of other exhibits and events concerning African American life and culture.  My particular focus will be on NMAH’s challenge of including African diasporas along with those of other peoples in a more diverse museum.  This task has been vastly complicated by the emergence of the National Museum of African American History and Culture which is solely devoted to the large and complex stories of the African diasporic experience. My brief power point presentation will analyze this recent history of NMAH in the context of planning a more inclusive, more authentic, more integrated exhibition about the development of American social and cultural identities, where African diasporas are central to the story.

Redefining the African Diaspora to Include the Old: Its Effects and Implications

Mustapha Sadiq

Garden City University, Ghana

The old African diaspora has played and continues to play a pivotal role in the development process of the African continent. This development has not occurred in the vacuum. Rather, the conceptualization of the diaspora to include not only the new diaspora which refers to recent migrants but also the old diaspora who identifies themselves as Africans but not themselves citizens should be seen as a precursor to this development. In this research work, I will attempt to focus on the effects that the the African diaspora especially the old diaspora who believe have a common ancestry with Africans has on the social, political and economic lives of Africans. The fact that people living outside Africa identify themselves with Africans and that in the process invariably affecting their actions and inactions cannot be gainsaid. This identification is janus-faced. In one sense, it affects the way the diaspora conducts business related to their origin. In the other sense, it also finds expressions in the way Africans behave themselves. In the Congress of United States of America for instance there is a movement that champions the interests of Africans and this is as a result of the fact that they identify themselves with Africans as common people. The election of Barack Obama as president of the USA in 2008 was much celebrated not only by most black people in the USA but also by most Africans especially the people of Kenya to the extent that the next day after his election as president was declared a public holiday. Against this background, this research piece focuses on the old diaspora as the key variable shaping some behaviors of Africans themselves.

Crossing Boundaries and the Creation of African Consciousness: The Continental Influence of James Aggrey

Ethan R. Sanders

Department of History, University of Cambridge

James Aggrey had a greater direct impact on a wider geographic range of African political thinkers than any other individual in the Anglo-speaking African world in the 1920s—including Garvey and DuBois. Even Nkrumah remarked that Aggrey was the most remarkable man he ever met. And yet, this figure has been little studied because he was deemed a “colonial stooge” by a generation of scholars and relegated to the dustbin of forgotten figures. Despite his relationship with a number of colonial governments, Aggrey, born in the Gold Coast and educated in America, crossed numerous boundaries during his travels to nineteen African countries in the 1920s. During these tours he helped introduce an “African” consciousness to thousands of Africans from across the social, religious, ethnic and territorial spectrum. This paper will examine the ideology of Aggrey by looking particularly at his influence on an early pan-African organization in East Africa in the 1930s and 1940s. By showing how Aggrey’s ideas drew from his experiences in the Gold Coast as well as America, and were then transported to various parts of the African continent, this paper will help resituate Aggrey and Ghanaian diasporic history into a global intellectual context.

Yoruba Speakers in the West African Francophone Diaspora

A. Sanni-Suleiman

Department of French, University of Ilorin

Diaspora is a large movement of people from their home countries to other countries in the world. The Yoruba indigenes in Nigeria, in their quest for greener pastures have travelled wide to spread all over the world, engaging themselves in one activity or the other. This paper examines the challenges in the sustainability of the Yoruba cultural heritage in the Diaspora and the influence of the language of the immediate community (LIC). This study is carried out from the perspective of Schuman’s Acculturation theory.

Nigeria, the Long-Armed Woman: Gender as Diasporic Anxiety in Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl

Kim Sasser

Department of English, Wheaton College

Nigerian-British Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl (2005), a novel published to critical acclaim when the author was not yet out of her teens, is steeped in suspense due to the malevolent TillyTilly, a character who repeatedly “gets” other characters, to use her terminology, and whose ontological status remains ambiguous throughout the narrative. On one hand, readers might understand her to be a symptom of child protagonist Jessamy’s mental illness, a dangerous alter ego; this is the diagnosis of Jessamy’s British psychiatrist. On the other hand, TillyTilly may be the haunting spirit of Jessamy’s twin who died at birth, a fictional rendering of a Yoruba belief and the interpretation of Jessamy’s traditional Nigerian grandfather. Neither possibility is ever given the final word so that TillyTilly remains in a state of multiple possibilities. Where both interpretations merge, however, is around the similar threat both pose to Jessamy’s subjectivity. TillyTilly desires to supernaturally inhabit Jessamy’s body, and thus displace Jessamy into a spiritual limbo akin to a bush of the mind. Jessamy and TillyTilly’s relationship is, besides terrifying, richly evocative in terms of the narrative’s commentary on the plight of identity for a diasporic, mixed-race child, though, due to TillyTilly’s ambiguity, critics have interpreted these implications in diametrically opposed ways, as either hopeful or despairing. Critics compare, however, in their tendency to analyze the narrative through the (appropriately) twin lenses of race and place, so that one critic, for example, discerningly identifies TillyTilly’s resonance as an ethnic shadow haunting the mixed-race daughter of the diaspora. While analyses of race and place yield rewarding insights, I want to argue that any treatment of Icarus Girl is lacking to the extent that it ignores the narrative’s treatment of gender. Along with ethnic exclusivism, TillyTilly threatens Jessamy’s subjectivity because of the way she represents a gender hierarchy within the Nigerian national imaginary, one in which men are subjects and actors so that women have the same wrested from them. Elleke Boehmer has expounded upon the gendered family iconography that postcolonial nations, namely African nations and India, inherited from their colonial predecessors. Icarus Girl bears the marks of this family drama. One prominent example is the narrative’s affiliation of the Nigerian nation with a maternal figure. In her first flight to Nigeria, Jessamy has an acute psychological crisis or “fit,” as it is referred to in the narrative, because she envisions the Nigerian landscape as a pair of long arms trying to pull her towards it and suffocate her. Because later in the narrative, TillyTilly is repeatedly affiliated with a long-armed ibeji spirit, a maternal figure, readers should draw connections between the Nigerian landscape, TillyTilly’s haunting, and the mother figure. Within history, Boehmer has explained, the nation has often been attributed a female gender; though seemingly elevating the woman’s status, this correlation, in practice, relegates women to a static, atemporal, and domestic space. She is outside of time and, importantly, the public sphere. The latter is a space that male agents inhabit as they work on behalf of the motherland. Reading TillyTilly as a representation of the engendered postcolonial nation, TillyTilly’s haunting of Jessamy, the threat she poses to Jessamy’s subjectivity through a displacement of her, reflects Jessamy’s belief (or recognition?) that, because she is a woman, to become Nigerian is tantamount to losing herself, to being displaced.


Yearning for Whiteness: Racial Identification Among the Coloureds of Antigua, 1660s – 1860s

Nsaka Sesepkekiu

Independent Scholar, Antigua and Barbuda, West Indies.

Antigua’s slave-era laws and demographic composition created a unique group of free coloured who one scholar described as a “peculiar” group. Unlike the coloured groups in other BWI territories who accepted a middling position, Antigua’s coloured population attempted to become legally and phenotypically white through marriage, racial mixing and cosmetic transformation where possible. They completely rejected the idea of an African ancestry and any common link between themselves and the black slaves on the island. When emancipation came to the region, a “coloured community” was formed through the establishment and development of organisations with the declared aim of cementing their position as whites within Antiguan society. The paper identifies a number of members of this group of aspiring coloureds who sought to transform their identity from freed people to that of free people within the political, economic and social context of Antiguan slave society. The paper will examine the operation of laws, the identity imposed by whites and blacks on the mix-race population and how many coloureds sought to create a new identity. The paper then examines the post-emancipation period and how the removal of disabling legislation granted the aspiring coloureds the opportunity to establish themselves as socially and phenotypically white by adopting policies of exclusion, developing new institutions and striving for political and economic power within the colony. The paper represents an important addition to the history of the African Diaspora as it demonstrates how identity was shaped by the circumstances of slavery and the extent to which this group attempted to and successfully divorced themselves from their historical and genetic link to the Africa and the other African descended people in the colony and region.

Knowledge of Value as Imperative to Yoruba Cultural Preservation and Propagation

O.O Shada, Federal College of Education (Special), Nigeria

Dispersion of people throughout the world, mainly for economic reasons, has continued to be a major source of the diaspora. This mass movement has not left behind the Yoruba, a major tribe in Nigeria. Scholars generally attested to the world becoming globalized through interactions, resulting in interdependence at various levels. Such interdependence will only be meaningful however, if it is contributory, especially in the area of culture, not only for enhancing the benefits of diversity but also for its various economic and developmental values. It is in view of this that this study focuses on the Yoruba youths in senior secondary school and institutions of higher learning, who are likely to be major targets of migration, to find out what knowledge they have of Yoruba culture and its values, as prerequisite of its preservation and propagation.

The study reveals that the youths have little knowledge of the Yoruba culture and its various values. Many of them make more efforts at learning the western culture through films and novels at the expense of Yoruba culture. This gives the erroneous impression that Yoruba culture is inferior and limited in coverage. It also portends a gloomy future for the Yoruba culture and race as well as its veritable contributions to the world.

It is suggested among others that concerted effort be made at injecting the essence of Yoruba culture into the youths by employing interdisciplinary approach to cultural studies through carrier courses in schools and institutions of learning.


Transnational Migration and Ecological and Economic Transformation in Eastern Africa: The Case of the Maragoli Diaspora in Kigumba Settlement Scheme, Uganda.

Martin S. Shanguhyia

Department of History, Syracuse University

Focus on transnational migration within Africa in the colonial and postcolonial periods has mainly been directed at themes such as labor, citizenship, and ethnic identities. Yet developments in agriculture and ecological changes have been essential features for communities that have relocated to new frontiers at the inter-territorial level. This paper seeks to examine the demographic and ecological factors that led to the migration of a section of the Maragoli community from western Kenya into the Kigumba Settlement Scheme in Bunyoro, Uganda, in the late 1950s. Most important, the paper attempts to analyze the ecological and economic transformation that this diaspora community effected in Kigumba. The paper contributes towards our understanding of the dynamics of emergence of diaspora communities in colonial Africa. More specifically, it seeks to demonstrate how migrant communities have helped to transform areas initially considered hostile to human habitation and economic development into “healthy” environments and agriculturally productive regions.

Back to Africa: Roy Campbell’s Voorslag (1926) and its Political Protest against Racial Inequality in the Union of South Africa

Michael Sharp

English and Caribbean Studies, Universidad de Puerto Rico

Born in Durban in 1901, the South African poet Roy Campbell left home for Oxford University in 1918. After seven years in Europe, Campbell returned to South Africa to join forces with Laurens van der Post whose “sense of common humanity” had been shaken by racial prejudice, and William Plomer, the controversial author of Turbott Wolfe (1925) – a novel of inter-racial love - to launch Voorslag (“Whip-lash”). The idea behind the journal was to “sting with satire the mental hindquarters of the bovine citizenry of the Union” and to provide a platform for writers who wrote either in Afrikaans or English.  While the first volume printed some of Campbell’s best poems, it was Plomer who caused a furor by writing provocatively about racial intolerance and discrimination. My paper will look at the three issues of Voorslag, and, taking into consideration the uproar it caused in the European enclaves, I will also look briefly at The Waysgooze (1928) which Campbell wrote in disgust over the journal’s enforced closure. In doing so, I will suggest that Voorslag anticipated Drum, the popular black magazine, first published in the 1950’s, which was able, in Anthony Sampson’s words, “to penetrate behind the high wall of apartheid.”

Globalization in the Making: the Role of Afro-Arabic Literary Writings in the Medieval Period

Adam Adebayo Sirajudeen, Kogi State University, Nigeria

Aliy Abdulwahid Adebisi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

By implication globalization is all about economy. It has been observed that the primary aim of the medieval discoveries as well as the explorations in Africa documented by the Medieval explorers in the African Subcontinent were no more than economic gains. It is interesting to note that there were translations of some Arabic sources by Anglo German Explorers in order to obtain information that will assist in commercial purpose for their various governments. Works of Heinrich Barth, Palmer, as well as Denham among others are examples of note here. These writings are mostly primarily meant for commercial purposes, which are also index of globalization in the making. This paper examines the traces and elements of contemporary globalization process in these discoveries, explorations, and documentations and concludes that the root of globalization, whose hallmark is economic and commercial activities especially by the colonialist, could be dated back to the medieval period when German and British Explorers' activities in Africa subcontinent in the said period was no more than globalization process in the making. It indicates the involvement of Africa and Africans in the process of globalization phenomenon from the time immemorial.

From Juan to Juan: The Triumph of Poet and Subject in Juan Latino's Austrias Carmen

Chantell Smith

University of Georgia

The Battle of Lepanto (1571), a Mediterranean maritime war which became a defining testament to European solidarity in the Early Modern Age, appeared as a theme par excellence in epic poetry of the era.  Once such poem is the Austrias Carmen, the extraordinary masterpiece of Juan Latino, the African former slave turned Latin professor who lived in sixteenth-century Granada, Spain, also known as the first black poet to write in a Western language.  Though he was referenced by prolific Iberian writers such as Miguel de Cervantes and Lope de Vega, he remains an understudied figure. Though the Austrias Carmen is a poem whose purported purpose is to glorify the conquerors, there are certain instances where Latino presents the perspectives of the vanquished.  At times, he paints the enemies, the Turks, in a sympathetic light, a detail which may allude to the fact that the hero of the poem itself, Juan of Austria, is also a marginalized figure considering his status as the illegitimate son of Carlos V.  The aim of this paper is to explore how certain instances in the poem where Latino sympathizes with the enemy—specifically the representations of the Turkish commander Ali Pasha, his sons, and a galley slave—serve as a critique of Empire, re-signifying the hegemonic rhetoric typical in epic poetry. Beneath the triumph of the Holy League against the Ottoman Empire, there is the story of another triumph, the legitimization of the marginalized—the vanquished, the slave, the illegitimate son, even the poet Juan Latino himself.

The Concept of “The Middle Passage” in West Indian Scholarship: A Study of the Works of Edward Brathwaite and Derek Walcott

Usen Smith

Department of Political Science, Federal University, Nigeria

Africans were forcefully uprooted and taken out of African soil to where they did not belong, where they were to toil and sweat for many years. These journeys in ships to America and the West Indies across Atlantic Ocean were triangular and psychologically devastating, culminating in amnesia that afflicted the victims. The journey of these “Black Cargoes” was aptly conceptualized as “The Middle Passage”. This paper, therefore, aims at bringing out the effect of the concept on the psychology of the people as portrayed in Caribbean works. We shall examine the concept to capture the aftermath of it on the people of the Caribbean and, in fact, blacks in other places outside Africa. For example, problem of history, lack of culture, spiritual anchorage, economic degradation, social injustice, self-definition and more. The paper will compare the works of Derek Walcott and Edward Brathwaite and draw a conclusion.

Trauma and Reconciliation: Mediating Diaspora Identities and Relations in New African Cinema Spaces

Peyi Soyinka-Airewele

Politics Department, Ithaca College

In the last decade, Africans have increasingly turned to mediated landscapes of consumer entertainment culture to refashion a modern ethno-cultural identity. Simultaneously, these emergent media spaces have come to serve as a contested platform for intensified efforts to frame, reconstitute and signify racialized pan-African identities defined through the continuing encounters of old and new African Diasporas. Burgeoning cinemascapes have captured the popular social imaginary in numerous African countries and in African Diasporas across Europe, North America and in the Caribbean. Therefore, I focus on the ways in which the highly influential Nigerian-Ghanaian film industry struggles to negotiate the boundaries of complex pan-African, postcolonial and Diasporan traumas, identities and relationships. In particular, the paper analyzes the construction and representation of diverse Diasporan encounters in cinema productions that engage the unresolved uneasy intersections of memory, culture, place, dislocation and belonging in our multicentric ‘African’ universe.

The Convergence of Old and New Diasporas: Dilemmas and Visions of an Emerging Generation

Peyi Soyinka-Airewele, Politics Department, Ithaca College

Candace King, Politics Department, Ithaca College

As African and ‘black’ identities continue to converge in North America from the Caribbean, Europe, and the African continent; a younger generation spawned of that complex kiln grapples with its own distinctive questions regarding identity and place. The literature has long exposed the tensions in the journey of becoming ‘black’ or ‘African’; including the ways in which the old Diaspora constructed various imaginaries of the homeland while asserting their rights and self-worth within their forced displacement from that homeland. Similarly, the new Diaspora has struggled to fashion its membership of an alien environment while maintaining rooted claims and connections with the homeland. Our focus here is on the current tensions, discourses and strategies of an emerging younger generation of new Diasporans that seeks to define its identities and realities in the absence of overarching shared philosophies or mobilizations for ‘civil rights’, nationalist liberation struggles or pan-Africanist visions. The paper explores the racialized reconstruction of African and ‘black’ identities and relations for a generation that feels more beset by the turbulences of globalization, national and ethnocultural identity, social marginalization and the mottled legacies of old-new Diaspora relations, than by the continuing traumas of slavery and colonialism.

A Diasporic Imagining of Homeland on the African Continent

Jessica Stephenson

School of Art and Design, Kennesaw State University

Within the considerable body of research that has emerged around the African Diaspora, Africa is generally conceived as a continent from which many diaspora communities originate, rather than a continent where diasporas can be found. This paper calls for a reconceptualization of diaspora, and the African Diaspora, through a discussion of one migrant community based on the continent that displays diasporic notions of homeland and memory, the result of more than four decades of migration. In 1990 a community of some 3,000 !Xun and Khwe men, women, and children was airlifted by the South African government from their decades-long temporary residence at a military base in northern South West Africa (now Namibia), and transported to a refugee camp, Schmidtsdrift, situated in central South Africa. Originally from Angola, individual families of !Xun and Khwe ethnicity had crossed the border to South West Africa as early as 1974 in order to escape post independence strife within Angola. In 2006 the community moved one more time, not back to their Angolan motherland, but to a permanent community-owned township, Platfontein, located within South Africa, here to cement a diasporic !Xun and Khwe community that conceives itself as linguistically, socially and culturally distinct from surrounding South African ones. Through a consideration of prints and paintings created by visual artists such as //Thalu Bernardo Rumao, Joao Diakunga, and Ferciano Ndala, I argue for the presence of a South African !Xun and Khwe diasporic community. Their visual iconographies correlate with key diaspora criteria as defined by R. Cohen, including  forced dispersal from an original homeland, a collective memory of homeland as an idealized ancestral home, and a strong ethnic group consciousness.

Axé Politics: The Political Implications of Candomblé Healing Practices

Farid Leonardo Suárez

Latin American and Caribbean Studies, New York University

This essay is an interdisciplinary study focusing on current developments in the political history of the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé, through the examination of Afro-Brazilian epistemologies of health and healing. By the mid-nineteenth century, Candomblé became a central symbol of Brazil’s new national identity as a racial democracy. Prior to this, the Brazilian state intensely repressed the use of African-derived medicinal practices through law and violence, because the healers who administered them were seen as a threat to the social order. Since this shift, Anglophone scholars have primarily examined the relationship of Candomblé to the state through the lens of ‘cultural politics’. This literature exhibits a trend where Candomblé communities are perceived as apolitical entities that only interact with the state through historically racialized systems of paternalistic patronage. Yet especially over the last decade, political and scholarly activists have increasingly filled the ranks of Candomblé initiates. They are organizing their constituencies into reliable voting blocs become leading voices in national debates having little to do with cultural politics. Building from this historical context through the analyses of ethnographic data collected in Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, this paper argues that Candomblé epistemologies of health provide the ideological foundations that underlie the currently evolving political strategies of Candomblé communities. Over several centuries, Candomblé temples have provided a wide cross-section of Brazilian society with efficacious practices of physiological and psychosocial healing. Yet Candomblé priests and their spiritual kin are increasingly seeing engagement in formal politics and counter-hegemonic knowledge production as viable avenues for inter-generational healing on the community level. Ultimately, this essay will demonstrate that the intersections between Candomblé healing and politics are as salient today as they were in the nineteenth century.

Frantz Fanon and Richard Wright: Diaspora as the Nexus for Intellectual Comparison

Juan Carlos Suarez

The University of Texas at Austin

The contemporary black subject has been besieged since the initiation of European colonial incursions in the 15th century. Thereafter, diverse and multifaceted emancipatory responses sprouted throughout the black world. Richard Wright and Frantz Fanon, two prominent philosophers, generated some of the most comprehensive and influential liberation works of their times including Native Son, The Outsider, Black Boy, and Black Skin, White Masks. Although their intellectual development, their methods, and their upbringing differed, they shared similar conclusions largely because of their exposure to similar philosophical thought. Wright was exposed to the effects of the North American diaspora while Fanon experienced the French Caribbean diaspora. The colonial powers that influenced their respective worlds created different spaces that allowed for the fruition of their work. The figurative and physical distance of their respective backgrounds was overcome by their common beliefs about transcending oppression. Wright and Fanon shared the idea that true emancipation from the oppressor would be achieved when the oppressed subject overcame himself. In essence, this triumph necessitated identity formation through becoming proficient in the common language of their Welt (world/society). In this paper I expound the emancipatory projects of Richard Wright and Frantz Fanon first by presenting a comparative biography and then by analyzing their thought. I engage the latter by presenting the life-worlds that both thinkers inhabited, effectively demonstrating how their exposure to their respective environments shaped their thought. Finally, I explicate their philosophical thought and their significance to discourses on the contemporary black subject.

Red, Black and Greener: Pauulu Kamarakafego, Global Black Power and Environmental Justice

Quito Swan

Department of History, Howard University

My proposed paper explores the internationalism of Pauulu Kamarakafego, an ecological engineer from Bermuda best known for his key roles in coordinating Bermuda’s First International Black Power Conference (1969), Atlanta’s Congress of African Peoples (1970) and Tanzania’s Sixth Pan-African Congress (1974). In 1959, he obtained a Ph. D in Ecological Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and became internationally renowned for his work as a consultant on renewable energy, sustainable development and environmental justice across the global south. This presentation engages Kamarakafego’s ability to fuse his political world-views with his technical expertise in the service of Black Power, Pan-Africanism and decolonization across the African Diaspora in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean worlds. In 1951, while visiting family in Cuba, he was injured in a demonstration against the United Fruit Company and Juan Batista. In the mid-1950s he joined the African American freedom struggle while a student at New York University and South Carolina State College. Until 1966, he taught at the University of East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda) and lived in Liberia and Ghana. He worked as a political and rural development consultant among Melanesian and other black communities in the southern Pacific into the 1980s; in 1975, British and French officials deported him from Vanuatu for spreading “Black Power doctrines.” Kamarakafego’s experiences globally re-calibrate the narrative of Black Power beyond US boundaries; more critically, in today’s world of environmental instability, they highlight the socio-political value of green movements for the contemporary and future African Diaspora.

Counting the Cost of Culture of Neglect in the African Diaspora

Tabiri Sylvester

Department of Community Development, University for Development Studies, Ghana

“Culture is a system of values and norms that are shared among a group of people and that when taken together constitute a design for living” (Hill, 1998).  Over a period of almost four centuries, a quite sizable number of Africans were transported to North America and the Caribbean Islands in the Atlantic slave trade. Captured from their homeland and separated from their tribes and families. They were enslaved in a new world, where all familiar customs were absent. The African diaspora is the story of how Africans, though scattered dispersed, managed to retain little aspect of their traditions and reform their identities in a new world. Elements of African culture such as religion, language, and folklore endured and were their links to their past lives. On the other hand, most Africans in the diaspora have neglected greater aspect of their culture. It is very pathetic to see people from Africa who cannot speak their native language, prepare and eat a local dish not to talk about dancing to local music and the rest. Does this have any economic implication on the African economy back home?  The study seeks to deal with some aspects of culture that have been neglected and how it is negatively affecting the economic development in Africa. In a similar view, assesses the negative impact of culture neglect in the African diaspora.   

Rewind and Reframe: Thoughts on Children and Contemporary issues of Race

Olivier J. Tchouaffe

Southwestern University


This paper will look at the coverage of racial abuses against the French minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, and the role played by children in these abuses to discuss children and issues of racism and how these issues reflect larger problems about contemporary issues of race, crisis in modernity, norms and values.

Social Unrest and the African Diaspora in the French Banlieues

Hervé Tchumkam

Southern Methodist University

In November 2005, France was struck by violence in the cités, the projects at the outskirts of French cities populated by African migrants and their offspring. While that particular uprising is presented in the media as the most important politically, it should be noted that rioting as a way for young people in the banlieues to protest injustice have been occurring over the last twenty five years, without much attention being paid to them or the underlying social causes. As a whole, this social unrest attests to the relations between particular groups ­ the French citizens born from African migrant parents and the sovereign power—as well as revealing the treatment of “difference” in contemporary France. To put it bluntly, the African Diaspora has become a challenge to Frenchness. This paper will suggest and analyze the ways in which by stigmatizing the descendents of its postcolonial others, the French State has led to youth resistance culture. In the widest terms, this presentation aims at offering an interdisciplinary approach of the relation between State Power, stigmatization, and youth resistance in contemporary France, at a time when caught between inclusion and exclusion, the descendants of African immigration to France, despite their birth in France, have become a threat to national identity.

I Am What I Eat and Wear When It Matters’: Identity Politics in the African Diaspora

Bridget A. Teboh

Department of History, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

In the last three decades voluntary migration and movements of resourceful and creative people has become common from corrupt, exploitative and often hostile African nations. The implications for Africans and their host nations USA, are enormous. Immigrants bring along their cultural practices (food, dress, etc.).Whereas some studies exist on the status of African migrants abroad, little research has been done to highlight the role of food and dress in identity politics in the African diaspora, or ‘new communities.’ This paper focuses on the role of food and traditional dress in changing conceptions, creating awareness, and forging African identities in the African Diaspora by examining the relationship between food, dress and cultural identity. It explores the meaning and location of African culture and identity within ‘uneasy,’ temporal spaces or new Diasporas and the challenges faced by migrants. Using Cameroonians as a case study, this paper highlights practices of place making of Africans in this ‘uneasy migrant space’ known as the United States, as well as the reproduction of African communities It presents a new interpretation of African history, one that focuses on the efforts of Africans to reinvent themselves and their worlds. Understanding how Africans survive, network, and use cultural forms to recreate ‘home away from home’ addresses critical questions in history, politics and international studies, thereby interrogating cultural expression and challenging standard analytical categories and conventional methodologies.

Experiences, Challenges and the Way Forward for Student Breadwinners: A Critical Appraisal of Push-Factor Immigrant Scholars.

Consoler Teboh

Department of Social Work, School of Health and Human Services, St. Cloud State University

Migratory patterns differ depending on push or pull factors. Most immigrants that migrate because of push effects usually do so in families and small groups. In spite the assumption that their coping and adjustment is better, push-factor dynamics are complex and challenging for these families and individuals. A Significant number of immigrants from Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East who migrate because of push factors often have among them family members who are older, speak little or no English and are typically dependent on their younger counterparts. These young immigrants often work, attend to family needs, and go to school. This role reversal in which children become providers and caretakers adds to the problems they already encounter. Little research has adequately addressed the effects of these complex challenges such as role reversal on their adjustment and coping, and their time of graduation. This mixed methods presentation attempts to determine the experiences, challenges and the way forward for student breadwinners in order to ensure their coping and adjustment, and decrease their graduation times. 125 participants responded to a survey administered to immigrant students in US Midwestern Universities. Preliminary findings indicate that 69% of the respondents migrated because of political reasons, while 42% support themselves and others. Additionally, 88% of participants said going to school and supporting themselves or others remains the most challenging factor affecting their coping and adjustment, as well as their time of graduation. Social services implications and suggestions for teacher and practitioners are discussed.

No Kin, No Country: Rethinking the Black Diasporic Subject in Melville’s Moby-Dick

Sam C. Tenorio

Department of African American Studies, Northwestern University

In this paper I approach Herman Melville’s Moby Dick as an entry from which to explore the (im)possibility of the black diasporic subject. I argue that the place of blackness in Melville's narrative upsets any presumptive coherence of diasporic subjectivity, illuminating that which is set outside its limits—the black subject. My focus is on the juxtaposition of two putatively minor characters in the novel, Pip, a young black boy from Alabama, and Daggoo, an African harpooner. Opposing these character allows me to uncover the discrete relationship between slavery, geography, and subjectivity as the paper aims to realize the effect of the Middle Passage on the cognitive coherence of “diaspora” as it is traditionally ascribed to the African continent. Though Pip and Daggoo rarely interact, they are bound in and by existence of slavery—marked by fungibility and constituted by violence. As figures of the Middle Passage, they trouble the viability of belonging and reveal the crisis at the heart of an “African diaspora,” that in their constitution as black there also exists the constitutive impossibility of a homeland, of a past, and of subjectivity. I thus make three claims: that blackness exists at the limits of subjectivity and indigeneity; the vestibular condition of New World slavery disavows the past and origin alike of all who are marked by the fact of blackness; and the Middle Passage disrupts the coherence of an African diaspora, forcing us to think differently of how we define this term.

Museveni, Okello, and Obote: The Ugandan Exile Movement and the Kagera War

Charles Thomas

Department of History, United States Military Academy at West Point

The rule of Idi Amin is remembered for its immense brutality towards the population of Uganda. From his seizure of power in 1971 until his defeat in the 1978-1979 Kagera War, Amin and his coterie of Northern Ugandan supporters systematically killed over 800,000 of his own citizens while driving countless more into exile. This reign of terror was not halted until Amin made the fateful choice to invade Tanzania’s Kagera region, triggering a response from Nyerere’s government and a counter-invasion which ultimately led to the toppling of Amin’s regime and the eventual reimposition of Milton Obote’s government. However, an overlooked but essential part of this narrative is the role played by the exiled Ugandans who became the vanguard of this struggle. Leaders such as Milton Obote, Tito Okello, and Yoweri Museveni organized multiple armed fronts from the exile communities which took a central part in the liberation of their home country. This paper will argue that the success of Tanzania in the Kagera War was impossible without the organization and participation of the Ugandan National Liberation Front, which offered them military support, critical intelligence, and international political cover at a time when much of the continent was against Nyerere’s intervention against his regional antagonist.

Being and Belonging: The African Diaspora and Representation in the Smithsonian

Tashima Thomas

Summer 2013 Afro-Latino Fellow, Smithsonian National Museum of American History

​During the summer of 2013 I served as the Goldman Sachs Multicultural Afrolatino Junior Fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  I discovered that through the highly accessible portals of food and fashion we are able to represent experiences of the African Diaspora, illustrate a global connectedness, and utilize and build museum collections.  The purpose of this research is to illustrate tangible examples of how exploring global narratives through food and fashion produce highly successful strategies for representing the African Diaspora in 21st Century Museology. Some museums focusing on the African Diaspora have already taken advantage of using the portal of food to discuss African culinary traditions, food movements, and community development.  Food affords many challenging ways to think about representing the African Diaspora as an encompassing, multifaceted story drawing on many strands, illuminating a multitude of people, ideas, and experiences.  Fashion operates in a similar manner by manifesting through networks of global exchange such as indentured servitude and the exploitation of people of African and Indian decent during colonialism.  From fashion we can learn so many things about the complexities of the African Diaspora, global economies, ethnicity, literature, history, and self-representation.  By using food and fashion as highly accessible portals we are able to invite discussions that illustrate the global connectedness of the African Diaspora in 21st century museology.

The Curve on the African Concept of Diaspora and the Real Life Situation

Ernest Muchu Toh

University of Western Cape, South Africa

Connotatively, Diaspora has been conceptualized for centuries as an adventure for better life for migrants who commonly come from developing countries to wealthier nations of the West. The concept has, however, been unveiled to be a near fallacy, evident by the opposing concept of the recipient countries toward migrants in the Diaspora. The real life situation in many cases does not always meet the initial weight attached to the concept of Diaspora. The 21st Century, notably with its economic downturn affected giant economies, yet, opposed by the inexplicable economic growth of many developing economies of Africa and Asia thereby leaving a curve on the concept of Diaspora. The debate on this topic looks at the meaning and concept of Diaspora on both the migrants and their destination country. It also will examine the expectation of those in the Diaspora back in their home country or family. The author continues to cite the effect of the curve on the concept. He ends up by calling to attention that the concept of Diaspora should be widened as it covers all nations including developed worlds which come to the developing for raw materials.

African Diaspora In Old And New Worlds: A History Through Culture, Religion, and Politics

Eric Tuffour

University of Cape Coast, Ghana

The African Union defines the African Diaspora as "[consisting] of people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union. Diaspora is a Greek word which means "Dispersal." The dispersion of Africans has occurred as a result of both the internal and external migration of people from Africa to many other countries across the globe with the Transatlantic Slave Trade often considered as the defining element. The external exodus continues as a part of what has become the "global culture" of the twenty first century as well as due to factors associated with economics, political turmoil, and the need to unite family elements that have separated as a result of this activity. There are two ways of understanding the idea of the African Diaspora: 1. As a conceptual tool - a term that references a specific group of people with similar histories. 2. As a political ideology - a term that references a kind of identity formation. That is, the feeling of belonging to a community that transcends national, cultural, and historical boundaries. Throughout the era of the dispersion of slavery and in post-emancipation years, black communities have produced, contributed, and innovated in ways that maintained and advanced their own societies as well as benefited human welfare more generally. In their home societies, the labors and investment of people of African descent enabled their communities to move forward step by step. This paper will focus on the general concept of the African Diaspora within the various disciplines, its origin and development, and the contributions of black communities.

New Diasporan History: A Study of Selected Poems of Derek Walcott

Julia Udofia

Department of English, University of Uyo, Nigeria

The abrupt “beginning” of the history of the Caribbean, coupled with the lack of “creation” and achievement in the area has led many scholars to conclude that the Caribbean is “historyless” and unlikely to proceed further than its crude and violent beginnings. However, it is the view of this paper that if nothing was created in the West Indies, then there is everything to achieve and this achievement must start from a re-appraisal of the only visible signs of history, i.e., the landscape, rather than from nostalgic, and sometimes faulty memories of an ancestral homeland. Being a literary research, the work is mainly library-based. First, a selection of the published poems of Derek Walcott has been rigorously examined and as many relevant critical works as could be found have been used to sharpen the focus of the arguments. To achieve the objective of this research which is to show that the Caribbean is not “historyless”, the historical and pragmatic critical approaches have been adopted. In the end, it is found out that, contrary to the argument that the Caribbean lacks a definitive history, the place, indeed, has a history, as history is not only that which is celebrated by ruins of castles and forts, but is also the chronicle of the past of the common man and his deeds, as Walcott demonstrates in his poems. So, in this sense, we talk of a new Diasporan history.

Where There is No Second Language: The Problems faced by International Tourists during the Calabar Christmas Festival

Gloria Mayen Umukoro

Department of Modern Languages and Translation Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria.

Recent issues in Tourism Development: Security, Tourist Attractions, Unemployment, Inadequate Amenities, Human Development and Language reactions are issues bothering around the tourism industry in Cross River State. Using some Tourist Destinations, International Tourists and Indigenes Survey in Cross River State as case study, this paper surveys through monitoring, participation and interviews the Cross River State Tourism Industry and shows how imperative it is to encourage the second language policy in a tourism based economy. Taking into consideration these issues enhances the growth of the industry in the state. However, with emphasis on the French language as an important tool in this regard, the paper suggests a re orientation of the people on the need to be bilingual and a concrete implementation of the French language policy, to create a favourable environment for international tourists in the state and solve to a great extent, the language problem during the festival.

Okon Edet Uya: Pioneer African Diaspora Scholar, 1969-2012

Udida A. Undiyaundeye

Department of History and International Studies, University of Uyo, Nigeria

In response to the call of Richard Hofstadter in 1944 for the study of the Old South with unbiased mind, a number of studies were done by American scholars – Stanley M. Elkins, James F. Rhodes, Kenneth Stampp and Herbert J Aptheker. They were in agreement on a number of issues: that the Negro slave was a chattel, a piece of property with a voice, could communicate to ensure that he knew what the master wanted; that though human, yet the Negro slave was of the most inferior quality; he was a Sambo - totally helpless and completely dependent on the master; a perpetual child with no cultural antecedents. This was the state of affairs in the study of the Negro experience in North America when Okon Edet Uya entered this field of historical studies. Armed with tools of oral historiography and interdisciplinary methodology, he brought fresh air to the study of North American slavery: new perspectives, new linkages, new courses publications and training of personnel. All of which lay to rest the stereotypes and distortions hitherto replete in studies of the African American experience in North America.     

Diasporic Space in the Comoro Islands and in Zanzibar

Iain Walker

COMPAS, University of Oxford

The Comorian island of Ngazidja has historically been both a destination for and a source of migrants. The island’s population was constituted by immigrants from East Asia and Madagascar, the Arabian peninsula, and East Africa: most of the latter were undoubtedly slaves. Amongst the strategies employed to incorporate numerically significant immigrant populations into local social systems was an insistence on emplacement, destined to both confirm belonging and encourage a renunciation of spatial pasts. Emplacement remains an important strategy today and intergenerational spatially grounded ritual processes create and confirm belonging in villages of origin through reciprocal exchanges and ritual commensality. Spaces bind individuals, age cohorts and kin groups: they both produce and are produced by relationships. These spatial relationships have subsequently been carried into diaspora. This paper will examine the spatially constructed relationships that people on Ngazidja maintain with members of the diaspora in Zanzibar. In the colonial period Comorians were recruited to formally established “county” associations according to their villages of origin; and while these associations provided a framework for ritual interactions within the community in Zanzibar, these (locally reworked) socio­spatial affiliations also mediated relationships with the home villages, relationships that kin in the villages on Ngazidja often manipulated to their own advantage. Drawing upon Lefebvre’s work on space, this paper analyses these processes and the role of spatial belonging in diasporic relationships; it concludes by considering the renewed significance of spatial belonging as social and economic relationships are revived following the end of the socialism in Zanzibar.

Unraveling Somalia’s Global Human Rights Narratives

Amentahru Wahlrab

Department of History and Political Science, University of Texas at Tyler

The Somali refugee and human rights situation is impacted by a variety of push and pull factors that began before the 1988 civil war but were exacerbated by it and subsequent political and armed conflicts continuing to the present day. At present there are roughly one million internally displaced persons and one million refugees. The majority of Somali refugees live in the region commonly known as the “horn”: Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, Djibouti, Uganda, Egypt, Eritrea, and Tanzania. This paper asks what the responses are being offered by Somalis in the diaspora to issues pertaining to ending the human rights and refugee crises. Much of the source material used in this study was collected by UN and human rights groups. Journalistic sources are also heavily referenced as are social scientific secondary source material.  Unlike most human rights scholarship, this study adopts a discourse analysis approach in order to reveal the multiple layers of narrative that distort potential causes and effects of global interventions into Somalia. The dominant narrative regarding Somalia includes the argument that Somalia has not been sufficiently globalized and that with further integration into the global economy Somalia’s problems will be ameliorated. And yet, Somalia is currently occupied by African Union, Ethiopian, Kenyan and U.S. troops. Its coastal waters are routinely commercially fished, militarily patrolled, used as a global dumping ground, and otherwise traversed by traders and raiders. This second narrative reveals not the absence of a global presence, but, rather, globalization’s dark side. How do Somalis in the diaspora navigate and act within this multilayered narrative? How do these Somalis transgress and subvert this master narrative of human rights crisis?

Business, Brokers and Borders: Understanding the Structure of West African Trade Diasporas

Olivier Walther

Division of Global Affairs, Rutgers University

This paper analyses the social and spatial structure of two trade diasporas located between Niger, Nigeria and Benin. Using a combination of social network analysis and professional biographies, we are particularly interested in understanding how long-distance traders managed to balance between embeddedness, which refers to the inclusion of the actor within his group, and brokerage, which refers to the ability of an actor to bridge other actors beyond his group. In addition to their level of clustering, we study how trade diasporas differ in terms of centralization. We find that both networks are rather decentralized, with few business relations between the actors. The paper also considers the spatial structure of trade diasporas and the influence of national borders on the development of social ties. We find important differences in the structure of the diasporas. In one case, most of the large traders are used to travelling across the national border and none of them occupies a strong brokerage position between countries. In the other region, by contrast, the social network is structured around few cross-border ties that provide opportunity for a limited number of brokers. We argue that the differences between the trade diasporas can be explained by their historical origin and subsequent historical development since pre-colonial times.

Deterritorialized Temporalities: African Diasporic Narratives by Women Writers from Brazil and Guadeloupe

Hapsatou Wane

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

African Diasporic narratives of return such as Saidiya Hartman’s autobiography Lose Your Mother are often read as narratives of an impossible return to an “idealized, uncomplicated and monolithic ‘Mother Africa’” that leads to dead-ends. of these narratives labelled I argue that Edouard Glissant’s concept of “détour,” offers a way to read these narratives as developing a strategy of re-rooting in temporalities and spaces knotted in a “point d’intrication/point of entanglement.” By putting in conversation postcolonial studies, memory studies and African Diaspora studies, this paper illustrates how Marilene Felinto and Maryse Condé, in As Mulheres de Tijucopapo (1992) and Heremakhonon en attendant le Bonheur (1976) respectively, engage in a diversion of the autobiographical genre. Both autobiographical novels show how Black female diasporic subjectivities are born and reborn within the triangulation of gender, race and class. As Mulheres de Tijucopapo retraces the journey of Risia a half-Black, half-Indian Brazilian woman from Sao Paulo to Tijucopapo while Heremakhonon, en attendant le Bonheur follows Veronica, a dark métisse in her initiatory quest in an unnamed African country. In both works, the diasporic, transnational, and female subjectivities cope with nationalist constructions of identities at specific temporalities such as military dictatorship and civil upheavals by creating spaces of possibilities, “points of entanglement,” “lieux de mémoire” where their personal histories intersect with the national and diasporic histories of their communities.

Reconstructing Jamaican Nationalism: Five Centuries of Culture, Resistance, and Identity Formation

Ben Weiss

History Department, The University of Texas at Austin

Jamaican nationalist historiography is filled with research documenting the weak nature of black Jamaican nationalist sentiment, both throughout the colonial period, and in the decades that followed. Jamaican history, on the other hand, features countless examples of a strong nationalist foundation in the territory. Though complex in its relationship with global power differentials, Jamaican nationalism possesses a vibrant history which emerges when analyzed within various paradigms for theoretical framing, rather than when analyzed against a scale of efficacy. This paper seeks to deconstruct such results-based perspectives on Jamaican nationalism. In this fragmentation, I intend to move existing narratives away from interpreting the success of Jamaican nationalism. Instead, I will use relevant historical examples to realign the focus of nationalism to an analysis of its nature and its resilience independent of being utilized to achieve exterior goals. Though emerging movements may have failed in the short term, they resonated strongly among their constituents and laid significant groundwork for later efforts. I begin by using elements of nationalist theories developed by Ernest Gellner, Benedict Anderson, and Anthony Smith to generate a cogent framework for new interpretations of nationalism in Jamaica. Within this framework, I present several case studies of Jamaican nationalism while rebutting conventional narratives of national fragility. Through the themes of slavery, black intellectualism, decolonization, and cultural artifice it becomes clear that Jamaican nationalism had, and continues to have vigor in its own right. Ultimately, I argue that this strength possesses origins deeply rooted in identities constructed by shared experience, and in many cases, African heritage.

Ethno-Linguistic Analysis of Some Selected Ijesa Proverbs and the Conceptualisation of “Agidi-Ijesa”

Olaosebikan T.O. Wende, Department of Languages and Linguistics, Osun State University, Nigeria

Faith I. Akinnola, Department of French, Osun State College of Education, Nigeria

“Agidi,” in the Yoruba worldview means stubbornness. The Ijesas are one of the seven descendants of Oduduwa, the founder of the Yoruba race. Generally speaking, due to over-generalisation of the concept, the Ijesas, of all other Yoruba ethnic groups in the South-Western part of Nigeria, are known and believed to be stubborn simply because of their uncompromising stand and tenacious hold onto any course they believe to be just, irrespective of the obstacles on their way. This paper seeks inter alia to correct the erroneous impression that the concept of “agidi-Ijesa” is semantically pejorative. Through the instrumentality of some selected Ijesa proverbs, the paper rather establishes that the concept represents virtue, love, courage, hospitality, honesty, and steadfastness in all their human enterprises. These attributes are backed up by two historical facts and the analysis of ten selected ijesa proverbs relating to both classical and contemporary issues.

Ethiopianism and Black Women in Pauline Hopkins's Mythological Vision

Elizabeth J. West

Department of English, Georgia State University

In her 1902-1903 serialized novel, Of One Blood, or the Hidden Self and her later nonfiction study, A Primer of Facts Pertaining to the Early Greatness of the African Race and the Possibility of Restoration by its Descendents (1905), Pauline Hopkins invokes two contrasting literary forms to explore a trope that had become central to African American histories and myths of origins generations before her. Hopkins's intellectual predecessors and peers in this regard, were for the most part, men: in Pauline Hopkins: A Literary Biography Hanna Wallinger credits William Wells Brown's The Rising Son (1874), Martin R. Delany's Principia of Ethnology: The Origin of Races and Color (1879), and Rufus L. Perry's The Cushite; or, The Descendants of Ham (1893) as clear sources for Hopkins, and she speculates that Hopkins also knew George Washington Williams's 1883 History of the Negro Race in America, 1619 to 1880. Similarly, Mandy A. Reid aptly posits ("Utopia Is in the Blood: The Bodily Utopias of Martin R. Delany and Pauline Hopkins") a comparison between Delany and Hopkins's discourses of racial science. In this paper, I begin by acknowledging Hopkins's resources, but I want to shift to the question of gender in Hopkins's version. I want to explore how Hopkins' turn-of-the century, ostensibly sentimental works, speak to possibilities for black womanhood in the predominantly male articulated paradigm of New World Ethiopianism. Does Hopkins's vision of Ethiopianism open up possibilities for radical expressions of black womanhood or possibilities for black female authority or autonomy?

The Politics of Living Abroad: Exploring the Impact of International Migration on Ethnic Identification

Beth Elise Whitaker, Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Karen Okhoya, Public Policy Program, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Related directly to the conference theme of “Identity Politics in the African Diaspora,” we explore the involvement of new diaspora populations in the politics of their home countries. Increasingly, African governments have reached out to their nationals living abroad by granting dual citizenship and extending voting rights, but little is known about the political behavior of diaspora populations and how their participation in election processes may influence political outcomes. Drawing on data from our own survey of Kenyans living in the United States and coupling it with similar data from the Afrobarometer, we seek to understand the potential effects of diaspora voting rights as laid out in the 2010 Kenyan constitution. In this paper more specifically, we ask whether Kenyans living in the United States are as likely to vote along ethnic lines as their counterparts in Kenya. Previous research suggests that people who are surrounded by members of their own ethnic group develop stronger ethnic ties than those that live in more diverse settings. By testing this hypothesis across international spaces, we gain a better understanding of the impact of migration on the strength of ethnic identities and the implications of diaspora voting for ethnic politics in Africa.

Premature Abolition, Ethnocentrism, and Bold Blackness: Race Relations in the Cayman Islands, 1834-1840

Christopher A. Williams

The University College of the Cayman Islands

This paper examines the nature of the relationship between white and near-white prominent men and black people in the immediate post-emancipation Cayman Islands. Accordingly, the author assesses the prevalence of ethnocentrism and racism in a society that proved atypical given that apprenticeship was abruptly brought to an end there just eight months after the conditional emancipation of slaves in the British West Indies in August 1834. As such, the relational dynamic between freemen and “freedmen” is mapped throughout the six years beginning with the emancipation of Caymanian slaves and moving through to the abrupt termination of apprenticeship and the ensuing racial tensions to 1840.

Cosmos, Kinship and Communitas: Black Pentecostalism(s) in America and the Reworlding of the Black Religious Landscape

Eric Lewis Williams

African and African American Studies, Iowa State University

In the third and most recent edition of his widely acclaimed text, Black Religion and Black Radicalism, American historian of religion Gayraud Wilmore issues a sincere apology to theologians and scholars from Black Holiness and Pentecostal traditions. According to Wilmore, if he had time to write his text over again he would have paid more serious attention to their critical insights. For Wilmore, the theological account that Black Pentecostals would give of themselves, namely in terms of their understandings and experiences of the sacred, is greatly needed for a clearer and more robust picture of African diasporan religion in North America. Although Wilmore’s comments were made with reference to African American Pentecostals, a reality unforeseen by Wilmore would be the advent and rapid proliferation of new African diasporan Pentecostal communities throughout the nation within the last three decades. This new reality, along with the rapid growth of African American Pentecostalism over the same time period has drastically transformed the Black religious landscape and complexifies anew the study of Black Religion in North America. Given the significance of both African American and new African diasporan Pentecostalisms for understanding the future of Black religion in the United States, the proposed paper attempts to create a dialogue between these two highly distinctive traditions of Pentecostalism in North America. Drawing upon the insights of Nigerian theorist of religion, Nimi Wariboko, a leading theological representative from the new African Christian diaspora in America and the perspectives of African American historian of religion William Clair Turner Jr., this paper will attempt to uncover both structural similarities and dissimilarities in the beliefs of both New World African and New African Diasporan theological trajectories in North America. In the final analysis, I will lift up several challenges within these traditions that may need to be overcome in order to ensure their viability for the future.

Brothers of the Trade: Intersections of Racial Framing and Identity Processes upon African-Americans and African Immigrants in America –Ancestral Kinsmen of the American Slave Trade

Veeda V. Williams

Division of Social Work, Behavioral & Political Sciences, Prairie View A&M University

The “implicit rules” of the white racial framing of America shape meanings, structure interactions, and impose identities upon all who enter American society. This study conceptualizes how this color-coded frame differentially shapes the experiences of native African-Americans and African immigrants in America seeking to disrupt identity processes between ancestral kinsmen. Current literature depicts the relationship between native and immigrant blacks as “socially-distanced,” “divided,” “conflicted” –as disconnected. However, such characterizations – symbolic of the divisive influence of racial constructs rooted in America’s slave past – evolve largely from inappropriate evaluation of black behavior within white racial contexts that do not support or encourage such expression. This study re-examines this relationship from an africentric perspective– a view that captures the authenticity of black behavior in the service of its full development and potential. Based on data obtained from African and African-American respondents at a Historically Black College/University (HBCU), this research asserts that absent the influence of the white racial frame, African-American and African respondents freely interact and fully express identification with a shared ancestry and heritage; that the most salient disconnect arises in identification with a common history given the separation experienced as a direct result of the American slave trade. This separation –still perpetuated by America’s divisive constructs – accounts for differential experiences and motivations of native and immigrant blacks within American society, giving birth to the misconception that their identification does not emanate from a shared heritage and promoting as obvious rifts, obscure tensions bred by the white racial framing of American society.

Indigenous Languages as Tools for Development in Ghana

Agyapong Wireko

University of Ghana

Language is seen as the pivot of every culture and advancement both in economic, political and social status is mostly achieved through one’s language.  Ghana, like many African countries, uses the language of her ex-colonial masters (Britain) as the official language.  To be part of the rapidly globalized world, English has been adopted as the medium of instruction in the school, communication in Parliament, the judiciary division, and other government sectors. Ironically, only few educated people (less than 40%) can communicate fluently in the English language.  As a result, a majority of Ghanians’ rights are trampled upon and also excluded from taking part in decisions that affect their very survival making them more vulnerable to manipulations by unscrupulous politicians.  Thus, the majority of people in Ghana suffer under the guise of globalization and westernization by projecting a western language while the indigenous languages in Ghana wither away. This paper argues that if local languages are given prominence at greater levels, people would be motivated to participate in the decision making process and this would lead to grassroots empowerment and better implementation of policies in Ghana. Data was collected using interviews and self-administered questionnaires to some selected communities in Ashanti Region (Kumasi, Ghana).

Dance as an Expressive Culture: The Example of Adamu Orisa (Eyo) Festival in Lagos State

Dosumu Lawal Yeside

Department of Theatre Arts and Music, Lagos State University, Nigeria

The normative pattern of any society, be it religious rites, exchange system, mode of production, rituals, family and kinship ties and child rearing practices are culturally determined, and this makes most societies in the world survive from ethnographic extinction. Culture is a complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, customs, laws and other capabilities including tools acquired by man as a member of a society. It builds in man, self-realization, self-determination and bride that consciously determine his existence within a geographical entity. However, this essay examines the cultural belief of Adamu Orisa dance amidst other genres or cultural practices and entertainments in Lagos State, contrary to the belief that a metropolitan city like Lagos is hardly cultural. Lagos richness in cultural values has contributed a lot economically to the development of Lagos State, especially through the use of Adamu Orisa dance within the scope of tourism.  

The Trans-Saharan Trade and African in Diaspora: A Discourse on the Status of Slaves Taken Across the Sahara to the Middle East

Adefarakan Adedayo Yusufu, Kaduna State University, Nigeria

Hauwau Evelyn Yusuf, Department of Sociology, Kaduna State University, Nigeria

The African in diaspora has remained a phenomenon in world history, International migration, group relations and cultural exchange and adaptation. So also is the historical epoch that gave rise to it. The Trans – Atlantic Slave Trade otherwise called the Triangular Trade has continued to generate continuous serious debate on the socio – Economic relationship between the North and the South. For some scholars it is responsible for the underdevelopment of Africa. There is even a call for reparations to be paid to the continent for the human, psychological plundering it unleashed on the Africans. While today in places like the Americas – North and South the existence of the Africans in diaspora can be felt even by a blind person, the same cannot be said of those Africans taken along the Saharan Trade routes to the Middle East. Even the sources are ‘silent’ about the status of those slaves and the elites are not keen in discussing the Socio– Economic positions (if at all they had any) of African diaspora in the Middle East. This paper therefore, using available documentary sources attempts a preliminary investigation into the status of African slave generally, but female slaves in particular as they embarked on the tortuous journey across the desert into the Middle East and their positions in the scheme of things in their various destinations in that part of the globe. It argues that the harsh weather conditions of the desert as well as methods and logistic problems were a big stumbling block to the transportation of the slaves, thereby depleting their stock before their arrival at their destinations. The cultural practice of castration, their use in mines under terrible and dehumanizing conditions and element of racial discrimination, high death rates and low birth rates among the Black slaves as central to the near total absence of Africans in diaspora in the Middle East. The paper finally draws attention to the need for scholars and researchers, particularly those African in diaspora to pay more attention to this particular area in order to come up with more data about the African in diaspora in the region as by so doing we will get a clearer picture.

The State and Political Corruption in Nigeria: an Anatomy of a Perverse Pathology

Hauwau Evelyn Yusuf, Department of Sociology, Kaduna State University, Nigeria

Ibrahim Kawuley Mikail, Department of Political Science, Federal College of Education, Nigeria

Corruption is a terrible and endemic sickness of the developing world; Nigeria inclusive. Embezzlement, fraud, bribery, payoff, nepotism and extortion have been so common in the activities of Nigerians from the colonial era to post independence, military and civilian regimes. This paper examines the problem of corruption in Nigeria with special reference to corrupt practices by different governments (1960-2007). Secondary sources of data were employed in the study. The paper traces the background of corrupt practices in Nigeria which emerged in the colonial era, to the first indigenous elites as well as the military regimes (1966-1979) and (1983-1999), the second and third republic down to the current democratic dispensation of the fourth republic. The paper reveals that political corruption paved the way for the elites to institutionalize other forms of corruption such as bureaucratic, electoral, economic, and judicial among others which has negative effect on national development. The paper recommends among others that the federal government should make a law for execution of corrupt people as is in the case of China as well as to strengthen its anti-graft agencies (i.e. EFCC and CPC) with fairness and equity to all tiers of government and private sectors.

Contemporary Challenges in Nigeria’s National Development

Hauwau Evelyn Yusuf, Department of Sociology, Kaduna State University, Nigeria

Ibrahim Kawuley Mikail, Department of Political Science, Federal College of Education, Nigeria

Nigeria at 53 years has experienced tremendous challenges such as bad governance, absence of good leadership, corruption, insecurity, poverty, high rate of unemployment and illiteracy, violence and ethno religious crises, inadequate infrastructural facilities among others. These are among the formidable threats thwarting the country to meet international development. Content analysis was employed in this study. The Modernization theoretical framework was adopted to guide the study. The study revealed that the absence of democratic institutions such as rule of law, free, fair and credible elections, lack of constitutionalism precipitates the above challenges in Nigeria’s National Development. Institutionalization of good governance and democratic institutions through free and fair election, respect of human rights, and constitutionalism were among the recommendations made.

The Kongo Empire: Membership, Metal, and TransAtlantic Identities

Blair Rose Zaid

African American and African Studies and Anthropology, Michigan State University

This presentation explores some of the multifaceted identities of the Kongo Empire in the 16th century. Of particular interest are the multiple responsibilities associated with iron and copper producers in the Empire. These citizens were highly valued for their religious, political, and social knowledge specifically during political exchanges that brought large numbers of these metal workers to locations in central Africa and beyond. This presentation explores the significance of metal producers in the 16th century expansion of the Empire.

Integrating African-Inspired Religious Practice in Eastern Cuba: Reynerio Perez and Vicente Portuondo Martin

Shanti Zaid

African American and African Studies and Anthropology, Michigan State University

This presentation explores Africa-inspired religious practice in eastern Cuba through examining the lives of two twentieth century religious leaders in the city of Santiago de Cuba. Reynerio Pérez, born in the 1890s, and the younger Vicente Portuondo Martín, born in 1949, represent two generations in a spiritual family that practiced more than one religious tradition grounded in the island’s African heritage. Through exploring the lives of these two figures, I hope to call attention to “integrated religious plurality” as a feature of religious practice in the region and suggest that there is much to be learned about how African diasporic religious traditions relate to each other in the shared space of the city.

  • The Annual UT Africa Conference