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Philip Nanton

Britishwriter best known for his books The French Revolution (1837) and Frederick the Great (1858–65). Born in Scotland, and settling permanently in London in 1834, Carlyle was the author of many other works, including essays and articles in periodicals. Among these was his ‘Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question’, originally published in Fraser's Magazine (London) in December 1849, and later rewritten and republished as a pamphlet called Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question (1853) and in some of the collected editions of the author's Latter‐Day Pamphlets (first published 1850).

In form, the Occasional Discourse is an imaginary report of a speech by a fictional orator and it would be unwise to assume that everything in the speech should be regarded as identical with the personal opinions of Carlyle who may have deliberately exaggerated some elements for effect The speaker ...

Article

Gerald Horne

American social scientist, author, educator, civil rights leader, and Pan-Africanist, was born William Edward Burghardt Du Bois on 23 February 1868 to Alfred Du Bois and Mary Silvina Burghardt Du Bois, in the predominantly white hamlet of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. William’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Tom Burghardt, born in West Africa in the early 1730s, was captured and brought to America by Dutch slavers. Du Bois would later recall hearing in his childhood a West African song that was perhaps of Senegambian Wolof origin.

Du Bois had a fondness for his New England birthplace and by his own account had a relatively charmed childhood An only child abandoned by his father whom he did not remember his doting mother and relatives and supportive teachers muted the pangs of racism sharpened by Reconstruction These heady years permeated the nation not just the South Hence his early years were shaped by genteel poverty Victorian ...

Article

Jody Benjamin

Having embraced a notion of transnational racial solidarity early in his career, W. E. B. Du Bois continued to elaborate and promote his ideas of “Pan-Africanism,” as both a scholar and a political activist, with increasing urgency throughout his life, culminating with his emigration from the United States to Ghana, where he died a few years after that country won its political independence from Great Britain.

The notion of “Negro race” as a conceptual and political unit has roots in Enlightenment-era views of race as an essential marker of human difference. It was also shaped by both the discourses of nineteenth-century movements to abolish slavery in the United States and those of nationalism in Europe. Du Bois was exposed to this thinking throughout his education, beginning at Fisk University in 1885, where some of his teachers had been abolitionists.

Continuing his education at Harvard University Du Bois was taught ...

Article

John Maddox

was born to Ivan Gonçalves, an industrialist, and Hélia Iza da Silva Gonçalves, a seamstress, on 13 November 1970 in Ibiá, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The family moved to Porto Ferreira, São Paulo, in 1980, and she graduated with a degree in advertising from the Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado in 1992. Her first short story was published alongside Portuguese writers in As segundas palavras da tribo (The Second Words of the Tribe, 2002). Her first novel Ao lado e à margem do que sentes por mim (Beside and at the Edge of What You Feel for Me, 2002) was written at the same time as the groundbreaking Um defeito de cor (A Color Defect, 2006).

Um defeito de cor is an epistolary novel narrated by a nineteenth century Dahomeyan woman who is enslaved taken to Brazil and manumitted She returns to Africa before learning as ...

Article

Octávio Ianni was born in a small town, Itú, São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil. He was one of Brazil's most prestigious social scientists, expanding his work to the fields of sociology, anthropology, and economics. He completed his doctorate at the University of São Paulo (USP), where he also taught. He was also a visiting professor at several foreign universities, such as Columbia (United States), Oxford (England), Complutense (Spain), and UNAM (Mexico). He also taught at the Catholic University and at UNICAMP in Brazil. During the period of military dictatorship (1964–1985), Ianni was forcibly retired from teaching at USP for about ten years; the government considered racial studies to be subversive. According to Pierre-Michel Fontaine's Race, Class and Power in Brazil, Ianni “emphasized the adaptation of racism, having been engendered by the system of slavery, to the structural characteristics of capitalism.”

Some of Ianni s most ...

Article

Kenneth Ombongi and Marcel Rutten

Ali Mazrui, a Kenyan academic, is an enigma. Many call him a pan-Arabist, pan-Africanist, or Muslim fundamentalist. In academia, he is a political historian, political scientist, philosopher, or commentator on diverse issues. However, there seems to be consensus that he is a prolific writer and an orator.

Mazrui is a creation of diverse influences and a creator of many ideas. In his achievements, he is a creation of countries other than his own. He was born 24 February 1933 in Mombasa, Kenya, and got his early education there. He has, however, spent his professional life outside Kenya. Educated at university in England and America, Mazrui’s achievements have been made and celebrated abroad. Whereas he started his scholarship career in Makerere University, in Uganda, he has achieved his intellectual prowess in the United States.

True, the Swahili culture constitutes Mazrui’s cultural roots but he is also Westernized Perhaps neither ...

Article

Ali A. Mazrui was born into the prominent Mazrui clan of Mombasa, which ruled the city during the eighteenth century. His father, Al’Amin Ali Mazrui, was chief Kadhi, Kenya's highest-ranking Islamic judge. After attending primary and secondary schools in Mombasa, he earned a B.A. from the University of Manchester in 1960. He earned an M.A. from Columbia University in New York City in 1961 and a doctorate from Oxford University in 1966.

While working on his dissertation, Mazrui began teaching political science in 1963 at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Mazrui was named dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences in 1967, a position he held until 1973. An early favorite of Idi Amin, in 1971 Amin s first year in power Mazrui soon lost favor because of his outspokenness and was told to shut up or move out of Uganda ...

Article

Chouki El Hamel

Tunisian writer, novelist, and major contributor to colonial and postcolonial studies, was born in Tunis, Tunisia, to a Jewish family of modest means. His father earned a meager income as a saddler, which was barely sufficient to provide for a household of eight children. Identity politics, shaped by the dynamics of the intervention of a foreign political force in the form of the French colonizing occupation, created a radical shift among autochthonous diverse groups. Although Jews were a minority in Tunisia, under Islamic rule they were granted a special status called dhimmi because they were considered “People of the Book.” This status allowed Jews to hold land, practice their religion, and maintain their cultural distinctness in exchange for poll taxes paid to the Muslim state.

Memmi became aware of class ethnic status and colonial hierarchy at an early age when he mingled with socially and ethnically diverse children at a ...

Article

Marian Aguiar

Albert Memmi was born to a poor Jewish family in Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia. His position as a non-Muslim gave him some privilege in what was then a French protectorate, and as a young man he was educated at an exclusive French secondary school. Yet as a Jew from the ghetto and as a Tunisian, he suffered his own indignities. After Germany occupied Tunisia in 1942, Memmi was interned as a Jew in a forced-labor camp. Memmi used his intermediate position between the dominated majority and the dominating minority to gain insight into the social structure of colonization. “I know the colonizer from the inside almost as well as I know the colonized,” he would later write, reflecting on his background as a North African Jew.

In his autobiographical first novel La statue de sel 1953 The Pillar of Salt Memmi embarked on a discussion ...

Article

Grant Lilford

Lesotho novelist, editor, commentator, and entrepreneur, was born in 1877, in Khojane Village, Mafeteng, Lesotho, to Abner and Aleta Mofolo, both Christians. He was baptized in the church of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society. His parents moved to the Qomoqomong valley shortly after his birth.

He attended a local school in Quthing and then worked for the Reverend Alfred Casalis, who recognized his enthusiasm and intelligence and sponsored his further studies for three years at the Mountain School in Morija. Mofolo then worked at the Morija Book Depot from 1899 before studying carpentry and becoming a teacher. He returned to the Book Depot and wrote Moeti oa Bochabela from 1905 to 1906. He left the Book Depot in 1910 to seek work in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and to work in Johannesburg, either in the mines or as a court interpreter. In 1912 he returned to Lesotho ...

Article

Jeffrey D. Needell

was born on 20 June 1883 to a planter by the same name and Balbina Rosa de Azeredo Viana at Saquarema (in the province of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). The family was taken for white, although Viana has been described as a mulato róseo (pink mulatto). After Viana graduated in 1906 from the Faculty of Law in Rio de Janeiro, he taught law at the State Faculty of Law in Niterói and served Rio de Janeiro’s government. However, he simultaneously established his reputation writing in the provincial dailies and those of the federal capital and, by 1920, began publishing widely influential books. These writings brought him to the attention of Getúlio Vargas, who, after the Revolution of 1930, appointed him to a series of key positions where he influenced a new constitution, adopted in 1935, and labor legislation. After the 1937 coup establishing the New State ...