Subaltern Voices Series

Speaking & Theorizing from the Disciplinary Margins


Dr. Hakim Adi (Reader in the History of Africa and the African Diaspora, Middlesex University, London)

Topic: “The African Diaspora, ‘Development’ and Modern African Political Theory.”

Date: Tuesday, 19 September 2006


Abstract: Those concerned with the study of African political economy and 'development' often have neglected those ideas that emerged from the African Diaspora, while those who study the African Diaspora have often been more concerned with issues of 'identity' than with the political future of Africa. This paper argues that for those whose main concern is the study of anti-colonialism, it is often difficult to separate the history of Africa and the Diaspora during the colonial and neo-colonial periods of the 20th century. Many key anti-colonial ideas were developed as much in the Diaspora, and often in the capitals of Europe, as they were within the African continent. Ideologies such as Pan- Africanism, which developed mainly within the Diaspora, the thinking of Frantz Fanon and others, as well as the liberation struggle in Africa, created the basis for alternative strategies for the anti-colonial struggle but also for a modern African political theory, a necessary requirement for people centred development in post-colonial African states.

Bio: Dr Hakim Adi (Ph.D SOAS, London University) is Reader in the History of Africa and the African Diaspora at Middlesex University, London, UK. He is a founder member and currently chairs the Black and Asian Studies Association, and a member of the Mayor of London’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage. Hakim Adi is the author of West Africans in Britain 1900-60: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism and Communism (Lawrence and Wishart, 1998) and (with M. Sherwood) The 1945 Manchester Pan- African Congress Revisited (New Beacon, 1995) and Pan-African History: Political Figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787 (Routledge, 2003). He has appeared in several television documentaries and radio programs, and has written widely on the history of the African Diaspora and Africans in Britain, including three history books for children.