Merve Fezjula is a historian of modern Africa and its diaspora, specializing in 20th century West Africa’s global connections. Her research interests bridge African intellectual and cultural history, Black internationalism, and the history of political thought. She is currently at work on a book manuscript, which examines the transformation of the Black public sphere between 1947-77 through a history of negritude - the philosophy of Black humanism - across the francophone and anglophone Black world.
Negritude and the Afro-Black Public Sphere 1947-77
This book reconstructs the institutions founded among a network of francophone and anglophone West African and diasporic intellectuals crucial to negritude and its dissemination. Drawing upon state funding from Senegal, Nigeria, France, and America, these individuals transformed negritude from an exclusively Black humanist orientation until the 1950s, to a project of global Black identity by the mid-1960s, to an African ideology of soft power in the late 1960s-70s. Presenting a revisionist history of negritude, of the “cultural” Cold War, and of public spheres and their evolution, centers Africa within Black Studies and brings together history and political theory.