By Tsitsi Jaji 

About Tsitsi Jaji 

Tsitsi Jaji is Associate Professor of English and African & African American Studies at Duke University. She is the author of Africa in Stereo: Modernism, Music, and Pan-­African Solidarity (2014) and two volumes of poetry, Beating the Graves (2017) and Carnaval (2014).


“Pan-­Africanism” denotes a variety of political and cultural movements that advocate solidarity among people of African descent. The term “pan-­African” was coined at the turn of the twentieth century and may designate, variously, alliances between all African countries, all people native to Africa, or all people of African heritage across the globe. Each strand has its own distinctive history, and the term’s relevance today lies in its potential to analyze the impasses in these histories and/or reanimate their goals in contemporary contexts. According to Google’s N-­gram tool, the use of the term peaked in the 1960s, coinciding with struggles for liberation and civil rights among people of African heritage and the establishment of formal structures to facilitate cooperation among newly independent African states. However, the term was first used among diasporic Africans, and its relevance for African American studies in an era of globalization is indicated by the resurgence of …

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