Pan-Africanism in France

Authored by: Annette K. Joseph-Gabriel

Routledge Handbook of Pan-Africanism

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367030667
eBook ISBN: 9780429020193
Adobe ISBN:


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In contemporary scholarship, Pan-Africanism is largely studied as a primarily 20th century movement in the English-speaking world. 1 Histories of Pan-Africanism recount the contributions made by intellectuals and political figures from anglophone Africa, the Caribbean and the United States to the “ideas, activities, organizations and movements that, sometimes in concert, resisted the exploitation and oppression of all those of African heritage, opposed and refuted the ideologies of anti-African racism and celebrated African achievement, history and the very notion of being African.” 2 When France is evoked in this history, it is as the site of international exchange where English-speaking Pan-Africanists came into conversation with their black French contemporaries who were affiliated with the Negritude Movement. In this historical account, Pan-Africanism and Negritude are sometimes viewed as synonyms such that “perhaps what has been called Négritude can be considered merely a Francophone cultural form of Pan-Africanism.” 3 The result of this conflation is that the existence of Pan-Africanism in France becomes confined to a narrow slice of time that corresponds to the coining of the neologism Negritude by black students in Paris in the 1930s and the subsequent peak of the movement in the mid-20th century.

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