Research page
  • Project Lead: Hisham Aidi (Columbia University)
  • Timeline: 2019-2022
  • Keywords: Africa, Middle-East, Maghreb, United States, pan-Africanism, pan-Arabism, African-American, identity, transnationalism, political thought, culture


This research project investigates the historical influence of pan-African socio-political thought on North Africa and the Middle East, and identifies its current political and cultural manifestations. The project provides an in-depth survey of the writings of African-American thinkers who engaged with and wrote about the Middle East and North Africa – from nineteenth century travellers to mid-century scholars to the Afrocentrist activists of the early 1990s. It examines the transnational attempts, starting in the 1950s, to translate Black liberationist thought into Arabic. The research studies the emerging discourse on race in North Africa and the Middle East with a view to examine the public debates taking place in the Arabic-speaking world around the notion of ‘indigeneity’– and to reconstruct how African-American thought is deployed through a wide spectrum to address questions of racism and exclusion.