Eye on Africa is a weekly seminar series that provides scholars, policy-makers, applied practitioners, students, and the interested public with cutting-edge and highly-contextualized knowledge about the African continent.
Spring 2017 Speaker Schedule (PDF)
Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.*
Emerging and established scholars share the results of their recent research, with time for audience questions and comments. The series draws on a diverse group of presenters to create an inclusive, holistic view of African history, social movements, the economy, and politics.
Emmanuel K. Akyeampong , "Religion, Culture, the Arts and the Making of the African Nation-State"
February 23, 2017, 12:00-1:30pm, Room 201, International Studies Center
Emmanuel Akyeampong is the Ellen Gurney Professor of History and of African and African American Studies and Oppenheimer Faculty Director of the Center for African Studies at Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (UK). He is the author and editor of several books and articles including Drink, Power, and Cultural Change: A Social History of Alcohol in Ghana, c.1800 to Recent Times (1996); and Between the Sea and the Lagoon: An Eco-Social History of the Anlo of Southeastern Ghana (2001). He served as co-chief editor with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., for the Dictionary of African Biography, 6 vols. (2012). Akyeampong has been a co-editor of the Journal of African History, of African Diaspora and serves on the editorial board of African Arguments.
About the talk:
The talk explores the place of religion, culture and the arts in the making of new African nation-states. After the nationalist struggle against European colonial rule, it would have been anti-climactic to produce new nation-states that were pale versions of metropolitan variants. The United Nations had made the nation-state the denominator of international relations. But what should the African nation-state look like? Using Kwame Nkrumah and Ghana as a prime example, but also drawing on other examples from Anglophone and Francophone Africa, this paper examines what it meant to fabricate an "African" nation-state in the 1950s and 1960s.