Mobilizing Ideas

Starting in January 2017, I will be a contributor to the Mobilizing Ideas Daily Disruption blog, hosted by Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Social Movements. In addition to discussing current events, my own research, and recent scholarship in the field, I’ll also bring in musings about African Diaspora social movements that span time and geography.  Topics I’ll likely touch on include repression, culture and identity, charismatic leadership, solidarity, and women and gender. For example, what role has government infiltration played in undermining black liberation movements such as the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the Black Power Movement, and what implications might those cases hold for present-day protests (e.g. Black Lives Matter) in the age of the NSA, Wikileaks, hacks, etc.? Or, what is the relationship between gender, racial identity, and environmental justice movements in Latin America?

My own research focuses on enslaved people’s rebellions in the 18th century, and draws heavily on African Diaspora history. Several scholars in that field have made advances in challenging notions of how the modern era came into being, and bringing to fore the contributions of enslaved Africans and African descendants through contentious activities. Maroon wars, uprisings, poisonings, military participation, and quotidian forms of resistance shaped black politics, eventually ending enslavement in the Atlantic World and pushing off colonial yokes – most dramatically in Saint Domingue, or what became the independent nation of Haiti. The Haitian Revolution was the most successful rebellion in the modern era, and arguably the most radical event of the Age of Revolutions. The forms of resistance that preceded it, and were subsequently inspired by it, make up a tactical repertoire unique to the African Diaspora that social movement scholars might find exciting.

I’m happy to be part of the Mobilizing Ideas forum to broaden public understandings of social movements past and present, and from a black perspective.



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