Narrating Nationalist Subjectivities During the Second World War: London, Pan-Africanism, and Black Women in Writing

Advisors: Mamadou Diouf (Columbia), Joanna Lewis (LSE)

Focusing on Black antipathies and alliances, this study explores the ambivalence of British colonial subjects’ nationality in an unripe global society.  The primary agents of debate are itinerant Black women, for they are found to exemplify both the pressures of this period and the necessity of their disavowal in the postwar world.  In effort to expose such nuances, the paper analyzes the existing historical narratives demanded by masculinist chronologies, diplomatic and realist histories, class analysis, nationalist historiography, feminist interventions and postmodern periodizations.  It aspires to an evocative if accurate representation of an era, its subjects, and its griots.

Ken and Una Marson in the BBC headquarters studio. Source: Stephen Bourne, "Mother Country - Britain's Black Community on the Home Front 1939-45" (The History Press)