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February 5: Francis Njubi Nesbitt

Francis Njubi Nesbitt will present, African Intellectuals in the Belly of the Beast: Migration, Identity, and the Politics of Exile.

By Leah Halvorson


This paper examines the “double consciousness” of black African intellectual migrants in the North. It argues that the migrants are forced to come to terms with Africanity for the first time in exile. The condition of Africanity is particularly poignant for the intellectual migrants who must negotiate new identities that can no longer depend on the security of nationality and ethnicity. The dilemma of being –not exactly African not African American either– is the peculiar challenge of migrant African scholars. The resolution of this identity crisis is a political act that manifests itself in the lives and work of academics producing three types of migrant intellectuals: the comprador intelligentsia, the postcolonial critics and the progressive exiles. This paper examines each of these categories and argues that we can best understand the crisis by drawing on W.E.B. Du Bois’ theory of double consciousness.

UCLA International Institute