Global East African Students in a Late Imperial World

Saturday, January 9, 2016: 10:00 AM
Room 313/314 (Hilton Atlanta)
Timothy Nicholson, State University of New York at Delhi
This paper shows how East African students transformed their world and the world of the British Empire in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Using their relatively privileged positions in their homelands but denied any further education locally, black students hoping for a better future worked to obtain their own educational opportunities and scholarships. Local politicians, teachers, and parents emerged as key actors by helping them attend school and make connections to the wider world. East African students moved across the globe, studying in other African countries and in places as diverse as India, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Straddling the decolonization divide, young East African men and women established their own transnational networks that spread word of educational opportunities, facilitated movement within the British world, and provided assistance dealing with new cultures. To explore this history, this paper uses documents from the British, American and East African national archives along with oral histories from East African students of the era.  This approach allows for an important examination of the personal and political world of late colonial and early postcolonial African youth. East African students developed new understandings of both local issues and global paradigms of authority, using imperial systems of education to prepare themselves for new, post-colonial realities.
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