Fifty Years after 1968: Research on the Global 1960s, Part 4: Black Power in the World in the Global 1960s

AHA Session 241
African American Intellectual History Society 2
Saturday, January 6, 2018: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Hampton Room (Omni Shoreham, East Lobby)
Premilla Nadasen, Barnard College, Columbia University
Premilla Nadasen, Barnard College, Columbia University

Session Abstract

Black Power burst on to the global stage as a radical political slogan in the summer of 1966, to challenge the stubborn racial hierarchies in place in the United States. But the idea rapidly grew in scope and influence, quickly crossing borders and inspiring a host of other calls for liberation from historical and contemporary racial injustices. The ideas of Black Power traveled with people, media, and literature across the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. These papers introduce cases of Black Power in the world, and its productive dynamics and possible tensions.

In this session, presenters consider Black Power activists and intellectuals, and the impact of their encounters with other people and movements in Africa, the Pacific and Asia. Ashley Farmer discusses how women involved in Pan-African-inspired protests and meetings shaped diasporic discourses on Black Power and black liberation. David Romine examines early articulations of Black Power as they traveled across and through postcolonial Accra, a center of Pan-Africanist thought and politics. Naoko Koda explores the influence of Black Power in Japan, focusing on encounters between American activists and Japanese activists in the 1960s. Quito Swan’s paper highlights the activities of Papua New Guinea’s Nuigini Black Power Group, founded in 1970. Together, these presentations explore the global reach of a key intellectual influence on many social movements in the global 1960s and beyond, and a critical part of the legacy of the global 1960s.

Social movements of the 1960s powerfully define the world we live in today. From citizen protests to decolonization struggles, collective action created and responded to global events and ideas.

Welcoming in the fifty-year anniversary of the iconic year of 1968, this workshop brings together scholars working in various areas to assess the state of historical research on the 1960s. It will challenge historians working across regions to consider how to link their case studies and thus consider what can be meant by the "global 1960s." It will also stage discussions on key ideas in the sixties, such as Black Power and Third Worldism, that transformed understandings of race, ethnicity, and power.

The workshop consists of six panel sessions and one roundtable. The sessions formally address one of the following, although themes appear across sessions: Black Power in the World, Third Worldism, Cold War Conservatism, the Welfare State, Mass Higher Education, and the Violence Question in Protest. The roundtable will feature brief, open-ended "provocations" based on scholars' works-in-progress and will allow ample time for discussion with the audience. This workshop will put into conversation scholars who would not usually present together, fostering a truly global perspective.