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WN

W.R. Nadège Compaoré

University of Toronto
Paper Topic: Black Internationalism as Erased IR: Locating Gender and Race in American Foreign Policy
Paper Abstract: Pan-Africanism tends to be viewed as merely a political ideology that speaks to Black resistance and self-determination globally, with much of the literature on the topic emanating from African studies and Black Studies, without systematically linking such debates to International Relations (IR) scholarship. Moreover, dominant narratives of pan-Africanism have mostly highlighted the role of male leaders such as W. E. Dubois, while largely erasing key female contributions who have thus been doubly erased from existing discourses. This paper argues that this erasure is due to the fact that pan-Africanist female leaders have mainly operated via informal and unofficial channels, the significance of which has remained understated and undertheorized in IR literature. By retracing the intellectual and political leadership of pan-Africanist pioneer Ida Gibbs Hunt (1862-1957) as an empirical point of departure, the paper uses a critical epistemology anchored within informal processes of IR and informed by Black feminist thought, to examine the erasure of race and gender dimensions within key narratives of American foreign policy. The paper speaks to key dynamics between Black internationalism and American foreign policy, particularly around three policy priorities promoted by pan-Africanist leaders, namely: (1) decolonization, (2) Black diplomatic representation, and (3) disarmament.


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