The Maghreb Generation: The New Pan-Africanists of North Africa (1950-1980)
A Crown Seminar with Paraska Tolan-Szkilnik
The story of Pan-Africanism has primarily been a story of the North Atlantic—a chronicle of Black anglophone men traveling back and forth between Europe and North America attempting to create a community of belonging for members of the Black Diaspora. In this talk, Paraska Tolan-Szkilnik expands on this conventional understanding of the Pan-African movement, arguing that the project of Pan-Africanism was radically transformed by a transracial, transnational, and multilingual generation of artists and activists living in North Africa in the 1960s and 70s. Instead of seeing decolonization as solely claiming land for new states, this Maghreb Generation understood anti-colonial struggle as also about the liberation of the human mind and soul. Based on interviews and primary sources from 25 archives in six countries, Tolan-Szkilnik’s account excavates the voices of these overlooked figures and their role in the expansion of Pan-Africanism into a global movement.
Paraska Tolan-Szkilnik '11 is an assistant professor of African and Middle East history at Suffolk University.