SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

The Politics of Sameness and Otherness: pan-Africanism, nationalism and recognition in postcolonial Africa

The Politics of Sameness and Otherness
Dr. Julia Gallagher

Date: 20 January 2016Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 20 January 2016Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4426

Type of Event: Seminar

The Politics of sameness and otherness: pan-Africanism, nationalism and recognition in postcolonial Africa

This paper explores the entanglements and tensions inherent in recognition in international relationships through an exploration of debates about pan-Africanism and state-based nationalism in Africa.
Pan-Africanism is an articulation of shared identity, a ‘we-feeling’ rooted in experiences of colonialism and racism, and longer-standing shared cultural traits. However, pan-Africanism, already in competition with local ethnic and regional identities, quickly ran up against the growth of state-based nationalism that developed as African countries became independent.
The paper uses debates between these competing versions of African identity to explore the tensions involved in politics of recognition. It claims that processes of recognition are characterised by aggression and self-assertion as well as affection and the creation of a ‘we-feeling’. The tension between pan-Africanism and state-nationalism should be seen as both necessary and necessarily contradictory parts of recognition in African international relations.

Julia Gallagher - a SOAS graduate - is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research focuses on Africa in international politics, and particularly on ideas of Africa and of the international. She has published two books, Britain and Africa under Blair: in pursuit of the good state (2011) and Images of Africa: creation, negotiation and subversion (2015), and is now finishing a book exploring Zimbabwean ideas of the international.

Organiser: Dr. Reem Abou-El-Fadl, Dr. Michael Buehler, Dr. Matt Eagleton Pierce and Dr. Meera Sabaratnam

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