20 Feb An Intimate History of the African Revolution: Kwame Nkrumah and the Women in Question
Jean Allman (History, Washington University)
Thursday, February 20 / 5:00 PM
Kwame Nkrumah, the leader of Ghana’s independence struggle and its first Prime Minister and then President, was a major theorist of pan-Africanism and neocolonialism and arguably one of the most important leaders of what was known in the 1960s as the “African Revolution.” During the course of his rule, Nkrumah attracted around him a small cohort of expatriate women, who served in various official capacities, but who also became his intimate confidantes and remained so, even after the military coup that ended his rule in 1966. This trusted cohort has ultimately shaped, in profound ways, how Nkrumah is remembered today and what evidence historians now have at hand to reconstruct not only the conflicted history of Ghana’s first Republic (1960-1966), but the story of the ill-fated African Revolution. Based on private papers and correspondence (some only recently accessible), newspapers, and government documents, this paper explores the role of the secret, the intimate, an the affective in the consolidation, the disruption, and ultimately the historical reconstruction of state power in post-colonial Africa.
Sponsored by the IHC’s African Studies RFG, the Dept. of History, the Dept. of Feminist Studies, and the Dept. of Black Studies.