I have recently completed two books, one on the political practice of the anti-colonial organiser, George Padmore, and a co-edited volume on Decolonization and the Cold War. George Padmore and Decolonization from Below emphasizes the strategies and tactics of a central figure of radical anti-colonial movements in the first half of the twentieth century. By examining the interactions between colonial rule, ‘tribal’ politics in Africa, decolonization, and the tensions of the early Cold War, I ultimately show how the 1950s became the testing ground for interwar antiimperialism that had built anti-colonial politics simultaneously within and outside nationalist visions. I analyse how diasporic notions of ‘nationalism’, and differing opinions of modernity and citizenship in West Africa, collided around issues of postcolonial state building in very specific ways that require not only local but global explanations.
My research now focuses on the intellectual debates contained outside of the structures of formal text manuscripts and, rather, in the everyday letters, editorials, and news items of the ephemeral press. I am examining newspapers in West Africa and the West Indies that often served as a mouthpiece for local nationalist movements. I'm particularly interested in the practices of editorship, journalism, and how the printed page served to facilitate not only national but transnational identifications.