The Carter G. Woodson Institute, U.Va.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute

for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia


My dissertation, Race in Africa, Africa as Diaspora, posits racial structures as transnationally positioned in Nigeria and the U.S. for Black Africans, focusing specifically on the relationship between race, ethnicity, Blackness, Africanness, indigeneity and immigration. Using an ethnography of Nigerians in Houston, Texas, Race in Africa argues that Nigerians’ acts of resisting, perpetuating, and transforming normative forms of racialization is a call to redefine the parameters of race in order to assert its global orientation, as squarely positioned in Post-Independence Africa. I use twentieth century African immigrant historiography, racialized ethnic making, black rhetorical solidarity, and social memories of the Nigeria-Biafra war as four sites of analyses. Ultimately, this dissertation contends that notions of race and blackness are limited to the U.S. as a nation-state, based on what is termed a Middle Passage epistemology. This present definition of race and blackness cannot accommodate the experiences of Post-Independence Africans, who operate in global spheres of racialization produced by western empire-making. This formation includes but extends beyond the Middle Passage. In short, I argue that colonization, imperialism, global capitalism, indigeneity and immigration are fully compatible with notions of race and Blackness for Post-Independence Black Africans.

First Name: 
Chinwe Ezinna
Pre-Doctoral Fellow (African and African Diaspora Studies)
The University of Texas at Austin
Dissertation Title: 
"Race in Africa, Africa as Diaspora: The Transatlantic Racialization of Post-Independence Nigerians"