• Wendy Wilson-Fall
  • Africana Studies Program, Lafayette College
  • Abstract Title: Practical Pan-Africanism: Global Musics, Mobility, and Blackness

Abstract: Global Africa is now visible to us in new ways. For the first time, the level of contact between old and new African diasporas has created possibilities of communication and self-interrogation among thousands of people of diverse class, national, and ethnic backgrounds. Part of the concern of this paper to bring attention to the great speed at which Africa is making its imprint on the digital world in spite of the rather low level of its internet capacity, and to discuss the current unprecedented number of opportunities to view, and be viewed, by Africa from afar. Foremost among these phenomena are music videos, and the appearance of African youth in multifocal narratives that describe diaspora and an imagined African homeland. The paper discusses the challenges and opportunities for engaging and imagining African futures inherent in these New African Diaspora cosmopolitan voices that are often in alliance with youth of the Old Diaspora.


Bio: Wendy Wilson-Fall is Associate Professor and Program Chair of the Africana Studies Program at Lafayette College. Wilson-Fall has a PhD from Howard University’s African Studies Center, with a concentration in Social Anthropology. Her research engages questions of socio-cultural change and ethnic identity. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on these themes, including work from her field research in West Africa as well as her work in the U.S. on African American family narratives. Her book, Memories of Madagascar and the Black Atlantic was released in October 2015 by Ohio University Press. In 2018 she conducted fieldwork on youth from Fulani herder communities in north-central Senegal, and is currently working on an article on that topic. Wilson-Fall has been awarded a Mellon Digital Research Humanities award, and a Mellon Scholar in African American historical studies at the Library Company of Philadelphia. Recently in fall 2018 she delivered the Distinguished Africanist Lecture for the African Studies Workshop at the University of Chicago, and in spring of that year gave several lectures in Dakar, Senegal on her recent writing project on black identities.