Transnational Histories, Nodes of Encounter, and Global Blackness

Images from here, here, and here.

Mougoué’s second book project, Transnational Histories, Nodes of Encounter, and Global Blackness, focuses on individuals of African descent at the forefront of spreading Baha’i, a religion with tenets of racial and gender equality, in nonwhite communities worldwide in the turbulent period of Jim Crow and the wane of European rule in Africa. The project uses the faith’s growth during this politically turbulent period, from 1950 to the 1970s, to examine new spaces of belonging and new postcolonial Black identities forged through transnational racial solidarity. Mougoué’s study of Baha’i will show new interconnected transnational connections that enrich our understandings of new dynamics of global racial political projects during an era of Global South solidarities and activism.

This project contributes to transnational history, the study of the circulations of ideas and people across national boundaries (Paisley and Scully, 2019: 1). More specifically, it contributes to the burgeoning field of transnational history in the postwar era, traversing Africa from Uganda to Cameroon, disrupting boundaries in scholarship, and recognizing connections that cross them. It complicates narratives about settler identities based on white experiences on the continent, examining how black people worldwide reconfigured (post)colonial identities through racial projects, forging networks based on racial/cultural/religious solidarity throughout the world. Scholarly understandings of transnational mobilities and histories have neglected such hybrid identities.

This book project also unearths individuals ignored by scholarship on Pacific Studies, illuminating ties between individuals of African descent and Asian/Oceanic communities. Most scholarship on the history of Blacks in the Pacific highlight relations between African American servicemen and Pacific islanders during World War II, not people born in Africa, part of a general neglect of ties between nonwhite individuals. Little historical scholarship connects African transnational history to indigenous communities in the South Pacific.