This essay reflects on the history of the African diaspora—both as an academic and as a political project. The study of black peoples in academic organizations from 1945 to 1990 problematically formed part of civil rights, nation-building, and Cold War agendas. The result: a distancing and isolation of people in the diaspora from each other. Today there is an explosion of African diaspora studies in the academy, but what of the political project?

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