Date of Award

12-1-2002

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Mack H. Jones

Abstract

The last quarter of the twentieth century has revealed the steady decline in the jubilation and promise embodied by symbols of Pan-Africanism, such as the Organization of African Unity and the Pan-African Congress formations. This reality has been consistent with a popular viewpoint at the end of the Cold War that Pan Africanism was declining as a viable instrument for progress. This study details the state of Pan-Africanism in the post-Cold War era in order to understand the nature of its evolution and utility. The research undertaken in this dissertation is based on the assumption that, rather than declining, Pan-Africanism has been readjusting to two dynamics: transformations in the international political economy and the unfolding conditions confronting African communities on the continent and in the Diaspora. The two central positions advanced in this study were that evaluating Pan-Africanism relied on applying a consistent theoretical approach and that conclusions about Pan-Africanism’s viability had to address contemporary grassroots-level perspectives on the movement. The multiple case study approach was employed, consisting of an examination of three grassroots Pan-African organizations located in different regions of the African world. The leaders of each organization were interviewed and questionnaires were administered to the members. A comparative historical analysis of the 6thand 7thPan-African Congresses was also conducted. The data generated revealed a significant level of Pan-African activism and commitment on the organizational and grassroots levels. Also, the contemporary elements of Pan-Afi-icanism demonstrated by the organizations in turn contributed to the development of a theory of Pan-African Nationalism. The conclusions reached emphasized three aspects of post-Cold War Pan Africanism: (1) rather than declining, Pan-Africanism was in a process of transformation and within this process a number of critical issues were emerging that are being confronted at the grassroots level; (2) although the organizations supported the basic assumptions of Pan-African Nationalism, their emphasis on grassroots organizing and recognition of cultural identity had to be adjusted and sharpened to reflect contemporary realities; and (3) finally, in addition to ongoing support for the unification of African states, the promotion of linkages between the grassroots-based organizations throughout the Diaspora has emerged as a critical aspect of Pan-Africanism.

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