Web Site Explores Link Between African Diaspora, Global Politics
A Web site exploring the connections between the African Diaspora and major historical developments of the 20th century has debuted on the Internet.
The interactive Web site is the product of a collaboration among faculty, graduate students and technical staff at Northwestern University to create a virtual archive housing scholarly documents that reveal the linkages between transnational Black politics, social movements and world historical events of the 20th century.
Dr. Michael Hanchard, a political scientist at Northwestern University, conceived the idea for “Global Mappings: A Political Atlas of the African Diaspora,” the official title of the Web site.
Development of the Web site began in 1998 with funds from the Ford Foundation. The undertaking represents the first major project of the Institute of Diasporic Studies at Northwestern University.
The Institute is jointly supported by Northwestern’s Program of African Studies and the African American Studies Department to generate, promote and support research on the African Diaspora.
Hanchard has observed that high school curricula teach most U.S. students about the impact of the French, Russian and American revolutions among people throughout the world. What is less known is the impact the African Diaspora has had on 20th century social movements and independence struggles, according to Hanchard. He notes that the Global Mappings project will document how the Haitian Revolution, the Harlem Renaissance, Ghanaian Independence Movement and other developments have also had influence throughout the world.
Northwestern University officials believe that the African Diaspora has not been analyzed in terms of its impact on modern politics. They note that scholars have traditionally viewed the African Diaspora in terms of the slave trade, the Middle Passage and the culture Africans brought to the New World. The Global Mappings project attempts to capture the African Diaspora as a continuous development seen through analysis of global politics.
The Web site can be viewed at <http://diaspora.northwestern.edu/>.
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