HIGHLIGHT: WARC Public Lecture Series: Professor Ismael Montana: African Diaspora Origins of Pan-Africanism: Revisiting the Ties that Bound »

As part of his official visit to the West African Research Center (WARC) in his capacity as President of the West African Research Association, Professor Ismael Montana, Historian, at the University of Norther Illinois, gave a presentation on the above topic with his colleague, Professor Omar Guéye, History Department, University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) moderating the session.


After being introduced by the Director of WARC, Professor Ousmane Séne, Montana elaborated on the diasporic connection between Africa and the Americas. As he put it: « the idea of diasporic connection between Africas and the Americas existed from the very start of the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This idea was reinforced by ancestral reverence, particularly in African religions. Hence there developed a sense among Africans on both sides of the Atlantic that they belonged to a Pan-African world, a world of diaspora that embraced many lands across the Atlantic Ocean »


Still on the same subject Professor Montana demonstrated how the concept of African Diaspora gained respectability in Academia both in the US and the African mainland as well as in other parts of the world: « Before the 1970’s, very few scholars, black or white studying African history adopted a diasporic perspective. Among those few were the Northwestern University anthropologist, Melville Herskovits who began in the 1920’s to study African cultural survivals in the Americas and argued that African retentions could be found in both black secular and religious life. But from about the mid-1966’s, greater attention was given in the academic community to the idea of the African diaspora, encouraged by the International Congress of African historians in Tanzania in 1965 which had a session entitled « The Africans Abroad or the African Diaspora ». Thereafter, the concept of African Diaspora obtained academic respectability and gained support from universities, colleges and professional associations worldwide »


The seminal presentation was followed by a literal battery of questions and contributions the more so as many dons and students from the UCAD Department of History were in attendance.

The session registered 37 including those who followed on Youtube.