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Bright Gyamfi

Assistant Professor

My interest in history was sparked by an American Ghana-based elementary school teacher and fueled by watching Liberty’s Kids as a child living in North Carolina. After taking an undergraduate African history course, what had started as a mere spark developed into a strong passion, hence my decision to become a historian. Today, I am a scholar of West African and African Diaspora intellectual history, nationalism, Pan-Africanism, Black internationalism, and economic development. I write on African intellectuals who worked to transform and radicalize the study of Africa in academic and intellectual centers around the Atlantic. I have received research fellowships and grants from several organizations and institutions, including the Social Science Research Council and the Fulbright-IIE. My work has appeared in the Journal of African American History, African Studies Review, Africa is a Country, and The Conversation. I hold a BA in History (Honors) and Political Science from the University of Notre Dame, an MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in History from Northwestern University. Before joining UC San Diego, I was a Presidential Fellow at Northwestern University.

My book manuscript, “Embers of Pan-Africanism: Nkrumahist Intellectuals and Decolonization 1960-1980” examines why and how radical ideas emerge and how they change over time. Moreover, it explores how insurgent ideas are sustained after the collapse of a radical government. Specifically, I explore how Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah’s overthrow affected the trajectory of Nkrumahism, a strand of Pan-Africanism and an ideology for African decolonization. 

I love basketball, soccer, and college football, and I also enjoy traveling for archival and oral research. 

Peer-Reviewed Publications

The Africa-Diaspora Orbit: Anani Dzidzienyo’s Contributions to African/Black Studies and Black Liberation,” African Studies Review 66, 2 (2023), 464-89. doi:10.1017/asr.2022.97.

From Nkrumah’s Black Star to the African Diaspora: Ghanaian Intellectual Activists and the Development of Black Studies in the Americas,” The Journal of African American History Special Issue on Reconceptualizing the History of Black Internationalism 106, 4 (2021), 682-705.

Book Review(s)

“Jeffrey S. Ahlman. Living with Nkrumahism: Nation, State, and Pan-Africanism in Ghana.” African Studies Review 2021, 1-3. doi:10.1017/asr.2020.134.

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications         

(with Kwasi Konadu) “Black Lives Matter: How far has the movement come?”  September 8, 2021.

“Pioneiros em Estudos dos Negros,” translated by Jose Luiz Pereira da Costa, March 10, 2021.

“Pioneers in Black Studies,” March 2, 2021.

“What Does it Mean to be a Black Scholar in 2020,” July 12, 2020.

“AfriSem Conference Addresses Decolonizing African Studies,” Program of African Studies News and Events, 30, 1 (2019), 4.