James H. Sweet
"Caribbean Colonizers: Assimilation and Diasporic Imagination in the French Empire, 1880-1960"
Working Dissertation Title:
"Africa and the Atlantic Imagination: An Intellectual History of Empire and Black Internationalism in the Twentieth Century"
I study the intellectual histories of Africa and the Caribbean in the twentieth century, with a particular emphasis on the evolution of racial thought. More generally, I am interested in migration, black internationalism, and the transnational flow of ideas.
My dissertation examines a group of people from the Caribbean who became colonial administrators in the French and British colonies of Africa in the early twentieth-century. I am investigating how their experiences in Africa and their exchanges with African intellectuals effected major changes in their thinking about Africans, colonialism, racial unity, and empire. I am also tracing the links between these Caribbean administrators and the black internationalist movements of the interwar period to illuminate how colonial ideas about race, progress, and geography informed black internationalism.