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Title: Becoming global race women : the travels and networks of black female activist-intellectuals, 1920-1966
Author: Umoren, Imaobong Denis
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 6189
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis explores how a group of Caribbean and African American activist-intellectuals became global race women in the early to mid twentieth century. Global race women, is the term I use to describe middle-class, public women of African ancestry who were committed to aiding the progress of the darker races, especially, but not exclusively, blacks. They frequently travelled, both literally and imaginatively, which allowed them to develop a cosmopolitan sensibility, forge multiracial coalitions with Africans, Asians, Caribbeans, and Europeans, and practice transnational activism. Their globalism saw them identify, think, and act on a global basis that was tied to the global African diaspora. But it did not distract them from the local considerations that shaped their politics. For global race women, the global and the local were intertwined. This study centres on three protagonists including the Jamaican writer and broadcaster Una Marson (1905-1965), the Martiniquan journalist Paulette Nardal (1896-1985), and the American anthropologist and writer Eslanda Robeson (1895-1965). While the three women did not call themselves global race women, they embodied its characteristics. Their identities as global race women saw them grapple with the race and gender problem as a global phenomenon. They participated in race-based civil rights organisations, anti-fascist campaigns, the League of Nations, United Nations, feminist, and women’s groups. By embracing a range of strategies, they forged networks that crossed ideological, religious, racial, and gendered divisions. The original contribution this thesis makes is the argument that physical or imagined travel and overlapping global social and professional networks were critical to the practice of becoming a global race woman. The significance of this work lays in its placing of black women at the centre of globally connected conversations about cosmopolitanism, anti-fascism, transnational activism, feminism, the end of empires, and the long global freedom struggle between the 1920s and 1960s.
Supervisor: Tuck, Stephen; Keire, Mara Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; black activist-intellectuals travel ; networks