Identifier

etd-11082014-050759

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Geography and Anthropology

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

In this dissertation, I study the black revolutionary nationalist geography of the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM) and the anti-racist space of Black Power. I adapt social theorist Henri Lefebvre’s concept of representational space to show how New Afrikan revolutionary nationalism intersects with space, place, and scalar politics in a representational space of black radicalism that confounds dominant notions of race, cultural identity, and national belonging in the United States. NAIM originated in 1968 when several-hundred black nationalist delegates met at the National Black Government conference in Detroit to create the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika. New Afrikan nationalism proclaims its main goal to be the achievement of black liberation through the establishment of a black-majority nation-state in the Deep South. NAIM also represents a trend of Black Power distinguished by geographical thought and spatial practices rooted in long-held ideas of black territorial independence in America and the scalar politics of pan-African internationalism. New Afrikan nationalists built their representational space of black radicalism to include a material dimension comprised of physical mobilization sites that extend from the racially segregated urban space of inner city black neighborhoods to the boundless global networks of transnational social movements. Nationalists also used discursive place-making practices to create an imagined geography of black liberation that was articulated in organizational literature, public speeches, media appearances, and alternative map-making. I ground my research theoretically in constructionist concepts of space, place, scale, race, and nation, and borrow ideas from social movement theory, feminist theory, political economy, and Black Power studies scholarship. I combine hybrid research and analytical methodologies that include ethnographic fieldwork approaches, place-frame discourse analysis, semiotics, and geographic information systems. I conducted much of my fieldwork in the vicinity of Jackson, Mississippi, a central place in NAIM’s struggle since the late 1960s. My ethnographic methodology triangulates interviewing, participant observation, and archival research to learn about NAIM’s geography from activist histories, public events, and historical documents. As the first geographic study of New Afrikan nationalism, my work adds an original cultural and historical study of African American space to the canon of geographical research.

Date

2014

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Regis, Helen

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