The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Non-GC Events

September 21 Africa~Diaspora Forum Presents: Lara Putnam, “The Travels and Terrain: F.E.M. Hercules, Pan-Africanist Networks, and the Risk of Invisible Surroundings”

NYU History Department & Center For International Reseach In The Humanities

KJCC Room 607


Lunch Will Be Served

The last decade has seen an outpouring of scholarship on the international history of racism and antiracism. The digitization of ever-greater swathes of the world’s printed past, too, has made new research techniques possible.  As a result, the international dimensions of struggles long studied within national frames have received new attention. We have gained vivid portraits of activists, organizations, and publications that linked far-flung sites.  Which aspects of the history of struggles against racism do we understand better now that we are routinely remembering to look beyond borders? What are we failing to see?  This talk traces the life of activist, journalist, and preacher FEM Hercules (1888-1943), showing how it connected Venezuela, Trinidad, England, South Africa, and the United States.  Prof. Putnam will then trace the “backstories” of certain dynamics Hercules encountered, to suggest the crucial continuing importance of place-based social historical research.  If we focus too much on that which travels, and not enough on the surrounding terrain, she suggests, we risk misunderstanding the drivers of connection and change within the African diaspora.