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Professor Hakim Adi

Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora | +44 (0) 1243 816213

Professor Hakim Adi, BA Hons., PhD (London): Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora.

Office: New Hall N124

I was trained as a historian of Africa but my research interests have broadened to include the history of African diaspora as well as African history particularly in the twentieth century. My earlier research and publications focused on the history of the African diaspora in Britain, a relatively new subject for academic study, and in particular on the political history of West Africans in Britain, and the influence of Communism and Pan–Africanism on anti-colonial activism. This work sought to demonstrate not only the important links that were established between those in the African continent and its diaspora but also that Africans and those of African descent have played a significant but often neglected role in the history of Britain.

Although focused on Britain my research on such organisations as the West African Students’ Union was necessarily also international in scope and led to further research and publications on the history of the Africans in Britain in previous centuries, as well as to research on various aspects of the Pan-African movement and the influence of Communism on Africa and the African diaspora in the first half of the twentieth century. That research led to my most recent project focusing on the Communist International and its activities in Africa and amongst the African diaspora (principally in the United States, the Caribbean, Britain and France) from 1919-1939.

As one of the few historians specialising in the history of the African diaspora in Britain, my work has led to many media appearances, work with museums and archives and the publication of three history books for children.​


Undergraduate teaching

  • Africa and the African Diaspora in the Modern World (Year 1)
  • Colonialism and Anti-Colonialism in Africa (Year 2)
  • The African Diaspora in Modern Britain (Year 2)
  • Pan-Africanism (Year 3)



Pan-Africanism and Communism: The Communist International, Africa and the Diaspora, 1919-1939 (Africa World Press, 2013)

Belonging in Europe – The African Diaspora and Work (London: Routledge, 2010) Joint editor with C. Bressey

Pan-African History – Political Figures from Africa and the Diaspora from 1787 (London/New York: Routledge, 2003) Joint author with M. Sherwood

West Africans in Britain 1900-1960: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism and Communism (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1998)

Chapters in Books

‘African Political Thinkers in Britain,’ in S. Manz and P.Panayi (eds.) Refugees and Cultural Transfer in Britain: An Introduction (London: Ashgate, forthcoming)

‘Amy Ashwood Garvey and the Nigerian Progress Union,’ in J. Byfield (ed.) Gendering the African Diaspora (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010) pp.199-219

‘Communism and Black Liberation,’ in Michael O. West, Fanon C. Wilkins and William G. Martin (eds.) The Black International: From Toussaint to Tupac (North Carolina University Press, 2009) pp.155-79

‘George Padmore and the 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress,’ in F. Baptiste and R. Lewis (eds.) George Padmore: Pan-African Revolutionary (Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 2008) pp.66-97

‘The Sons of Africa’, in A. Torrington et al, (eds.) Equiano: Enslavement, Resistance and Abolition, (Birmingham: The Equiano Society and Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, 2007) pp. 78-84

‘Black People in Britain,’ in D. Hamilton and R.J. Blyth (eds.) Representing Slavery, (London: Lund Humphries, 2007) pp.92-102

‘Fragments in the History of the Visual Culture of Anti-colonial Struggle’ (with Anandi Ramamurthy) in S. Faulkner and A. Ramamurthy (eds.) Visual Culture and Decolonisation in Britain (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006) pp.237-263

‘The African Diaspora and Anti-Colonialism in Africa’ in T. Falola (ed). The Dark Webs: Perspectives on Colonialism in Africa, (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2005) pp.75-97

‘In the Heart of the Empire: Nigerian Anti-Colonial Activity in Britain 1900-60’ in T. Falola (ed) Nigeria in the 20th Century (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2002) pp.315-333

Articles in Academic Journals

‘The Comintern and Black Workers in Britain and France, 1919-1937,’ Immigrants and Minorities vol. 28, nos. 2-3, (2010) pp.224-245

‘Pan-Africanism and Communism: the Comintern, the ‘Negro Question’ and the First International Conference of Negro Workers, Hamburg 1930,’ in African and Black Diaspora vol. 1, no.2, (2008) pp.237-255

‘Combating Racism and the Issue of Reparations,’ International Journal of African Renaissance Studies, vol. 2, no. 2 (2007) pp.250-254

‘The New Imperialism,’ in Radical History Review, 95 (2006) pp.108-115

‘Forgotten Comrade? Desmond Buckle - An African Communist in Britain,’ Science and Society, vol. 70, no.1 (2006) pp. 2-46

‘The African Diaspora, “Development” and Modern African Political Theory’ in Review of African Political Economy, vol. 29 no.92 (2002) pp.237-251

‘Pan-Africanism and West African Nationalism in Britain’ in African Studies Review, vol.43, no.1 (2002) pp. 69-82


Television Interviews

Walter Tull: Forgotten Hero, BBC 4, 2008

Ebony Towers, BBC 4, 2002

Hidden Passions, Channel 4, 2002

Hidden History – Samuel Coleridge Taylor, BBC Knowledge, 2000

Hidden History – Harold Moody, BBC Knowledge, 2000

Britain’s Slave Trade, Channel 4, Channel, 1999

Paul Robeson – Here I Stand, PBS (US), 1999

Joseph Emidy - The Lost Composer, HTV, 1997

Hidden Empire - ‘A Son of Africa - The Slave Narrative of Olaudah Equiano’, BBC 2, 1996

Radio Interviews

The Bicentenary Radio Adelaide (Australia), 2007

Slavery and Abolition, Voice of Cape Radio (South Africa), 2007

The Instant Guide to the British Transatlantic Slave Trade – BBC World Service, 2007

Passage of Time - Uncovering the Untold Histories of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Radio London, 2007

Meeting of Minds –The Fifth Pan-African Congress, BBC Radio 3, 2006

The Great Debates: Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, BBC Radio 4, 2006

The Story of Africa, BBC World Service, 2001

PHD Supervision

I would be happy to supervise students researching any aspect of the history of Africa or the African diaspora.

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