“This rich volume will interest scholars and students of Africa, the African diaspora, world history, legal history, and international affairs. Using exile as a theoretical framework, each of the chapters offers an analysis that is contextualized, complex, and challenging to assumptions about identity, power, and politics. An enjoyable read, this book will generate readership and invite much-needed debate.”
— Lorelle Semley, author of To Be Free and French: Citizenship in France’s Atlantic Empire
The enforced removal of individuals has long been a political tool used by African states to create generations of asylum seekers, refugees, and fugitives. Historians often present such political exile as a potentially transformative experience for resilient individuals, but this reading singles the exile out as having an exceptional experience. This collection seeks to broaden that understanding within the global political landscape by considering the complexity of the experience of exile and the lasting effects it has had on African peoples. The works collected in this volume seek to recover the diversity of exile experiences across the continent. This corpus of testimonials and documents is presented as an “archive” that provides evidence of a larger, shared experience of persecution and violence. This consideration reads exiles from African colonies and nations as active participants within, rather than simply as victims of, the larger global diaspora. In this way, exile is understood as a way of asserting political dissidence and anti-imperial strategies. Broken into three distinct parts, the volume considers legal issues, geography as a strategy of anticolonial resistance, and memory and performative understandings of exile. The experiences of political exile are presented as fundamental to an understanding of colonial and postcolonial oppression and the history of state power in Africa.
“Rather than a rare punishment inflicted on dissident elites, exile is revealed in this important volume as one of the defining features of African history since the colonial era. In their deeply researched and thematically linked essays, contributors present instances of exile from around the continent that illustrate the ambitions and limits of state power, extra-territorial strategies of resistance, and the capacity of relocation to spur both suffering and creativity. Africans in Exile masterfully enriches our understanding of two key themes in African history, mobility and community, and their salience for politics and individual experience over the past century and into the present.”
— Lisa A. Lindsay, author of Atlantic Bonds: A Nineteenth Century Odyssey from America to Africa