An Archive of African Exile

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.