Crossing Boundaries and the Creation of African Consciousness: The Continental Influence of James Aggrey

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Fall 2012

Project Description/Abstract

This project aims to contribute to the emerging sub-field of “global intellectual history” which seeks to examine how ideas move across boundaries and are taken up and adapted in new locations. The key figure of the current work is James Aggrey who was born in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) but moved to America where he received advanced education at Columbia University. He then went on two African tours in the 1920s where he visited nineteen countries and interacted with tens of thousands of Africans across the continent. Aggrey’s talks combined western notions of race with his own theories of “consciousness of kind” to encourage African individuals to see themselves as “Africans.” I hope to use funds from this grant to conduct archival research in the National Archives of Ghana to better understand Aggrey’s early political education from his involvement with an early Ghanaian political organization in the 1890s.

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