Sarah Fila-Bakabadio is historian in American and African American Studies and Associate Professor at CY Cergy Paris Université. She is the editor-in-chief of African Diaspora (Brill) and a member of the research center AGORA (EA 7392).
Her research explores the Black Atlantic. It addresses the intellectual, cultural, and political circulations of African-Americans and European Afro-descendants in the 20th and 21st centuries. She has studied African American revolutionary connections to Africa in the 1960s and 1970s; the formation and migration of studies (Black Studies and African Diaspora Studies); the visual representations of the black body and black beauty.
In 2016, she published Africa on my mind : une histoire sociale des afrocentrismes afro-américains (Les indes savantes). This study traces the origins of the notion of Afrocentrism and describes the practices of reafricanization it initiated in the United States from 1965 to the early 2000s. She also co-edited several special issues and wrote many articles and books chapters.
"Artistes et militantes, réinventer l'anthropologie" (with Sarah Frioux-Salgas), Le cours de l'histoire, France Culture, 8 February 2024.
Recent publications and Honors
“ Des greffes aux lignages: une histoire des panafricanismes ”
François-Xavier Fauvelle and Anne Lafont
L'Afrique et le monde: histoires renouées, de la Préhistoire au XXIe siècle,
Paris, La Découverte.
To be published on September 8, 2022.
Laureate, season 2 (2023)
A History of Dancemobile, Black Dance festival, New York (1967-1985)
Africa on My Mind : Histoire sociale de l'afrocentrisme aux États-Unis.
Les Indes savantes, 2016.
Translation of the back cover
African on my Mind explores Afrocentrism. The term Afrocentrism refers to an idea, practices and schools of thought meant to observe the world from an « African » point of view. In the United States, it spread in the 1990s with the emergence of scholarly Afrocentrisms led by three historians : Molefi Asante, Maulana Karenga and Leonard Jeffries. It initiated concepts, social and cultural uses few today acknowledge the origins of. From classes on ancient Egypt, to Kwanzaa, the « Black Christmas », to Ghanian Barbie dolls, going through rites of passage, Afrocentrism turned into Afrocentrisms and entered African-Americans’ daily lives to represent their African heritage.
In this interdisciplinary study, Sarah Fila-Bakabadio proposes an original exploration of milieus usually difficult to access to. She proposes a genealogy and notes the close links between the African and African-American histories that, from African American nationalisms to African independences, have interacted in spaces today called the Black Atlantic or the African Diaspora.
This study offers an original vision of a phenomenon ill-known beyond the controversial debates it sometimes arouses. It is a journey that, from churches in Washington to ghettos in New York, interrogates identity construction, memories and imaginaries of Africa.
New issue of African Diaspora (Brill) is available:
Volume 15, issue 1
More information on African Diaspora: 👇