Sarah Fila-Bakabadio

Sarah Fila-Bakabadio is historian in American and African American Studies and Associate Professor at the University of Cergy-Pontoise/ CY Cergy Paris Université. She is 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, Afro-descendants in Europe and Africans in the 20th and 21st centuries. She has studied African and African American revolutionary connections in the 1960s and 1970s; Black Studies and African Diaspora Studies); the visual representations of the black body and black beauty aesthetics.

In 2016, her doctoral dissertation was turned into a book, 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.




  • "Maya Angelou (1928-2014), et toujours je m'élève", documentary from Anaïs Kien, Toute une histoire, France Culture, October 16, 2021.

Recent publications


Corps et blanchité au prisme de la Blackness",

French Politics, Culture & Society, vol. 39, no. 2, Summer 2021: 53–68

© EHESS/2020


"Fuir la double mort"

Carnet de l'EHESS:

"L'Amérique après George Floyd"

23 novembre 2020


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.