Merve Fejzula

Woman wearing a purple headscarf against a dark background
Assistant Professor
214 Read Hall

Merve Fejzula is an intellectual and political historian of modern Africa and its diaspora, specializing in twentieth-century West Africa's global connections. Her research interests bridge African intellectual history, Black internationalism, and the history of political thought. She is currently at work on a book manuscript, which examines the transformation of the Black public sphere between 1947-77 through an intellectual history of negritude - the philosophy of Black humanism most associated with the francophone Black world. This study reconstructs a network of francophone and anglophone West African and diasporic intellectuals and institutions crucial to negritude's dissemination and conceptual reinvention. It argues that this history pushes us to reexamine conventional understandings of the development of public spheres.

Merve's research has been funded by numerous fellowships and grants, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Harry Ransom Center, the Royal Historical Society, and the Beinecke Library, among others. She began as a Preparing Future Faculty Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Missouri in 2019, after completing her PhD at the University of Cambridge. Her PhD was funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust and was awarded Cambridge's Sarah Norton Prize.

Research Interests
  • African intellectual and political history
  • Imperial history
  • Black political thought
  • Black internationalism
Courses Taught
  • Women in African History (HIST 3800, BLSTU 3800, WGST 3005)
  • History of Modern Africa (HIST 1800, BLSTU 1800)
  • Race and Politics in South Africa (study abroad)
Recent Publications

"The Cosmopolitan Historiography of Twentieth-Century Federalism," Historical Journal (2020):

Review of Gary Wilder’s Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World, History: Journal of the Historical Association 102, no. 350 (2017): 344-46.

Review of Andy Fry’s Paris Blues: African American Music and French Popular Culture, 1920-1960 entitled, “(Un)Cool Cats: Challenging the Traditional View of the French Response to Jazz,” Journal of Jazz Studies 10, no. 2 (2014): 203-209: