n Critical Arts : A Journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies - African intellectuals in the belly of the beast : migration, identity and the politics of African intellectuals in the North

Volume 17, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0256-0046



This paper examines the 'double consciousness' of black African intellectual migrants in the North. It argues that the migrant is forced to come to terms with Africanité for the first time in the North. This condition of Africanite is particularly poignant for intellectual migrant who must negotiate new identities that can no longer depend on the security of nationality and ethnicity. This dilemma of being - not exactly African but not Afro-European or African-American - is the peculiar challenge of migrant African scholars. The resolution of this identity crisis is a political act that manifests itself in the lives and work of academics producing three 'types' of migrant intellectuals: the comprador intelligentsia, the postcolonial critics and the progressive exiles. This paper examines each of these categories and argues that we can best understand the crisis by drawing on W.E.B. DuBois' (1903) theory of 'double consciousness.'

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