At what age does one become an intellectual, join a public? Can one articulate membership in a public, say, by drawing on newspapers instead of reading them, as West African children did? This talk will explore the ways that West African schoolchildren in the twentieth century push us to redefine common conceptions of public spheres. It will argue that by centering education as a condition for the emergence of publics, and children as protagonists in their development, we can build new understandings of both twentieth-century West African intellectual life and public spheres.
Merve Fejzula is a historian of modern Africa and its diaspora, specializing in twentieth-century West Africa's global connections. Her research interests bridge African intellectual and cultural history and Black internationalism.
Merve's work has been the recipient of prizes like the Institute of Historical Research's Sarah Pollard Prize, as well as fellowships from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the University of Chicago Library, and the Royal Historical Society, among others.
Department of History, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies UTSC, Centre for Caribbean Studies, African Studies Program, Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies, Centre for the Study of the United States