Edward W. Blyden's Intellectual Transformations
Afropublicanism, Pan-Africanism, Islam, and the Indigenous West African Church
Ruth Simms Hamilton African Diaspora
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
Sales Date: 2019-08-01
Distinguished by its multidisciplinary dexterity, this book is a masterfully woven reinterpretation of the life, travels, and scholarship of Edward W. Blyden, arguably the most influential Black intellectual of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It traces Blyden’s various moments of intellectual transformation through the multiple lenses of ethnicity, race, religion, and identity in the historical context of Atlantic exchanges, the Back-to-Africa movement, colonialism, and the global Black intellectual movement. In this book Blyden is shown as an African public intellectual who sought to reshape ideas about Africa circulating in the Atlantic world. The author also highlights Blyden’s contributions to different public spheres in Europe, in the Jewish Diaspora, in the Muslim and Christian world of West Africa, and among Blacks in the United States. Additionally, this book places Blyden at the pinnacle of Afropublicanism in order to emphasize his public intellectualism, his rootedness in the African historical experience, and the scholarship he produced about Africa and the African Diaspora. As Blyden is an important contributor to African studies, among other disciplines, this volume makes for critical scholarly reading.
Chapter 1. Afropublican Commons: Conceptual Groundings
Chapter 2. Representations of the Father of Pan-Africanism
Chapter 3. The Afro-Positivist Foundations of Pan-Africanism: Plantation Intellectuals and Africa’s Atlantic Scholars
Chapter 4. Edward Blyden's Ethnoscapes: Igbo, Afro-Danish, and Jewish
Chapter 5. Edward Wilmot Blyden and the "Africanization of Islam" in West Africa
Chapter 6. Dr. Edward Blyden, They Know Your Name: Blyden and West African Ethiopianism
"Blending the techniques of biography and intellectual history, Odamtten offers a fresh reading of the complex, sometimes confounding, always changing thought of one of the towering figures in Pan-African history."
—James T. Campbell, Edgar E. Robinson Professor in United States History, Stanford University, and author of Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787–200
"West Indian–born intellectual Edward Wilmot Blyden has been heralded the progenitor of Pan-Africanism, and his 1887 book Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race has been widely acknowledged as pathbreaking by historians of the vast African diaspora. Yet, according to Harry Odamtten in Edward W. Blyden’s Intellectual Transformations, much about Blyden’s life, work, and contributions to Afropublicanism and Afro-positivism, his key terms for Blyden’s overarching philosophy, have been underappreciated and undervalued. Exploring, theorizing, and contextualizing Blyden’s travels, influence, and breadth of work, Odamtten boldly and creatively portrays Blyden as one of the most important and influential African public intellectuals of his times. Those who read this intellectual biography will be challenged to rethink Blyden’s legacy."
—Pero G. Dagbovie, University Distinguished Professor of History, Michigan State University