French historian Pap Ndiaye to join Buffett in fall 2017 as the next Buffett Visiting Professor in International Studies

May 12, 2017

Pap Ndiaye headshotFrench historian Pap Ndiaye will join the Buffett Institute in fall 2017 as the next Buffett Visiting Professor in International Studies

Ndiaye is a professor and researcher at Sciences Po, specializing in the social history of the United States, with a particular focus on minorities; the history of Chicago; the history of comparative civil rights in the United States; and the history of tech. 

He is also considered a pioneer of French “Black Studies.” Although African American history is well known and studied in France, French blackness is scarcely studied or discussed. Further, he argues that although black men and women are visible as individuals, they are invisible as a social group because the French Republic defines itself as “colorblind with no racial bias.”

Black Lives Matter and “the American situation [around race relations], far from being totally foreign to many French persons, has often been a window, a mirror, through which to question French society and politics,” he said in a November 2016 lecture at the University of Chicago.

No stranger to the University, Ndiaye was a visiting scholar at Northwestern in spring 2009 and presented “The Minority Paradox: Blackness in France” on campus in fall 2016. He has also held visiting positions at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University.

“He has addressed black-white racial differences in the French national context and offers a uniquely qualified outside perspective on race relations in American history,” says Buffett Director Bruce G. Carruthers. “I am thrilled that he will be part of the Northwestern community next fall.”

His work includes:

“Professor Ndiaye is a world-renowned scholar whose current project—and the basis of his fall courses in history—is a history of the global civil rights movements in America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa,” says Ken Alder, professor of history and Milton H. Wilson Professor in the Humanities, who nominated Ndiaye for the position. “To this material, Prof. Ndiaye brings his perspective as a French-trained historian of the United States, a reminder that Americans should learn to see themselves from the vantage point of other places and traditions.”

Fall 2017 courses

Comparative History of Empires in the 20th Century (HIST 300-0-30)

This course will provide students with an overview of the new forms of world-spanning imperial rule that emerged in the past 100 years, and the extraordinary story of their rise and fall. We will study the collapse of the old empires at the end of the 19th century, and the rise of new 20th-century colonial regimes centered on England, France, and Japan. It will consider the World War I as a war between empires, the emergence of new imperial structures in the middle of the 20th century, including those in the US, the USSR, and the Third Reich. Finally, it will turn to the decolonization processes in the 1950s and 1960s and the post-imperial world with its conflicting memories of empires.

Global Civil Rights (HIST 492-0-22)

This graduate seminar introduces students to a growing body of scholarship on the transnational interactions between the Civil Rights movements in the American South and the colonized areas of Africa and the Caribbean in the decades after WWII. We will study and discuss the ways resistance to the politics and economics of the segregated South came to influence social movements in colonial Africa, and vice-versa; how African-Americans and Africans came to grips with the challenge of white supremacy; and how trans-Atlantic political and religious exchanges shaped Pan-Africanism and influenced the emerging Civil Rights movement on one side and decolonization movements on the other.

About the Buffett Visiting Professorship in International Studies

Roberta “Bertie” Buffett Elliott endowed the Buffett Visiting Professorship in International Studies, which brings to campus leading scholars from around the world to build international relationships and provide educational opportunities for Northwestern students.

Ndiaye will deliver the Buffett Visiting Professor Lecture on Tuesday, November 14, at 4:30 p.m. 

Learn about our past visiting professors.

Europe, Human Rights