Lived Afropolitanism: Beyond the Single Story

G. Akom Ankobrey*

*Corresponding author for this work

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1 Citation (Web of Science)


It has been several years since the term "Afropolitanism" was coined and instigated an intense debate in both the offline and online world. Although Afropolitanism is celebrated for highlighting positive depictions of Africa, it has also been criticised for its supposedly exclusive and elitist focus. Several scholars have distinguished Afropolitanism from Pan-Africanism by framing it as the latter's apolitical younger version. Following the discussion around these perceived differences, this paper investigates how Afropolitanism negotiates the African diaspora discourse in relation to Pan-Africanism. Thus far, the study of Afropolitanism has remained mostly limited to the field of literary and cultural studies. In order to move the discussion on this term further, this paper explores the lived experiences of twelve black Londoners with Afropolitanism and Pan-Africanism. By using the notion of "performance," I show that Afropolitanism and Pan-Africanism are constructed and deconstructed in both diverse and overlapping ways. The narratives emerging out of this dialogue question the centrality of the Middle Passage epistemology and the tendency to essentialize experiences in the African diaspora discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-346
Number of pages15
JournalOpen Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • cosmopolitanism
  • diaspora
  • homeland
  • race
  • resistance
  • urban cosmopolitanism

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