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Grant number like: HB-263332-19

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Krista Margaret Johnson
Howard University (Washington, DC 20059-0001)

Awards for Faculty
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2019 – 12/31/2019

The End of Exceptionalism: African Americans Theorizing Race and Imperialism in South Africa and Beyond

A book-length study about the South African writings of Ralph Bunche (1904-1971) and Merze Tate (1905-1996), two major figures of African American intellectual life in the 20th century.

This research project will provide a transnational account of South Africa's racialized history, as observed and theorized by two African American scholars, Ralph Bunche and Merze Tate. The aim is to produce a book manuscript that uncovers, historicizes, and contextualizes Bunche and Tate’s theoretical thinking on the international system, and how their South Africa research was both informed by and informed their broader intellectual framework. I will explore the concept of transnational white supremacy, or a ‘global color line’, and theories of race in the international system that reframe South African and International Studies in transnational, not comparative contexts. I also aim to re-introduce the work of Bunche and Tate to the field of South African and African Studies by situating their research among a recent body of literature that argues against the exceptionalism of South Africa’s institutions and politics.