Neglected role of Africans in World War I topic of guest speaker

Monday March 4, 2019Roger Coda
Dr. Michelle Moyd
Dr. Michelle Moyd

The relatively little known role that Africans played in World War I will be explored by Indiana University professor Dr. Michelle Moyd in a talk, “Radical Potentials, Conservative Realities: African Veterans’ Politics after World War I,” on Monday, March 25, at 6 p.m.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Fenton Hall Room 105. It is hosted by the Department of History, with generous support of the Graebner/Bennett History Department Cultural Fund and the Robert f Sabia Endowment, both of the Fredonia College Foundation.

Numerous centenaries of the first world war in the last four years have been largely focused on Europeans, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of soldiers and workers were mobilized from all corners of the globe to fight campaigns across Africa, Department of History Associate Professor Steven Fabian explained. Significant stories that portray Africans’ involvement in the war have not been a part of these remembrances, he noted.

Dr. Moyd is an historian of eastern Africa with special interests in the region’s history of soldiering and warfare and the author of “Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa.” The book explores the social and cultural history of African soldiers (askari) in the colonial army of German East Africa, today’s Tanzania.

Moyd, the Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor in the Department of History at Indiana University, is currently working on a short book, “Africa, Africans and the First World War,” which will examine the spectrum of African experiences in the war, especially as soldiers and workers. Another research project in very early stages will examine colonial militaries and labor patterns across different imperial experiences.

Moyd is also the associate director at the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society and an associate editor with the American Historical Review, the official publication of the American Historical Association founded in 1884.

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