Theo Williams

Theo Williams


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I am a historian of socialist and anti-imperialist movements, particularly in Britain and its empire. My PhD thesis focuses on a group of London-based socialists from Africa and the Caribbean, including Amy Ashwood Garvey, C.L.R. James, Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah and George Padmore, during the 1930s and 1940s. Its core argument is that these activist-intellectuals, having had their ideas formed in the crucible of the British imperial system, were a constituent part of the British socialist movement. Moreover, through forming alliances with white socialists, these activists transformed the ideas and activism of the wider British left, especially those around the Independent Labour Party. The thesis’s implication is that we must deprovincialise the history of the British socialist movement to recognise its multiracial character, and its global as well as domestic preoccupations. Based on archival research conducted in Britain, the Netherlands, Russia and the United States, the thesis explains the reasons for both conflict and cooperation between black activists and the wider British socialist movement, and examines how the politics of class intersected with the politics of race and anticolonialism.


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