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Christopher Montague

Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History with Study Abroad, University of Exeter (UK), September 2017

Research Interests:

Twentieth Century Black Social Movements

Black Intellectual History

Black Political Thought

British Colonial History

Black British History

Current Research:

Christopher Montague is a PhD Candidate in Northwestern University’s Department of African American Studies (soon to be renamed Black Studies). Chris is a historian of anti-colonial movements, Black political thought, and elite discourse in the twentieth century British world. Chris' dissertation analyzes these histories through the Black Marxist movement in Kingston, Jamaica, and the Black Women’s movement in Southwest Nigeria from 1938 to 1962. This research extends Cedric Robinson’s theory of the Black Radical Tradition by showcasing how radical anti-colonial movements worked to undo white sovereignty to build self-determination for non-elite people of African descent. Black Marxists in Kingston wished to combat white sovereignty so they could create worker's self-determination of land, raw materials, finance, and trade unions, while Black women in Ibadan and Abeokuta wished to combat white sovereignty so they could establish women’s self-determination of trading markets, reproductive capacities, home life, and education. In addition, Chris’ doctoral research finds that such radicalism was disrupted and marginalized by a range of elites who maintained white capital’s grip over the resources, land, and labor of the former colonies by the time of independence. This was achieved through a heavily discursive and partially practiced turn away from the colony as a space of extraction towards industrial production and white capital investment as a means of developing the nation. While this accrued benefits for those administering the new nation-states and others, it did not end the white sovereignty of colonialism and its practices of capitalism, race, and patriarchy. Ultimately this research argues for a deeper historicization and appreciation of Black radical movements during decolonization so that we understand this moment not merely through demands for independence and the rise of cultural nationalism. This research also forces us to retheorize the Black Radical Tradition, taking account of what it resists beyond racial capitalism and taking account of its desire for self-determination for non-elites.

Recent Publications: 

"A Black Construction of Colonialism: The Black Marxist Response to Fascism in the 1930s," Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society (2023)