skip to primary navigationskip to content

Merve Fejzula


Merve is a PhD candidate in History funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust and an intellectual and political historian of Africa and its diaspora. Her thesis, ‘Black Cultural Citizenship between State and Nation, 1947-66’, examines the unknown history of the Anglophone dissemination of negritude, the movement for race consciousness long associated with the Francophone world. By attending to negritude’s reception in Nigeria and the United States, it re-frames the history of negritude as a contest over competing forms of 'black cultural citizenship', a form of political belonging which indexed ties to Africa and its diaspora. By focusing on the meeting of Francophone and Anglophone Africa and its diaspora, as well as connecting African intellectual history debates to black internationalist ones, this project ultimately seeks to examine the way in which racial belonging was given meaning among subjects in the 20th century.

Merve completed an MPhil in Historical Studies at the University of Cambridge in 2015, and her undergraduate study as a double major in history and English, with a minor in philosophy, at Rutgers University's Newark campus in 2011. Prior to postgraduate study, she served as Program Coordinator of the Diversity Research Center at Rutgers from 2011-13.

Research Interests

African intellectual and political history (esp. 20th century)

Imperial history

Black political thought

Black internationalism



  • Paper 29: African History since 1800
  • Paper 23: World history since 1914
  • Paper 24: US History since 1865

Seminar leader

  • MPhil in African Studies: modules on 'Anti-Colonialism and Nationalism: Nation, Culture, and Liberation' and 'Race, "Tribe", and the African State'
  • Undergraduate seminar, Historical Argument and Practice: 'Race'

Key Publications

Review of John Burnside’s “Henry Miller, or How to be an Anarchist,” Times Literary Supplement  14 August 2018:

Review of Gary Wilder’s Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World, History: Journal of the Historical Association 102 no. 350 (April 2017): 344-46.

Review of Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship in The Guardian:, 21 December 2016:

Review of Andy Fry’s Paris Blues: African American Music and French Popular Culture, 1920-1960 entitled, “(Un)Cool Cats: Challenging the Traditional View of the French Response to Jazz,” Journal of Jazz Studies vol. 10 no. 2 (2014): 203-209: