Miller Center

R. Joseph Parrott

History, University of Texas - Austin

“Struggle for Solidarity: New Left Politics and African Decolonization"”

Parrott photo

R. Joseph Parrott is a Chauncey Postdoctoral Fellow with the International Security Studies program at Yale University. He studies the intersections of decolonization and the Cold War, the effects of transnational activism on Western domestic politics, and Pan-Africanism. He earned his PhD in history from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2016 with a dissertation entitled “Struggle for Solidarity: New Left Politics and African Decolonization.”

Dr. Parrott is currently revising a manuscript that examines the formation of a broad solidarity network in the United States and Europe in support of African nationalism. Drawing on theories of globalization and transnationalism, he argues that the technological and political decentralization of the international system linked peoples across geographical and linguistic borders in ways that directly influenced Euro-American perceptions of the global South. Western activists rallied to the cause of socialist liberation in Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau despite official support for North Atlantic ally Portugal. Westerners merged the domestic pursuit of racial equality with goals of African self-determination to craft grassroots movements that articulated an ideology of global social justice and economic reform. The popularity of this New Left internationalism directly influenced policymakers sensitive to public opinion in the wake of the Vietnam War, most clearly evidenced by successful domestic opposition to Gerald Ford’s anti-communist intervention in postcolonial Angola. Cutting across intellectual, diplomatic, and socio-cultural histories of the Cold War, the project argues that the growth of an influential solidarity network helped transform American debates over foreign policy and intervention in the global South.

Before completing his degree, Dr. Parrott held pre-doctoral fellowships with the Miller Center, Yale ISS, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium at the University of Chicago. He has received grants from three presidential libraries, the Council for European Studies, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the New York Public Library among others. He is currently working to assemble an academic study of Revolutionary Tricontinentalism, and his writings have appeared in the peer-reviewed Race & Class, WGBH’s OpenVault, and on various academic and popular history websites including OZY, the History News Network, and Exeter’s Imperial and Global Forum. Dr. Parrott holds an MPP degree from the University of Virginia. Follow him on Twitter at @RJParrott_

Fellowship year: 2015

Mentor: Robert McMahon, Ohio State University

Selected Recent Publications

"When Black Power Went Global." Ozy. 27 May 2016.

"Charleston Shooting Exposes America's Pro-Apartheid Cold War Past." Imperial and Global Forum. 6 July 20165.

A Luta Continua: Radical Filmmaking, Pan-African Liberation, and Communal Empowerment.” Race & Class 57, no. 1 (July-September, 2015): 20-38.

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