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Nana Osei-Opare

Nana Osei-Opare

Assistant Professor of History
Office: Dealy Hall 639
Phone: 718-817-1114


PhD in History at the University of California, Los Angeles, 2019
CPhil at the University of California, Los Angeles, 2016
MA in History at Stanford University, 2011
AB with honors in History at Stanford University, 2011

Research Interests

My current project charts a new history of global capitalism and socialism in relation to Ghana and Ghana’s first postcolonial leader, Kwame Nkrumah. By tracing how Soviet connections shaped Ghana’s post-colonial economic ideologies, its Pan-African program, and its modalities of citizenship, my work contradicts literature that portrays African leaders as misguided political-economic theorists, ideologically inconsistent, or ignorant Marxist-Leninists. Rather, I argue that Nkrumah and Ghana’s postcolonial government actively formed new political economic ideologies by drawing from Lenin’s state-capitalist framework and the Soviet Economic Policy (NEP) to reconcile capitalist policies under a decolonial socialist umbrella. I argue that these ideas were discussed, imparted, and reworked through an interconnected international network of black Marxists.

Moreover, I am also interested in how ordinary Africans—the working poor, party members, local and cabinet-level government officials, economic planners, and the informal sector—grappled with and reshaped the state’s role and duty to its citizens, conceptions of race, Ghana’s place within the Cold War, state-capitalism, and the functions of state-corporations. Consequently, my research attends both to the intricacies of local politics while tracing how global ideas and conceptions of socialism, citizenship, governmentality, capitalism, and decolonization impacted the first independent sub-Saharan African state. I remap and reimagine the global circuits of Africans, the African diaspora, and nationalism, and merge the intellectual and geographic circuits of Paul Gilroy’s “black Atlantic” and Maxim Matusevich’s “Africa and the Iron Curtain” and illustrate how they transformed each other. My archival sites are primarily located in Ghana, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

I have a forthcoming article in the Journal of West African History entitled, “Uneasy Comrades: Postcolonial Statecraft, Race, and Citizenship, Ghana-Soviet Relations, 1957-1966.” The paper argues that discourses of race and neocolonialism were more central to defining the terms of Ghana’s geopolitical and economic positioning than the Cold War framework. Moreover, the article shows that the virulent racism Ghanaians experienced in the U.S. and USSR, from verbal assaults to murder, helped forge a global Ghanaian national consciousness.

Amongst other sources, my work has been supported by the Office of the President of the University of California, the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Award, the UCLA International Institute, and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution Library and Archives. I am a member of the American Historical Association, the Ghana Studies Association, the African Studies Association, the African American Intellectual Historical Society, and the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora.

You can follow me on twitter at @nanaoseiopare

Courses Taught

UHC-Africa (Fall 2019)

Selected Publications

“Uneasy Comrades: Postcolonial Statecraft, Race, and Citizenship, Ghana-Soviet Relations, 1957-1966,” Journal of West African History (forthcoming).

“Terrorism and Racism, Twin Sisters?,” Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2016, pp. 33-40.


Book Reviews:


Book Review, Steven Friedman, Race, Class, and Power: Harold Wolpe and the Radical Critique of Apartheid in African Studies Quarterly, Volume 16, Issue 3-4. January 2017, pp. 193-195.

Book Review, Barry Gilder, Songs & Secrets: South Africa from Liberation to Governance in Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, Volume 38, Issue 1, December 2014, pp 289-291.

Book Review, Carmela Garritano, African Video Movies and Global Desires: A Ghanaian History in African Studies Quarterly, Volume 14, Issue 3, March 2014, pp. 128-129.


Blog Entries:


“‘Mahama-OO!’ President John Mahama’s Woes,” The African Collective, August 25, 2014

“Securing Ghanaian Economic and Energy Independence and Prosperity,” The African Collective, June 19, 2014

“African Agency: Nelson Mandela and the South African Communist Party,” The African Collective, June 18, 2014

“Term-Limits for Winners and Losers: Constitutional Democracy & Republicanism,” The African Collective, April 21, 2014

Curriculum Vitae

Availibe upon request