Matt Swagler

Email: mps2154@columbia.edu
Field: African History
Advisor: Gregory Mann
Year: 2008

Matt Swagler is a Ph.D. candidate in African History. He is currently writing his dissertation, “African Youth Radicalism and Global Revolt in the 1960s,” which examines postcolonial political activism in Congo-Brazzaville and Senegal. His research focuses on youth and student movements that mobilized between 1958 and 1973, presenting formidable challenges to the first generation of post-independence national political leaders. These fiercely autonomous local movements engaged actively with Third-World and Cold War Communist networks, and in the process tried to define independence, democracy, and revolution from their own global perspective.

Between 2010 and 2012, Matt conducted dissertation research in France, Senegal, and Congo, with support from the Social Sciences Research Council, the Bourse Chateaubriand, and the Leitner Family Fellowship for Language Study and Research in Africa.

Matt’s research and teaching interests include gender and sexuality in African history, the politics of popular music and spoken performance, social movements in Africa, Third-World Marxism, and the relationship between African radical traditions across the diaspora. He has presented guest lectures for the Center for Economic Research and Social Change (CERSC) and the Centre d’études des mondes africains (CEMAf) at the University of Paris I. Matt also occasionally writes on African politics and social movements for Socialist Worker and the International Socialist Review. As much as possible, Matt can be found engaged in campus and community organizing, or off playing music.