Prof. Harcourt Fuller of the History Department has recently published his new book, Building the Ghanaian Nation-State: Kwame Nkrumah’s Symbolic Nationalism (2014).
As the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from a European imperial power, Ghana has always occupied a position of primacy in the African political and historical imagination. This is due in no small part to the indelible impression left by its first president, the charismatic and self-promoting Kwame Nkrumah, who by his death had become one of the most iconic figures of the postcolonial era. Nkrumah’s legacy has long been the subject of debate, with some depicting him as a pioneering nationalist and others as a dictatorial megalomaniac, and the political, social, and global-historical dimensions of his presidency have been thoroughly studied. At the same time, the symbolic, semiotic, iconographical, and ephemeral strategies he used to consolidate power and construct a coherent Ghanaian nation-state have been largely neglected by scholars. This innovative study of Nkrumah and Ghana offers a fascinating look at his propagandistic use of political iconography through ‘symbols of nationhood’ such as currency, postage stamps, museums, monuments, Adinkra symbols, the national anthem, emblems, and both national and party flags. As author Harcourt Fuller demonstrates here, the premiership of the self-proclaimed Founder of the State of Ghana was mainly characterized by a cult of personality wherein Nkrumah branded the national flock with his image by personalizing public symbols of nationhood. (from publisher’s information)
Prof. Fuller has an article forthcoming in African Studies Quarterly as well; his other publications include:
- “Commemorating an African Queen,” African Arts 47, no. 4 (Winter 2014): 58-71
- Money in Africa (2009; co-edited with Catherine Eagleton and John Perkins)
- “Civitatis Ghaniensis Conditor: Kwame Nkrumah, Symbolic Nationalism, and the Iconography of Ghanaian Money 1957—The Golden Jubilee,” Nations and Nationalism 14, no. 3 (July 2008): 520-541.
As a descendant and scholar of the Jamaican Maroons, Dr. Fuller’s is currently working on several books, journal articles on Maroon history, culture and identity. In addition to his research and teaching, Prof. Fuller also has a strong interest in documentary film production; he is the Educational Outreach Director for the award-winning documentary-film on the Jamaican Maroons, Akwantu: the Journey (available for checkout or viewing in the GSU Library, here), and writer/producer for the forthcoming documentary-film Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess. He is also working on a new book about Queen Nanny of the Maroons, as well as a monograph entitled, Maroons in the Family: History, Memory and Migration in the Life of a Jamaican Maroon Clan.