Amandla Thomas-Johnson

Overview

Amandla Thomas-Johnson is a PhD student in the Department of Literatures in English at Cornell University, focusing on the literary activism and global solidarities that coalesced around the Grenadian revolution in the Caribbean. His research interests range from African studies, Black (Diaspora) studies, Islamic studies, the Black radical tradition and political economy to Caribbean literature, Gender studies, Black Britain and Panafricanism. He views Sylvia Wynter’s “rehumanization” project as foundational to his work. His teaching interests include the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and the ever-changing face of race and racism. Amandla’s work has been published in a special issue on Sylvia Wynter’s Hills of Hebron for Interviewing the Caribbean (April 2023) and in sx Salon (August 2023)

Trained as an investigative journalist at Channel 4, he exposed in 2018 Britain’s secret open-door policy allowing British-Libyans to fight against Qadaffi in the 2011 uprising in Libya. Meanwhile, his work as a foreign correspondent has taken him to Mauritania, where he covered a presidential election and interviewed Mohamedou Slahi, Guantanamo’s ‘most tortured detainee’; to the streets of Santiago, Chile, where he reported on Indigenous Peoples’ Day; to Trinidad and Tobago, where he covered the scores of young families who traveled to join the civil war in Syria, swapping the Caribbean for the Islamic State group’s so-called caliphate; to a cow market- turned-refugee camp in Bamako, where he detailed peacebuilding efforts by rival ethnic groups affected by the Mali war; and to Senegal where he worked as a reporter for three years and covered the surge of young people risking their lives to get to Europe by boat.

His reportage has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Al Jazeera, Middle East Eye, and on BBC Radio 4, while he has worked on documentaries for Channel 4, Al Jazeera and Vice. Additionally, his commentary has been published in i newspaper, Jacobin and The Guardian, for which he wrote about his experiences of being a Black British-born student at Cornell. He also interviewed Kenyan novelist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o for an Al Jazeera essay charting the rise of the movement to decolonize the English department, from Nairobi in the late 60s, onto the Caribbean in the 90s, to Cornell in 2020.

 Amandla has worked as an editorial assistant on publisher Heinemann’s flagship African Writers Series as well as the Caribbean Writers series. He is the author of Becoming Kwame Ture (Chimurenga 2020), a biographical essay about Stokely Carmichael’s Africa years, based on extensive archive work in Guinea.

Amandla is also a Graduate Fellow in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program 22’-23’.

ENGL Courses - Fall 2023

ENGL Courses - Spring 2024

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