Merve is a PhD candidate in History funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust and an intellectual and political historian of Africa and its diaspora. Her thesis, ‘Black Cultural Citizenship between State and Nation, 1947-66’, examines the unknown history of the Anglophone dissemination of negritude, the movement for race consciousness long associated with the Francophone world. By attending to negritude’s reception in Nigeria and the United States, I re-frame the history of negritude as a contest over competing forms of “black cultural citizenship,” a form of political belonging which indexed ties to Africa and its diaspora. By focusing on the meeting of Francophone and Anglophone Africa and its diaspora, as well as connecting African intellectual history debates to black internationalist ones, this project ultimately examines the way in which African and diasporic subjects negotiated multiple fields of political belonging: national and post-imperial citizenship managed by the state and an international ‘black cultural citizenship’ that invoked more complex territorial associations.
Her research interests include African intellectual and political history, imperial history, and black internationalism. At the undergraduate level, she has taught modern African history, World history, and US history as well as historical method seminars on race, and at the postgraduate level has given seminars on anti-colonial movements in African Studies.
Merve completed an MPhil in Historical Studies at the University of Cambridge in 2015, and a double major in history and English, with a minor in philosophy, at Rutgers University’s Newark campus in 2011. Prior to postgraduate study, she served as Program Coordinator of the Diversity Research Center at Rutgers from 2011-13.