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Adam Joseph LoBue

Profile picture for Adam Joseph LoBue

Contact Information

History, 309 Gregory Hall
810 S. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801

Research Interests

African History
Indian Ocean World
Global History
Race, Labor and Diaspora

Global Cold War

Print Cultures and History


Research Description

My research focuses on communist and anti-communist print culture in East Africa from the 1940s to the 1980s. I analyze a diverse array of texts - propaganda (both overt and covert), textbooks and technical manuals, religious pamphlets, and more - to show how the creation of an anti/communist print culture relied on a dialectic relationship between the producers and consumers of these texts. By highlighting the agency of African readers, my project pushes back against extant scholarship that sees the cultural front of the Cold War as a top-down affair. I argue that the vocabulary, themes, and target audiences of the texts on which I focus allows for an exploration of how both outside propagandists and African readers were, in different ways and to different ends, attempting to Africanize the Cold War in a way that allows for a more nuanced and regionally specific reading of the conflict’s cultural front. In doing so, my project integrates Cold War historiography and contemporary interventions in the histories of African print cultures and politics.


B.A. Cultural Anthropology, Boston University, 2010
M.A. Near Eastern Studies, New York University, 2014

M.A. History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2018

PhD, History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (in progress)


Humanities Research Institute Graduate Fellow, 2023-2024.

Graduate College Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2022-2023

Graduate College Dissertation Research Travel Grant, 2021-2022

University of Illinois History Department Dissertation Research Fellowship, AY 2019-2020

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow, Swahili: AY 2017-2018; AY 2018-2019

University of Illinois History Department Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship (2018)

Critical Language Scholarship, Swahili, Summer 2018 (Arusha, Tanzania)

Departmental Fellowship, AY2016-2017

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow, Arabic, Summer 2013 (NYU) (Cairo, Egypt and Amman, Jordan)

Awards and Honors

Joseph Ward Swain Award for Unpublished Seminar Paper, 2018

Instructors Rated as Excellent by Their Students, Fall 2020

Courses Taught

HIST 112: Africa Since 1800. Spring 2022 (Instructor of Record)

HIST 164: The Automobile. Summer 2021; Summer 2022 (Instructor of Record)

HIST 130: Modern South Asia. Spring 2021; Fall 2021 (Instructor of Record)

HIST 104: Black Music; Fall 2020 (Teaching Assistant)

Additional Campus Affiliations

Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory.

Center for African Studies.

Center for Global Studies.

Humanities Research Institute.

Highlighted Publications


Review of "Violence in African Elections: Between Democracy and Big Man Politics." edited by Mimmi Kovacs, edited by Jesper Bjarnesen. H-Socialisms, 2019.

Recent Publications

Scholarly articles:

"Warmly Received and With No Political Standing: The Kenya Office, Cairo Between Nation and World." Article draft under review with The Journal of African History (submitted May 23, 2023).

“They must either be informed or they will be cominformed”: Covert Propaganda, Political Literacy, and Cold War Knowledge Production in the Loyal African Brothers Series (Journal of Global History, March 2022)…;

Conference and Workshop Presentations:

"Between the Nation and the World: The African Anticolonial Movement of Kenya and Alternative Afro-Asian Networks." African Studies Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 30-December 1, 2023. 

“Warmly Received and with no Political Standing: The Kenya Office, Cairo Between the Nation and the World.” Leverhulme Trust “Another World? East Africa and the Global 1960s” Workshops, December 11, 2020 and July 1, 2021. (Currently under publication review)

“Organizing the High Seas: Race, Reading, and Radicalism Among Multiracial Ship Crews,” Labor and Working Class History Association Annual Conference, Duke University, May 31-June 1, 2019