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
Radical History and Movements

Research Description

Thematically, my research interests include the history of leftwing radicalism and its intersections with labor, race, gender and diaspora politics. Geographically, I focus on how East Africa and the Indian Ocean World fit into broader global histories of radicalism and internationalist political projects. I approach these topics primarily through print culture, transportation infrastructure, and institutions of higher education in East Africa between 1915 and 1980. My dissertation examines how different subjects in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania engaged with left wing texts and how these readings were translated into the political and affective relationships of these different readers. In so doing, this project attempts to trace a broader history of the radical left in East Africa and the Indian Ocean, and how leftist ideas reshaped gender, racial, and labor politics within and across these regions.  I further argue that embrace of left wing radicalism, particularly communism, was not simply an instrumental ploy to obtain Soviet Bloc or Chinese aid, nor was it necessarily an instance of 'nationalism in disguise' as it is so often portrayed in colonial archives and historiography alike. Rather, I argue that leftist print culture, and the people, spaces, and ideas involved in them, represent sincere attempts to challenge the racial and gendered exclusions of both colonial rule and postcolonial nationalism. This project adds to the growing body of scholarship on histories of radicalism in Africa and its intersections with broader histories of internationalism both before and throughout the Global Cold War, while arguing for the expansion of the temporal, geographical, and ideological frameworks within which this work is conducted. 


B.A. Boston University, 2010
M.A. New York University, 2014


FLAS, Swahili AY 2017-2018; AY 2018-2019
Critical Language Scholarship, Swahili, Summer 2018
Summer FLAS, Arabic, 2013

Awards and Honors

Joseph Ward Swain Award for Unpublished Seminar Paper, 2018

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.