Date of Award

Summer 8-8-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Harcourt Fuller

Second Advisor

Ian Fletcher

Third Advisor

Mohammed Ali

Fourth Advisor

Ghulam Nadri


Studies on African nationalism have focused primarily on the role of indigenous African groups and their leaders in the fight for independence and the attainment of nationhood, often excluding non-indigenous groups. This dissertation focuses on the integral role that Indians played in the freedom struggle in Kenya, from 1895-1970. It analyzes the ways in which Indian groups in this East African British colony participated and contributed to the emergent anti-colonial struggle at different points in the colonial period. The study interrogates how African nationalism is conceptualized in scholarship. Traditionally, African nationalism has been cast solely as Black resistance against European colonialism. Thus, the inclusion of a diverse cast of stakeholders from the Indian sub-continent in this study of the anti-colonial movement in Kenya shifts our understanding of the nature and course of the nation-building project. Methodologically, this understanding of the role of diaspora communities in nation-building can be replicated in other independent countries in Africa and elsewhere in the Global South, where the history and contributions of non-indigenous or immigrant populations to the attainment of independence and the construction of (civic) national identity has been understudied. Thus, a focus on the critical role played by Indians in Kenya’s independence, expands our understanding of how ethnic minorities and immigrants have impacted notions of history, citizenship and identity in their host countries. The study analyzed multi-archival materials that were collected in Kenya, Britain, and the United States.


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