Department of History

Keisha Blain

Faculty: Assistant Professor
Regional Field: United States


Joining us in Fall 2017, Keisha N. Blain is a historian of the 20th century United States with broad interdisciplinary interests and specializations in African American History, the modern African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her research interests include black internationalism, radical politics, and global feminisms. She is the co-editor (with Chad Williams and Kidada Williams) of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016). Her articles have appeared in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, the Journal of Social History, and Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International. Along with Ula Taylor and Asia Leeds, she recently edited a special journal issue on women, gender politics, and Pan-Africanism. She writes regularly for several popular outlets including the Huffington Post, Timeline, and The Conversation.

Professor Blain’s first book, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and Global Struggles for Freedom, will be published in the University of Pennsylvania Press’s “Politics and Culture in Modern America” book series in 2018. Drawing on an array of previously untapped primary sources, including archival materials, government records, and unpublished songs and poetry, the book uncovers the crucial role women played in building black nationalist and internationalist protest movements in the United States and other parts of the African Diaspora during the twentieth century.

Professor Blain is one of the leaders of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), a scholarly organization founded in 2014 to foster dialogue about researching, writing, and teaching black thought and culture. She is the senior editor of Black Perspectives, a popular academic blog published by AAIHS.

Professor Blain is the recipient of a 2016-2017 Research Leave Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). During her fellowship year, she is a Visiting Research Scholar in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She will begin teaching at Pitt in Fall 2017, offering a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses on African American History and African Diaspora History. 

Professor Blain earned her PhD in History from Princeton University and her BA in History and Africana Studies from Binghamton University (SUNY).