Geographies of Liberation

The Making of an Afro-Arab Political Imaginary

By Alex Lubin

256 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 4 halftones, 1 fig., 1 map, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1288-1
    Published: February 2014
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1289-8
    Published: February 2014
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8319-3
    Published: February 2014

John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture

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In this absorbing transnational history, Alex Lubin reveals the vital connections between African American political thought and the people and nations of the Middle East. Spanning the 1850s through the present, and set against a backdrop of major political and cultural shifts around the world, the book demonstrates how international geopolitics, including the ascendance of liberal internationalism, established the conditions within which blacks imagined their freedom and, conversely, the ways in which various Middle Eastern groups have understood and used the African American freedom struggle to shape their own political movements.

Lubin extends the framework of the black freedom struggle beyond the familiar geographies of the Atlantic world and sheds new light on the linked political, social, and intellectual imaginings of African Americans, Palestinians, Arabs, and Israeli Jews. This history of intellectual exchange, Lubin argues, has forged political connections that extend beyond national and racial boundaries.

About the Author

Alex Lubin is professor and chair of the American studies department at the University of New Mexico.
For more information about Alex Lubin, visit the Author Page.


“Lubin is a politically attuned scholar who avoids didacticism, engages specialists, and can easily draw in the novice.”--Journal of American History

“A fascinating and engaging book.”--American Historical Review

“Lubin has created an engaging, erudite, ironic, and well-historicized account of the intertwined images of peoples united in their political and cultural struggles.”--American Quarterly

"A fascinating, wide-ranging history . . . Geographies of Liberation traces the complex ways in which the histories of African Americans, Palestinians, and Jews can be seen relationally through shared experiences of exile and exclusion. An important, timely, scrupulously researched and well-written book."--Malini Johar Schueller, author of U.S. Orientalisms: Race, Nation and Gender in Literature, 1790-1890 and Locating Race: Global Sites of Post-Colonial Citizenship

"Geographies of Liberation is a revelatory and informative work of intercultural scholarship that demonstrates how African American, Arab, and Jewish political imaginaries cannot be fully thought or understood outside the shared geopolitical context in which they developed across the twentieth century, nor apart from the interdependent, if also conflictual, narratives of race, religion, self-determination, belonging, and exclusion that were forged between them."--Nikhil Pal Singh, author of Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy

Multimedia & Links

Listen: Lubin talks to Dr. Alvin Jones about Geographies of Liberation in this podcast. (3/19/2014, running time 13:53)

Read: In a guest blog post, Lubin explores Malcolm X's travels to the Arab world and the development of his international political imaginary. Read "Malcolm X’s Afro-Arab Political Imaginary."

Read: In another guest blog post, Lubin responds to the exhumation of Yasser Arafat's body and the newly discovered evidence of how he died. Read "Exhuming Yasser Arafat."