OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Keisha N. Blain

Portrait of Keisha N. Blain
Image Credit: Chioke I'Anson

Keisha N. Blain is a historian of the 20th c. United States with broad interdisciplinary interests and specializations in African American History, the modern African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is currently an Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh and President of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS). Blain completed a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University. Her research has been supported by fellowships and awards from a number of institutions, including the Ford Foundation, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. Blain is the author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (2018), which won the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize and the Darlene Clark Hine Award from the Organization of American Historians. The book was also a finalist for the Hooks National Book Award and selected as one of the best books of 2018 by several outlets, including Smithsonian Magazine. Blain is the co-editor of three books: To Turn the Whole World Over: Black Women and Internationalism (2019); New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition (2018); and Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence (2016). She is now working on a new book project, tentatively entitled "East Unites with West: Black Women, Japan, and Visions of Afro-Asian Solidarity" (under contract, University of Pennsylvania Press).

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

This lecture highlights the various modes of protest, strategies, and tactics Black women employed in their struggle against police violence in the United States. It illustrates how these women engaged in organized insurgent resistance against police brutality and highlights the various platforms they utilized and the diverse networks they forged in an effort to advance their political goals.
This lecture explores Black nationalist women’s engagement in anticolonial and diasporic politics. It offers a critical analysis of these women’s writings in an array of global black newspapers including the 'New Negro World,' 'the Ethiopian World,' and 'the African: Journal of African Affairs.'
This lecture highlights the ideas of a cohort of Black women in the United States who envisioned political collaborations with the Japanese as a strategy to combat racism and global white supremacy.