University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Africa Research Forum > MARX IN CAMPUS: PRINT CULTURES, NATIONALISM AND STUDENTS’ ACTIVISM IN LATE 70’S KENYA

MARX IN CAMPUS: PRINT CULTURES, NATIONALISM AND STUDENTS’ ACTIVISM IN LATE 70’S KENYA

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The Anvil was a student newspaper at the University of Nairobi launched in the mid 70s after its predecessor The Platform was shut down and its editors suspended from the university. Initially designed to be less militant, The Anvil forged a quasi-Marxist identity at a time of both widespread post-colonial disillusionment in Kenya and a largely conformist ‘patriotic’ press. In this context, the paper shows how ‘Marx’ became a symbol through which The Anvil, arguably the most fearless publication of its time, summoned a politicised ‘student’ public by offering alternative imaginaries of the nation. Drawing from literature on nationalism, publics and ideas from media theory, the paper shows how this socialist lens was routinely used to interpret both local and off-shore events as a tool for proximate political agency by drawing on black cosmopolitanisms, anti-colonial sentiment and Cold War politics .

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