Nico Slate-Center for the Arts in Society - Carnegie Mellon University

Nico Slate

Associate Professor, History

Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office: BH 365
Phone: 412.268.1408


Nico Slate’s research and teaching focus on the transnational history of social movements in the United States, with a particular emphasis on South Asia and on the history of struggles against racism and imperialism worldwide. His current book project, Reflections of Freedom: Race, Caste, and the Shared Struggle for Democracy in the United States and India, argues that South Asians and African Americans learned from each other in ways that not only advanced their respective struggles for freedom, but also helped define what freedom could and should mean.

By expressing solidarity across racial and national borders, African Americans and South Asians challenged prevailing conceptions of race and nation, as well as of class, caste, and gender. The diversity of “freedom struggles” within India and among African Americans meant that multiple analogies, often contradictory, vied to juxtapose and represent “the Indian,” “the Negro,” or “the Untouchable.” These analogies, always political, increasingly became enmeshed in global power politics, especially during the Second World War and the Cold War. The interconnection of Indian and African American freedom struggles bridged the worlds of international diplomacy and grassroots social change, demonstrating that local history and global history need to be studied together.