Gary Wilder works on the French empire, colonial states, historical anthropology, and social/political theory, with a focus on western Africa, the Antilles, and Europe. He is the author of The French Imperial Nation-State: Negritude and Colonial Humanism between the Two World Wars (2005), which traces empire-wide networks of science, administration, public opinion, and literature that linked colonial reformers in French West Africa to a black public sphere in Paris. His current research project, “Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, Utopia,” examines post–World War II initiatives by African and Caribbean legislators to reconstitute France as a postcolonial federal democracy.
Wilder was awarded a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, only one of ten awarded nationally in 2006, which allowed him to spend a year as a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Program of Harvard Law School. He holds a joint Ph.D. in anthropology and history from the University of Chicago and came to the Graduate Center from Pomona College in Fall 2009.