Harvard Afro-Latin American History Professor to Edit Transition Magazine

Alejandro de la Fuente has been appointed the new editor of Transition, the longest running Pan-African cultural magazine in history.

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Alejandro de la Fuente

The Hutchins Center at Harvard University has announced the appointment of Alejandro de la Fuente as the new editor of Transition, the longest running Pan-African cultural magazine in history. Under professor de la Fuente’s leadership, the journal will extensively broaden its print and online distribution, and will highlight emerging Afro-Latin perspectives, while continuing to publish thoughtful reflection from and about the continent of Africa and its diasporas. “For over 50 years, Transition has been the critical and learned voice of the Diaspora. We publish and reflect on the sheer creativity, endurance and contributions of Africans and their descendants all over the world. And it is the world Transition seeks to reach,” de la Fuente said.

Transition is a publication of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, where de la Fuente recently joined the faculty as the director of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute. He is the Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics and professor of African and African American Studies and of history at Harvard.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the founding director of the Hutchins Center and a publisher of Transition, along with Kwame Anthony Appiah and Nobel Prize-winning playwright Wole Soyinka, said, “Throughout his career as a historian of the Atlantic world, Alejandro de la Fuente has built bridges and crossed them. His work has been instrumental in creating the discipline of Afro-Latin American history. His global perspective and his refusal to adhere to traditional boundaries of historical and cultural inquiry make him the ideal person to lead a robust expansion of this historic journal.”

About the newly appointed editor, Soyinka said, “Throughout its celebrated career, Transition has spoken to and about people of African descent across the Diaspora. Alejandro de la Fuente as editor will ensure that Transition keeps to this path, but he will add even more intensity to our exploration of the Diaspora's wide world.”

Appiah, professor of philosophy and law at New York University, added, “Alejandro de la Fuente is an intellectual whose concerns and reach are global. He brings new life to a journal whose capacity for growth and reinvention has never ceased to amaze its readers, and me.”

Transition was founded in 1961 in Uganda as an East African literary magazine. The brainchild of Rajat Neogy, a 22-year-old writer of Indian descent, it quickly became Africa’s leading intellectual magazine during a time of radical changes across the continent. The journal was later edited by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka in Ghana before arriving at Harvard in 1991 under the editorship of Henry Finder (now executive editor of the New Yorker), with publishers Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Kwame Anthony Appiah.

Transition, an award-winning journal with 53 years of distinguished history, continues to be a unique forum for the freshest, most compelling ideas from and about the black world. Notable contributors have included Chinua Achebe, James Baldwin, Julius Nyerere, Nadine Gordimer, Paul Theroux, Martin Luther King Jr., Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Binyavanga Wainaina and many others. 

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