Michael John

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20192020 Forum on Kinship

Michael John

Africana & Political Science

CAS, 2020

Michael is a senior Africana & Political Science major, who studied non-western art and repatriation efforts in Paris the summer before transferring to Penn as a junior. His research interests are centered around questions of colonialism in the anglophone Caribbean, and how these particular legacies of strife relate to the socio-political challenges existing within the contemporary space. Michael's research interests in the Caribbean were deepened by his attendance at the annual Caribbean Studies Association Conference. As a first-year student, attending the conference in the Bahamas, he gained exposure to experts conducting research on a diverse array of topics within the Caribbean, ranging from climate change to education reform. This unique forum moved him to interrogate his own questions, utilizing his interest in government to understand the role of identity in the political processes of his mother's nation, Guyana. Outside of this work, Michael is very interested in the tech space, this summer he worked in New York conducting research on emerging technologies and their role in the financial services industry.

Nation Building: An Exploration of Ethnic Identity in Post Colonial Guyana

My project is primarily interested in examining the implications of ethnic diversity on democratic institutions and development challenges in the South American country of Guyana - derived out of its colonial occupation. Guyana’s political institutions have historically been marked and divided along ethnic/racial lines. Although the South American country is an incredibly diverse region, identity politics has deeply impacted the evolution and efficacy of the nation's democracy. Racial tensions have driven policy outcomes and power struggles, that have disenfranchised particular communities across the country. These challenges have warranted extensive oversight by a variety of organizations, such as the Jimmy Carter Foundation, who has taken an active role in the country's election monitoring in recent years. My project will explore the role of identity within political institutions and the outcomes that they have on particular economic challenges within Guyana, in the post-colonial era.