Foto: Matthias Friel
Please follow the "comment" link above for more information on comments, course readings, course requirements and grading.This graduate seminar engages with the interaction between African decolonization and global superpower rivalries, from the late 1950s until the end of the Cold War. It does so by interweaving the international, national and local spheres. Decolonization in the late 1950s and 1960s and the development of African independent nation-states interacted with the unfolding of the Cold War, on both a global and a local stage. In a global arena determined by the Cold War, African politicians needed to position themselves with reference to the geopolitical historical moment. Many African political actors sought to remain neutral and ‘non-aligned’, but others deliberately portrayed local conflicts in Cold War terms to sway the United States or Soviet Union and their allies to interfere. In this seminar, students will explore the extent to which African states and political movements were the subject of manipulation by the superpowers. They will analyze the motivations underlying the policies of the United States and the Soviet Union (and their respective allies) in Africa, also with respect to decolonization. Moreover, students will come to critically examine Odd Arne Westad’s ground-breaking approach, emphasizing the agency of non-western actors in shaping the form and extent of superpower intervention (or the lack of it) in African contexts and conflicts. The course includes a range of sources to assess what we know – and the many things we still don’t know – about Africa’s Cold War. It takes place in presence.
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