Course Spotlight: INTL ST 403: Africa and the Global Cold War

Instructor: Martha (Janey) Myers
Date: June 20-July 31, 2022
Meeting: Online

The Cold War was a significant period of global political, cultural, and economic history during the second half of the twentieth century. Its consequences were wide-reaching; it influenced the geopolitics of regions across the globe and the popular cultures of post-WWII nation-states, shaped patterns of migration, and killed or displaced millions of people over fifty years. In this course, students will examine the intersection of Cold War politics, interventions, and ideological contests with the phenomena of decolonization and postcolonialism in sub-Saharan Africa. As a class, we will trace the growth of, challenges to, and historical connections between African, American, and Soviet iterations of political thought in the twentieth century.

First unpacking both the ideological contests of the early Cold War and the historical processes that brought about decolonization in Africa, the course will then take up the nature of Western and Soviet interventions in the so-called ‘Third World’ during the 1960s and 1970s as we examine the projects, visions, and debates that animated post-independence African states and societies. We will then investigate the local, regional, and international conditions and shifts that gave rise to economic liberalization in much of sub-Saharan Africa during the 1980s while examining the revolutions of southern Africa that unfolded in the final two decades of the Cold War.