Call for Papers: Lusophone Africa and the Global Cold War

Natalia Telepneva's picture
Call for Papers
September 7, 2020 to September 8, 2020
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Diplomacy and International Relations, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Russian or Soviet History / Studies, Spanish and Portuguese History / Studies

Lusophone Africa and the Global Cold War: New Regional and International Perspectives

7-8 September 2020, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Since the publication of Odd Arne Westad’s "The Global Cold War", the literature on the Cold War in Africa has mushroomed to incorporate new, previously ignored actors and perspectives.The literature on South Africa is vast, yet the Portuguese-speaking Africa (including the colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe) has received significantly less attention from Cold War historians. This workshop seeks to address this gap, in view of new perspectives and sources. We aim to address the interplay between ideologies of liberation and the Cold War in the 1960s and the early 1970s, when the liberation movements engaged in armed struggle in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. By looking at this, the workshop aims to establish how the movements that came to dominate ‘national liberation’ in Lusophone Africa both shaped and were shaped by experiences of exile and armed struggle in the context of the Global Cold War. In particular, the workshop aims to address how these liberation movements sought to coopt various groups and how experiences of exile and of international travel shaped ideas of the rank-and-file members. We are particularly interested to know how relations with various international donors, including with the socialist countries, shaped ideas of the state after 1975. Finally, the workshop aims to address the global repercussions of liberation struggles in Lusophone colonies for both its supporters and rivals.

To discuss these themes, we invite original contributions in the following general fields:

1. Diplomacy of the Liberation Movements. What strategies did the liberation movements from Lusophone colonies employ to gain international and regional support? What were their international networks?

2. Ideology of the Liberation Movements. Were the African elites who led these liberation movements Marxist? What was their relation with ‘African Socialism’ and their stance towards the Cold War? What was the impact of socialist ideas in the ‘liberated areas’ during the war and upon modernisation projects after 1975?

3. Armed Struggle and the African Militaries. The liberation movements engaged in armed struggle against the Portuguese authorities from 1961 until 1975. How were young men (and women) co-opted into the armed struggle? How did their experiences shape their ideas about the state? Who were their main rivals? Why did some choose to join ‘national liberation struggle’ and other chose to opt out? How did the experiences of armed struggle shape the nature of civilian-military relations after independence?

4. International Impact. How did struggles in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau affect the Cold War in Africa and around the world?

5. Portugal and the World. How did Portugal attempt to construct an alternative Cold War narrative to counter that of the liberation movements? What were the ‘legacies’ of this Portuguese strategy for nascent states in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau?

Those interested should send their short biography and abstract of 200-500 words to Natalia Telepneva ( and Rui Lopes ( by 23 January 2020.

Applicants will receive letters of acceptance by 23 February 2020. Successful applicants will be expected to send workshop ‘position papers’ (approx. 2,500 words) by August 24th, 2020.


Contact Info: 

Natalia Telepneva