CWIHP partner IDEAS at the London School of Economics and the Institute for International Relations in Lisbon, Portugal have issued a call for papers for a working expert seminar entitled Southern Africa in the Cold War Era, to be held in Lisbon on 8-9 May 2009.

Decolonization was the most important dynamic of change in Southern Africa in the latter half of the twentieth century. The growing historiography of the intersection of the Cold War and European decolonization in Southern Africa, and the associated African nationalist regional liberation struggle, has benefited immeasurably from recent multi-archival research. This has enabled a more nuanced understanding of the complexities of the impact of ideology, and the role of external actors and agencies, upon white minority regimes and African nationalist movements. This has highlighted the importance of addressing the direct and insidious influences of the Cold War global environment upon the pace and means of this process, which has had lasting implications for transitions to independence and subsequent state stability.

This seminar will bring together both established and new scholars in the field of Southern African studies in the 1970s and 1980s – an era in which the sub-continent became a cauldron of the Cold War. Drawing upon individual current research projects, it will address Portuguese/British relations over the long-running Rhodesian UDI crisis; the Angolan civil war; the Namibian independence struggle; Soviet, American and South African involvement in the regional liberation wars; as well as the Cuban agenda and contribution to the anti-imperialist struggle on the African continent. The organizers are also looking for papers on other aspects of the Cold War in Southern Africa in the 1970s, addressing both structure and agency. Topics might include:

-intelligence/military operational studies
-propaganda and media manipulation
-the role of multinational corporations and NGOs
-migrations and the diaspora
-gender studies (the role and impact of armed struggle)
-the role of leadership
-religion and liberation movements
-mobilization and organization
-the role of white minorities/settler communities (in the context of Portuguese decolonization in Angola and Mozambique)

Papers from post-graduate researchers are particularly welcome. Please send abstracts of proposals (250-300 words) to Dr. Sue Onslow ( by 1 December 2008.

Visit the IDEAS website for more information.