The Kennan Institute Honors Black History Month 2023
In honor of Black History Month 2023, throughout the month of February the Kennan Institute will be sharing research, events, interviews, and blog posts that amplify the voices and experiences of African Americans, Africans, and Black people more broadly within the context of both Soviet history and contemporary US-Russia relations. We will highlight black voices and research in the Soviet and Post-Soviet space throughout this month and beyond. Promoting these usually under-recognized experiences is essential to our mission of improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, and the wider Eurasia region.
Past Publications and Events
Missed Histories: Overlooked Stories in Russian Studies from the Overlooked
Kennan Institute Black History Month Book List
Behind the Story: Black Journalists in Russia and Eurasia
Race, Racism, and Diversity in Slavic and Eurasian Studies
Andrea Lee's "Russian Journal": A Tapestry of the Late Soviet Era
While several well-known accounts of African American experiences in the Soviet Union exist from the 1920s and 30s, there are fewer memoirs and travelogues from the later Soviet period. As part of the Kennan Institute's Black History Month programming, Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon reflects on one travelogue from the 1970s in particular by Andrea Lee titled "Russian Journal," which is a fast-paced tour through Brezhnev's so-called “stagnant” Soviet Union.
Facebook Live | Pathways to Success: Russia, Race, and Careers in Public Service
Global Perspectives | Ethiopia-Russia Relations
“Blacks, Reds, and Russians:” An Interview with Joy Carew
To continue with our Black History Month effort, we recently interviewed Professor Joy Carew of the University of Louisville about her research on the history and experiences of black people in the USSR and Russia.
Kennan Cable No. 47: Moscow’s Limited Prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa
Black Skin in the Red Land: African Americans and the Soviet Experiment
Life as a Black Ukrainian: How Some Natives Are Treated Like Foreigners
“Racism ... has its unique trend on former Soviet Union soil,” according to guest speaker Terrell Starr, who discussed his research as a Fulbright scholar in Ukraine at a May 2011 Kennan Institute event. In particular, Starr focused on the experiences of African-Ukrainian women.
"Race Travelers" and Black America's Romance with Soviet Russia
Maxim Matusevich explains how early Soviet Russia was perceived by the black community in the United States as a "red Mecca" of equality, not because of the ideology of the Soviet state, but rather due to the image of a "multi-ethnic Soviet Union marching towards a communist paradise."
We Need to Change How We Talk about Russia in Africa
Against the backdrop of China and Russia’s growing influence on the African continent, Western news outlets have recently seized on comparisons between these current rivalries and those of the nineteenth-century colonial era. Emily Couch explains why we need to question the new “scramble for Africa” narrative.
Beyond State Crisis? Post-Colonial Africa and Post-Soviet Eurasia in Comparative Perspective
Perspectives on Political Science writes that "Any scholar interested in comparative studies and international relations will find a wealth of substantive detail and theoretical discussion by expert observers of state effectiveness and breakdown" in this 2002 offering from Wilson Center Press and the Johns Hopkins University Press.More about this title can be found on the Johns Hopkins University Press website, along with ordering information.
The Soviet Union in the Horn of Africa
Documents reveal Moscow found itself in the Horn of Africa not by imposition but by invitation.
Southern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974
CWIHP is pleased to announce publication of the first-ever Critical Oral History on Southern Africa in the Cold War era. Drawing together leading former antagonists from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, the former Soviet Union and with representation from Cuba, this volume combines moderated discussion from contemporary actors, combined with academic analysis and new key multi-archival documents. The volume is an important contribution to study of the complexity of the Cold War in the region's liberation struggles versus white minority resistance.
Battleground Africa: Cold War in the Congo, 1960–1965
Lise Namikas traces the Congo Crisis from post-World War II decolonization efforts through Mobutu’s second coup in 1965 from a radically new vantage point.
A Distant Front in the Cold War: The USSR in West Africa and the Congo, 1956-1964
Written by Sergey Mazov