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Africa and the Cold War - Term 1 Week 8

Capitalism, Socialism or African Socialism? Struggles over Economic Growth

From the 1950s, the process of nation-building began for newly independent African countries. While some were drawn to opportunities for popular mobilisation or capitalism, others attempted to implement what is broadly regarded as 'African socialism’. This political ideology involved the rejection of western finance, as well as western ideas about social, economic, and political development. The superpowers, both the US and the USSR, were keen to offer their own ‘models’ of achieving rapid economic development in Africa. In this seminar, we will first examine Soviet and American approaches to development before examining what “African socialism” meant to its advocates, as well as to its opponents. Latham and Iandolo give an introduction to American and Soviet models of development respectively. Read Speich’s piece on Kenya, alongside short piece from Tom Mboya and Kwame Nkrumah for African perspectives.

Class/Essay questions

1. How different were Soviet and Western approaches to economic development in Africa?
2. What was ‘African socialism’ and why did many oppose it?
3. How successful were Soviet and American development initiatives in Africa during the 1960s? Answer with reference to THREE examples
4. 'The Cold War in Africa was a contest over different visions of economic modernisation'. Discuss

Class readings

Michael Latham, Right Kind of Revolution: Modernization and U.S. Foreign Policy from the Cold War to the Present (Ithaka: Cornell University Press, 2010), pp. 65-68, 75-90 [E-book]  
Alessandro Iandolo, ‘The rise and fall of the ‘Soviet Model of Development’ in West Africa, 1957–64’, Cold War History, 12 (2012): 683-704  
Daniel Speich, ‘The Kenyan Style of African Socialism: Developmental Knowledge Claims and the Explanatory Limits of the Cold War’, Diplomatic History, 33 (2009), 449-66  

Primary Documents:
Tom Mboya, 'African Socialism', Transition, 8 (1963), 17-19.  
Kwame Nkrumah, ‘African Socialism Revisited’, paper read at the Africa Seminar held in Cairo at the invitation of the two organs At-Talia and Problems of Peace and Socialism,  available at

TASK: Look at the photographs of Ghana’s architecture in the Calvert journal, available from

What does this architecture represent?

Further reading

Giovanni Arrighi, ‘The world economy and the Cold War, 1970-1990’ in Melvyn Leffler and Odd Arne Westad (eds.), The Cambridge History of the Cold War, Volume 3, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)
Paul Betts, 'The Warden of World Heritage: UNESCO and the Rescue of the Nubian Monuments', Past and Present (2015), Supplement 10
Johanna Bockman, "The Origins of Neoliberalism between Soviet Socialism and Western Capitalism: ‘A Galaxy without Borders’,” Theory and Society 36, no. 4 (2007): 343–71

Matthew Connelly, ‘To Inherit the Earth: Imaging World Population, from the Yellow Peril to the Population Bomb’, Journal of Global History, 1 (2008): 299-319.
Nils Gilman, ‘The New International Economic Order: A Reintroduction’, Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, 6/1 (2015)
Matthew Connelly, Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008)
David Engerman, ‘The Romance of Economic Development and New Histories of the Cold War’, Diplomatic History, Vol. 28, No. 1 (January 2004)
Akira Iriya, Global Community: The Role of International Organisations in the Making of the Contemporary World (Berkley, CA, 2002)
Erez Manela, ‘A Pox on Your Narrative: Writing Disease Control into Cold War History’, Diplomatic History, Vol. 34, No. 2 (April 2010). E-Book.
Daniel Maul, ‘Help Them Move the ILO Way: The International Labor Organization and the Modernization Discourse in the Era of Decolonization and the Cold War’, Diplomatic History, 33 (2009): 387–404
*C.N Murphy, ‘What the Third World Wants: An Interpretation of the Development and Meaning of the New International Economic Order Ideology’, International Studies Quarterly, 27 (March 1983)
Amy Staples, The Birth of Development: How the Wold Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Health Organisation Changed the World, 1945-1965 (Kent, OH, 2006)
*James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT, 1998).

On Modernisation Theory and US Policy in Africa
David Ekbladh, The Great American Mission: Modernization and the Construction of an American World Order (Princeton University Press, 2011)
*Anne-Marie Angelo & Tom Adam Davies, ‘American business can assist [African] hands: the Kennedy administration, US corporations, and the Cold War struggle for Africa’, The Sixties, 8:2 (2015): 156-178
Elizabeth A. Cobbs, ‘Decolonization, the Cold War, and the Foreign Policy of the Peace Corps’, Diplomatic History, 20 (January 1996): 79–105

Nils Gilman, 'Modernisation theory, the highest stage of American intellectual history', in David Engerman et al (eds.), Staging Growth: Modernization, Development, and the Global Cold War (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003)
Nils Gilman, Mandarins of the Future: Modernzation Theory in Cold War America (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2007)
*Michael Latham, Right Kind of Revolution: Modernization and U.S. Foreign Policy from the Cold War to the Present (Ithaka: Cornell University Press, 2010)
Michael Latham, Modernization as Ideology: American Social Science and ‘Nation-Building’ in the Kennedy Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000)
Philip E. Muehlenbeck, ‘Kennedy and Touré: A Success in Personal Diplomacy’, Diplomacy & Statecraft, 19 (2008): 69-95.
Philip E. Muehlenbeck, Betting on the Africans: John F. Kennedy’s Courting of African Nationalist Leaders (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).
Patrick Neveling, ‘Flexible capitalism and transactional orders in colonial and postcolonial Mauritius: A post-occidentalise view’, in Jens Kjaerulf (ed), Flexible Capitalism: Exchange and Ambiguity at Word (Oxford, Berghahn, 2015)
Thomas J. Noer, ‘The New Frontier and African Neutralism: Kennedy, Nkrumah and the Volta River Project’, Diplomatic History, 8 (1984), 61-79.
Robert B. Rakove, Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013) [e-book]. [see also the H-1960s exchange between Rakove and Simon Stevens]
*Walt Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto (Cambridge, Engaland, 1960)
Jonathan Zimmerman, ‘Beyond Double Consciousness: Black Peace Corps Volunteers in Africa, 1961–1971’, Journal of American History, 82 (3) (1995): 999–1028.

The Soviet Union and the socialist bloc (also see the week on students)

*David C. Engerman, ‘The Second World’s Third World’, Kritika, 12 (2011), 183-211.
Nigel Gould-Davies, ‘The Logic of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy’, Diplomatic History, 27 (2003), 193-214.
William Glenn Gray, Germany’s Cold War: The Global Campaign to Isolate East Germany, 1949-1969 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003) [e-book].
*Young-Sun Hong, Cold War Germany, the Third World, and the Global Humanitarian Regime (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015) [e-book].
Alessandro Iandolo, ‘The rise and fall of the ‘Soviet Model of Development’ in West Africa, 1957–64’, Cold War History, 12 (2012): 683-704
Sara Lorenzini, ‘Comecon and the South in the years of détente: a study on East–South economic relations’, European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire, 21:2 (2014): 183-199.
Maxim Matusevich, ‘Revisiting the Soviet Moment in Sub-Saharan Africa’, History Compass, 7 (2009), 1259-68.Philip E. Muehlenbeck, Czechoslovakia in Africa, 1945–1968 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
O. Igho Natufe, Soviet Policy in Africa: From Lenin to Brezhnev (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011).
Oye Ogunbadejo, ‘Soviet Policies in Africa’, African Affairs, 79 (1980), 297-325.
*Oscar Sanches-Sibony, Red Globalisation: The Political Economy of the Soviet Cold War from Stalin to Khrushchev (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), Chapter 4. Maelstrom: The decolonisation vortex.
Gareth M. Winrow, The Foreign Policy in the GDR in Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) [e-book]
East Africa (esp. Tanzania)
Abdul Rahman Mohamed Babu, African Socialism or Socialist Africa? (London, 1981).
Andrew Bowman, 'Mass Production or Production by the Masses? Tractors, Cooperatives, and the Politics of Rural Development in Post-Independence Zambia', Journal of African History, 52 (2011), 201-21.
Andreas Eckert, 'Julius Nyerere and the Project of African Socialism', in Jost Dulffer and Marc Frey (eds), Elites and Decolonization in the Twentieth Century (Basingstoke, 2011). E-book
Zaki Ergas, 'Why Did the Ujamaa Village Policy Fail? Towards a Global Analysis', Journal of Modern African Studies, 18 (1980), 387-410.
Steven Feierman, Peasant Intellectuals: Anthropology and History in Tanzania (Madison, WI, 1990). E-book
Bonny Ibhawoh and J. I. Dibua, 'Deconstructing Ujamaa: The Legacy of Julius Nyerere in the Quest for Social and Economic Development in Africa', African Journal of Political Science, 8 (2003), 59-83.
Ralph Grillo, 'The Construct of 'Africa' in 'African Socialism', in C. M. Hann (ed.), Socialism: Ideals, Ideologies and Local Practice (London, 1993), 59-76.
Emma Hunter, ‘Revisiting Ujamaa: Political Legitimacy and the Construction of Community in Post-Colonial Tanzania’, Journal of Eastern African Studies, 2 (2008), 471-85.
John Iliffe, A Modern History of Tanganyika (Cambridge, 1979). E-book
Andrew Ivaska, '"Anti-Mini Militants Meet Modern Misses": Urban Style, Gender and the Politics of "National Culture" in 1960s Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania', Gender & History, 14 (2002), 584–607.
Michael Jennings, '"We Must Run While Others Walk": Popular Participation and Development Crisis in Tanzania, 1961-9’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 41 (2003), 163-87.
Michael Jennings, '“Almost an Oxfam in Itself”: Oxfam, Ujamaa and Development in Tanzania', African Affairs, 101 (2002), 509–30.
Priya Lal, 'Self-Reliance and the State: The Multiple Meanings of Development in Early Post-Colonial Tanzania', Africa 82 (2012), 212-34.
*Priya Lal, African Socialism in Postcolonial Tanzania: Between the Village and the World (New York, 2015). E-book
Yusufu Qwaray Lawi, ‘Tanzania’s Operation Vijiji and Local Ecological Consciousness: The Case of Eastern Iraqwland’, Journal of African History, 48 (2007), 69-93.
*Michael Mahoney, ‘Estado Novo, Homem Novo (New State, New Man): Colonial and Anticolonial Development Ideologies in Mozambique, 1930-1977’, in David C. Engerman et. al (eds), Staging Growth: Modernization, Development, and the Global Cold War (2003), pp. 165-199
Tom Mboya, “Tensions in African Development,” in The Challenge of Nationhood: A Collection of Speeches and Writings, ed. Tom Mboya (London, 1970 [1961])
Tom Mboya, 'African Socialism', Transition, 8 (1963), 17-19.
Julius Nyerere, Freedom and Unity: A Selection from Writings and Speeches, 1952-65 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986)
Stephen A. Quick, 'Bureaucracy and Rural Socialism in Zambia', Journal of Modern African Studies, 15 (1977), 379-400.
Republic of Kenya, African Socialism and its Application to Planning in Kenya (Nairobi, 1965).
Philip Raikes, ‘Rural Differentiation and Class Formation in Tanzania’, Journal of Peasant Studies, 5 (1978), 285-325.
Leander Schneider, 'Freedom and Unfreedom in Rural Development: Julius Nyerere, Ujamaa Vijijini and Villagization’ Canadian Journal of African Studies, 38 (2004), 344-393.
Leander Schneider, ‘Colonial Legacies and Postcolonial Authoritarianism in Tanzania: Connects and Disconnects’, African Studies Review, 49 (2006), 93-118.
Leander Schneider, 'High on Modernity? Explaining the Failings of Tanzanian Villagization’, African Studies Review, 66 (2007), 9-38.
Leander Schneider, 'Liberating Development? Rule and Liberation in Post-Colonial Tanzania', Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 32 (2014), 319-30.
Viktoria Stöger-Eising, ‘Ujamaa Revisited’, Africa, 70 (2000), 118-43.
Daniel Speich, 'The Kenyan Style of "African Socialism": Developmental Knowledge Claims and the Explanatory Limits of the Cold War', Diplomatic History, 33 (2009), 449-66.

Elsewhere in Africa
*Emmanuel Akyeampong, 'African socialism; or, the search for an indigenous model of economic development?', Economic History of Developing Regions, 33:1 (2018): 69-87
S, Azam, JP, Bates, RH, Fosu, AK, Gunning, JW & Njinkeu, D (Eds), The political economy of economic growth in Africa 1960–2000, Vol. 2, 315–347 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2008)
Ama Biney, The Political and Social Thought of Kwame Nkrumah (Basingstoke, 2011). E-book
Ama Biney, 'The Legacy of Kwame Nkrumah in Retrospect', Journal of Pan African Studies, 2 (2008), 129-159.
*Jeffrey James Byrne, Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) [e-book].
*Jeffrey Byrne, ‘Our Own Special Brand of Socialism: Algeria and the Contest of Modernities in the 1960s’, Diplomatic History, Vol. 33, No. 3 (June 2009).
Salma Botman, “Women’s participation in Radical Egyptian Politics, 1930-1952,” in Magida Salman et al eds., Women in the Middle East (London: Zed, 1987)
Joel Beinin, "Labor, Capital and the State in Nasserist Egypt, 1952-1961," International Journal of Middle East Studies, 21:1 (1989)
Christopher Clapham, 'Revolutionary Socialist Development in Ethiopia', African Affairs, 86 (1987), 151-65.
Opuko, Darko, ‘Political Dilemmas of Indigenous Capitalist Development in Africa: Ghana under the Provisional National Defence Council’, Africa Today 55 (2) (2008): 25–50.
John N. Hazard, 'Marxian Socialism in Africa: The Case of Mali', Comparative Politics, 2 (1969), 1-15.
Guy Martin, African Political Thought (Basingstoke, 2012). E-book
Adam Mayer, Naija Marxisms: Revolutionary Thought in Nigeria (London: Zed, 2016).

Steven Metz, 'In Lieu of Orthodoxy: The Socialist Theories of Nkrumah and Nyerere', Journal of Modern African Studies, 20 (1982), 377-92.
Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (Berkeley, CA, 2002).
Carl G. Rosberg and Thomas M. Callaghy (eds), Socialism in Sub-Saharan Africa: A New Assessment (Berkeley, 1979).
Thomson, An Introduction to African Politics (London, 2010). E-book
Sprinzak, 'African Traditional Socialism - Semantic Analysis of Political Ideology', Journal of Modern African Studies, 7, 629-47.
Crawford Young, Ideology and Development in Africa (London, 1982).
Justin Williams, Pan-Africanism in Ghana: African socialism, neoliberalism, and globalization (Carolina Academic Press, Durham, NC, 2016)