"Leninian moment"? Soviet Africanists and the Interpretation of the October Revolution, 1950s–1970s
Dr. Steffi Marung (SFB 1199, Leipzig U)
|Publication Date||December 2017|
|Publisher||Mattersburger Kreis für Entwicklungspolitik (Austria)|
Journal für Entwicklungspolitik XXXIII 3 (2017): 21–48.
The October Revolution was pivotal in the globalisation of socialism as a claim-making device. Soviet Africanists interpreting the revolution and its legacy vis-à-vis African dynamics were part of this process. The more the revolution became an event of the distant past, the more it was mobilised as a short hand for post-colonial development and the repositioning of societies in a new global order. This article sheds light on the transfers and circulations of these ideas during the 1950s to the 1970s, and how these impacted on the understandings of socialist development in the Soviet Union. The experiences of Soviet scholars with and in “Africa” played a crucial role for the co-production of such concepts: academic as well as personal frustrations became a driver for change of Soviet Africanists’ theorisations on development and socialism in Africa.
Dr. Steffi Marung (SFB 1199, Leipzig U, Germany)
Steffi Marung gained a PhD in global studies from the Leipzig University with a study on shifting border regimes of the expanding European Union since 1990. Prior to earning her PhD, she had studied political science and German literature in Halle, Berlin, and Prague. From there she further developed her interest in processes of (re-)spatialization into an ongoing book project on the transnational history of Soviet African studies during the Cold War. In the framework of the international collaborative project “Socialism Goes Global”, she has extended this research towards more general questions of the geographies of East-South encounters during the Cold War. Teaching global history courses at the Global and European Studies Institute at the Leipzig University and being involved in further book projects (one on the transnational history of East Central Europe since the nineteenth century, another one on the global history of area studies, and a third one on transregional studies), she contributes to the SFB’s programme with research on the historiographical background of and multiple disciplinary theoretical foundations for the investigation of spatial formats and spatial orders. To this end, she endeavours to facilitate and promote joint cross-project discussions and the formation of a common theoretical language and framework.