Out of Empire into Socialist Modernity: Soviet-African (Dis)Connections and Global Intellectual Geographies
- Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Duke University Press
- Volume 41, Number 1, May 2021
- pp. 56-70
- Additional Information
In this article the Soviet-African Modern is presented through an intellectual history of exchanges in a triangular geography, outspreading from Moscow to Paris to Port of Spain and Accra. In this geography, postcolonial conditions in Eastern Europe and Africa became interconnected. This shared postcolonial space extended from the Soviet South to Africa. The glue for the transregional imagination was an engagement with the topos of backwardness. For many of the participants in the debate, the Soviet past was the African present. Focusing on the 1960s and 1970s, three connected perspectives on the relationship between Soviet and African paths to modernity are presented: First, Soviet and Russian scholars interpreting the domestic (post)colonial condition; second, African academics revisiting the Soviet Union as a model for development; and finally, transatlantic intellectuals connecting postcolonial narratives with socialist ones. Drawing on Russian archives, the article furthermore demonstrates that Soviet repositories hold complementary records for African histories.