Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


African Studies Seminar: The rise and fall of African socialist thought in the global 20th century

05 December 2019, 12:30 pm–2:00 pm

Nyerere in a public procession – The National Archives UK

The UCL African Studies Seminar welcomes Emma Hunter (Edinburgh - History) for the fifth seminar of this autumn term: ‘The rise and fall of African socialist thought in the global twentieth century’. Seminars will take place every other Thursday this term.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Hélène Neveu Kringelbach


IAS Forum
Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

In this talk, which draws on a contribution to a global history of socialism, I will explore African socialist thought in the 1950s to 1970s and situate it in the context of decolonization, the aftermath of the global depression of the 1930s, and the Second World War. In this context, a number of African political leaders, as well as trade unionists, writers, journalists and engaged citizens, drew on global critiques of capitalism and developed new and distinctive analyses. Building on their own readings of Africa’s past and its present, they also engaged with socialist and anti-colonial thinkers from Africa and around the world, and with the moral and social thought of world religions, as they sought to repair the fractures wrought by colonialism and build a new society. Yet the same legacies of colonialism and pressures of post-colonial state building in a Cold War world which made African socialist thought attractive both internally and externally also proved its undoing by the end of the 1970s.

All welcome. Please note that there may be photography and/or audio recording at some events and that admission is on a first come first served basis. Please follow this FAQ link for more information. All our events are free but you can support the IAS here.

This seminar series is convened by the African Studies Research Centre/IAS:

View the full Autumn seminar programme

Image: Nyerere in a public procession – The National Archives UK

About the Speaker

Emma Hunter is Professor of Global and African History at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently Principal Investigator for the Leverhulme Trust research project ‘Another World? East Africa and the Global 1960s’ and is writing A Modern History of Tanzania for Cambridge University Press.