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Nicholas Grant. Winning Our Freedoms Together: African Americans and Apartheid, 1945-1960
2017, University of North Carolina Press
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Publisher’s Note: In this transnational account of black protest, Nicholas Grant examines how African Americans engaged with, supported, and were inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement. Bringing black activism into conversation with the foreign policy of both the U.S. and South African governments, this study questions the dominant perception that U.S.-centered anticommunism decimated black international activism. Instead, by tracing the considerable amount of time, money, and effort the state invested into responding to black international criticism, Grant outlines the extent to which the U.S. and South African governments were forced to reshape and occasionally reconsider their racial policies in the Cold War world. This study shows how African Americans and black South Africans navigated transnationally organized state repression in ways that challenged white supremacy on both sides of the Atlantic. The political and cultural ties that they forged during the 1940s and 1950s are testament to the insistence of black activists in both countries that the struggle against apartheid and Jim Crow were intimately interconnected.

Comment: Discusses the perseverance of black activism from an international perspective and its relation to foreign policy. Requires prior knowledge of the US and South Africa during the Cold War as well as knowledge of anticommunism and apartheid during this period.

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Obi, Cyril. Nigeria’s foreign policy and transnational security challenges in West Africa
2008, Journal of Contemporary African Studies Vol.26, No.2, April 2008, 183-196
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, Contributed by: Atanas Malakchiev
Abstract:

This article explores how Nigeria's foreign policy has responded to transnational security challenges in West Africa. It engages in a conceptual overview of the discourse on transnational security and links this with a discussion of Nigeria's foreign policy towards West Africa. Of note is Nigeria's pursuit of a leadership role in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in its quest for security, economic integration and development. Several questions are posed: What do Nigerian policymakers consider to be the most significant transnational threats in West Africa? How and through what legitimate policies and instruments do they respond to such threats? How important is ECOWAS to Nigeria's attempt to respond to transnational threats? And how effective have Nigeria's attempts to influence the ECOWAS agenda in this regard been? Although ECOWAS has remained central to Nigeria's responses to transnational security threats in the subregion, the country has not been able to match its rhetoric on addressing transnational security threats with far-reaching concrete achievements. It is suggested that social transformation of Nigeria's current foreign policy (that is, to one focused and committed to putting people at its centre) and a change in the policies of dominant global powers towards West Africa would enhance human emancipation and eliminate the numerous insecurities confronting the peoples of the subregion.

Comment: The text offers an overview of security threats in West Africa and the ways that Nigeria has tried to address them using the mechanisms provided by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Nigeria has sought a leadership role in this organization through economic and military aid to its members. The article can be used to illustrate the ways that a country can pursue its foreign policy through multilateral organizations such as ECOWAS.

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Sarah Claire Dunstan. A Question of Allegiance: African American Intellectuals, Presence Africaine and the 1956 Congres des Ecrivains et Artistes Noirs
2015, Australia New Zealand American Studies Associations
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Abstract: Recent scholarship has demonstrated that in the period from 1945 through to the late 1950s African American intellectuals re-oriented their activism from an internationalist and human rights framed agenda towards a domestically bound struggle. This article will contribute to this literature by mapping out a facet of African American intellectual engagement with the African diaspora during this period. Of particular focus will be African American reactions to the journal Présence Africaine and the conference sponsored by the journal in 1956, le Congrès des écrivains et artistes noirs. Iwill argue that the experiences of a select group of African American delegates to this Congrès served to emphasise the radically different objectives and strategies of nationalities within the African diaspora, thereby consolidating black American perceptions of themselves as first, and foremost, American. In interrogating this diasporan dimension of the period, this article will shed light on a neglected aspect of African American history and expand the intellectual and political boundaries of the black freedom struggle.

Comment: Useful for discussions on African American activism in the early Cold War. Shows the discrepancy between the impact of anticommunism on radical activism and American foreign diplomacy championing for human rights. Should be used as an example after having established solid background knowledge on this topic.

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Zarakol, Ayşe. After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West
2011, After defeat : how the east learned to live with the west. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Cambridge studies in international relations, 118).
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Publisher’s Note:

Not being of the West; being behind the West; not being modern enough; not being developed or industrialized, secular, civilized, Christian, transparent, or democratic - these descriptions have all served to stigmatize certain states through history. Drawing on constructivism as well as the insights of social theorists and philosophers, After Defeat demonstrates that stigmatization in international relations can lead to a sense of national shame, as well as auto-Orientalism and inferior status. Ayşe Zarakol argues that stigmatized states become extra-sensitive to concerns about status, and shape their foreign policy accordingly. The theoretical argument is supported by a detailed historical overview of central examples of the established/outsider dichotomy throughout the evolution of the modern states system, and in-depth studies of Turkey after the First World War, Japan after the Second World War, and Russia after the Cold War

Comment: The author attempts to understand East-West relations by examining the dynamics that constructed the behaviour of the East towards the West and vice versa. Zarakol argues that within the international system, following major historical events such as the both World Wars, the Western states continued to be understood as the 'insiders', while their Eastern counterparts became 'outsider' states. This outsider status resulted in stigmatisation of the states she studies, and through being stigmatised the outsiders felt inferior and their access to certain political, economic and social privileges was hindered. The book is therefore a highly useful overview of East-West relations for students of the history of international relations, and can be used within the debate about East-West relations in the post-Cold War world. This book is also useful for understanding how theoretical concepts in diplomatic history/ international relations can be applied to real-world cases.

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