Who is she? She said she is a historian of Africa and the Soviet Union/Russia, with particular interests in global socialism and capitalism; comparative empire and decolonization; race, nationalism, and ethnicity; Cold War ideology and interventions; area studies; and the international circulation of people, ideas, and arms.
(Elke volk het ‘n internasionale reg om as volk hulself onafhanklik te regeer) –
It is an international right that people (volk) to rule themself.
1918 Conference – 7F: Peace Movement and the Third World
Race, Civilization, and the New Primordialism: South Africa and the Soviet Collapse
For decades, the banned organizations of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement found friends in the Soviet Union. Championing the right of all South Africans—regardless of race—to self-determination, the Soviet Union provided aid to the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party in the mission to end apartheid and establish a non-racial democracy.
This paper focuses on the late 1980s, as the old order came under attack in both South Africa and the Soviet Union. Questioning inherited certainties about Others and Brothers led members of every camp to seek out new conversations and often to take new, unexpected positions.
Closed conversations became open; a tightly-regulated trickle of information became a flood. Everyone was forced to ask: what, if anything, from the old world was true?
Amidst tremendous upheaval, an unexpected friendship emerged between Russians and white South Africans who agreed that freedom meant anti-communism and the partition of multi-ethnic societies into ethnically-defined homelands.
Apartheid means “separateness.”
Emphasizing the ethnic violence that accompanied the Soviet breakup and observing what seemed to be a similarly unruly process of transformation in South Africa, some Russian Africanists began to defend the virtues of separateness.
This paper analyzes the dramatic changes in their thinking about race, civilization, and culture.
Beginning around 1990, these Africanists warmed to the idea that, contrary to what they had earlier thought, ideological barriers might be constructed and artificial, while, also contrary to their earlier thinking, ethnic or national differences were primordial and likely insurmountable.
Her dissertation traces the entangled political and intellectual histories of South Africa and the Soviet Union from the years of apartheid and socialism, through parallel legitimacy crises and the implosion of the old regimes, and finally to the construction of a new order in each country in the 1990s.
Central to her research is a decades-long transnational conversation about what Marxists called the ‘national question’: Does liberation mean living together or apart?
Does decolonization mean emphasizing what people have in common or what makes people different?
George Soros – The Bubble of American Supremacy
Berkeley has long been proud of its extensive engagement with the history of Asia, a part of the world only recently given its due by many other history departments. While developing ambitious programs in the study of East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern history, Berkeley has also maintained and increased its reputation in the several fields in which it first attained distinction in the first half of the 20th century: Ancient, Medieval, Modern European, Latin American, and United States history. More recently, the Department has expanded its engagement with African history. The Department is comprehensive also in the thematic and methodological orientations that render the study of history one of the most capacious of all academic callings. Although in recent years the Department’s strengths in cultural, intellectual, and political history have been the most widely noted, the Department’s distinction in social, economic, international, and other kinds of history is also recognized throughout the world.
In the heady years of the early 1990s, Soviet socialism and South African apartheid expired alongside one another. The ANC came to power as its most important international supporter disappeared from the political map.
Focusing on the years of transition 1986-1998, my research explores the changing place of Russia and socialism in the South African political imagination and the place of the global South in the Soviet/Russian political imagination.
In the summer of 2016, I will travel to Moscow to conduct interviews with former Soviet officials whose work brought them into contact with the South African liberation movement and to visit the archives of the Soviet Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee. During its life, the Soviet Union saw itself, and was seen by others, as a source of geopolitical power and moral authority. I hope to trace the erosion of this subject position as socialism collapsed: having abandoned the Soviet mission of liberation and the accompanying global prestige, what happened to the place of Russia in the world? What happened to the future of political imaginations rooted in liberation and social justice?
Democracy begins at home, chides billionaire philanthropist George Soros
Soros spoke at the invitation of the Goldman Forum on the Press and Foreign Affairs, a continuing series of conversations about U.S. power hosted by UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Titled “The Bubble of American Supremacy” in reference to Soros’s latest book of the same name, the event was cosponsored by the office of the Chancellor, the Commonwealth Club (which recorded the talk for a March 5 broadcast on public radio), and the World Affairs Council.
Before Soros’s discussion with Journalism Dean Orville Schell began, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl presented Soros with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Honor Award. The award recognized Soros’s “tireless efforts as a philanthropist,” in particular through his Open Society Institute and other organizations that support projects in areas such as education, public health, and civil-society development.
Collectively, Soros’s work is dedicated to building and maintaining the infrastructure and institutions described by Karl Popper and his open society. An “open society,” as defined by OSI, protects human rights, guarantees impartial justice, helps people make the most of their talents, and makes public decisions through a democratic process in which everyone can participate and question. The OSI’s mission is to promote these values in emerging democracies around the world — as well as in the United States. “Although the U.S. aspires to the ideal of an open society, in many respects we fall short and in others we are losing ground,” says OSI’s annual report.
Everything changed after 9/11
That is Soros’s most damning criticism of the Bush Administration, one that he has leveled repeatedly in opinion pieces published in the Atlantic Monthly, the Financial Times, the American Prospect; in “The Bubble of American Supremacy,” published in January 2004; and on stage at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall.