PRESENTER: Candace Sobers, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History
TITLE: 'Ex Africa semper aliquid novi [Out of Africa always something new]': African Decolonization and the 'Invisible Chapter in American Diplomacy', 1950-1970
ABSTRACT: 2008 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of the US Bureau of African Affairs, yet US-African relations remain the “invisible chapter in American diplomacy”. Each Administration from Truman to Ford inherited the problem of African independence – when to invoke the US’ own revolutionary tradition and support decolonization, and how to accomplish this without jeopardizing traditional colonial relationships. Building on research from her doctoral dissertation, Candace uses the case of Angolan national liberation to examine how postwar African decolonization introduced a new set of unnerving questions about race, power, and hierarchy into Cold War international relations, and how US policymakers determined how best to manage, and potentially profit from, the threats and opportunities provided by wide?scale political changes on the African continent.