The African Airlift in the Era of Decolonization

Historian Daniel Branch will give a lecture at the Library of Congress on Wednesday, July 28th on “The Airlift: African Students Overseas in the Era of Decolonization.” The lecture is in the Jefferson Building, LJ 119, of the Library of Congress at 4:00 pm. It is in conjunction with the Center’s Fifth International Seminar on Decolonization. The seminar, supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is also cosponsored by the American Historical Association and the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress.

This event

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is free and open to the public.

Although now best known for bringing the father of the current president to the United States, the attendance of African students at universities in North America, Europe and Asia in the 1960s is a greatly significant part of the interlinked histories of decolonization and the Cold War. Intended to provide much needed specialist expertise in the public and private sectors of newly independent countries, scholarships were provided to thousands of students from across the continent. But the provision of scholarships and the experiences of the students became matters of political debate in both host and home countries. Using Kenyan students in the U.S., U.S.S.R. and China as a case study, this lecture explores the ways in which the students brought into focus debates about race, sovereignty and development in a decolonizing and Cold War world.

Daniel Branch is assistant professor of history at the University of Warwick. After gaining his PhD from the University of Oxford in 2005, he was a visiting fellow at the Program on Order, Conflict and Violence at Yale University and a lecturer at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Defeating Mau Mau, Creating Kenya (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 2009) and numerous articles on Kenyan history and politics. He is currently completing a book on the political history of Kenya since independence. He is also an alumni of the National History Center’s First International Seminar on Decolonization, held in 2006.

The International Seminar on Decolonization is a four-week seminar held at the Library brings together international scholars to examine various dimensions of decolonization, primarily 20th-century transitions from colonies to nations in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

This lecture is the final public lecture in this seminar; the first two featured Wm. Roger Louis on European Empires in Asia and Africa and Jason Parker on the Cold War and Decolonization. All three lectures have been web-casted.

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