Scientists and “Third World Countries” in the 1960s to 1980s

Vila Lanna (V Sadech 1, Prague 6)
Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences
23.11.2017 - 24.11.2017
Adéla Jůnová Macková

The conference focuses on the period starting in the 1960s, which saw great political and economic changes in the so-called “Third World Countries”. The process of decolonization, the emergence of independent countries created from former colonies and UN mandates and the efforts of other countries to break away from their dependence on Western powers, the nationalization of industry, whether oil fields in the Middle East or the Suez Canal in Egypt, brought a change in the political orientation of large areas of Asia and Africa. The situation in Cuba had a very specific development. The newly formed independent countries found themselves in the grip of the fight between Soviet and American influence.

The papers look at areas with inclinations toward the Soviet bloc countries, which ultimately brought not only great economic investments, procurement of weapons and factories, but also the possibility to provide scientific contacts, scholarships, participation in scientific congresses, as well as the need to ensure top-quality education in those countries by sending experts to selected universities. Papers by contemporaries and on topics dealing generally with the issues of the theory of scientific assistance to Third World Countries are also welcome.


Thursday, 23rd November

9:00 – 9:30 Registration
9:30 – 10:00 Welcome speeches
10:00 – 11:00 Session I

TAO CHEN (Institute for German Studies, Tongji University, Shanghai, China): In the shadow of a Sino-Soviet split: East German engineers in Zhengzhou (1960–1964)

KAMILA MÁDROVÁ (Archive of the CTU, Prague, Czech Republic): The development and strategy of the contacts of the Czech Technical University with Third World Countries in the 1960s to 1980s

Panel discussions
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00 Session II

KARL HALL (Department of History, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary): “On the model of Soviet science”: Chinese physicists in the early years of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research

MARTIN FRANC (Masaryk Institute and Archive of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic): Ivan Málek and his participation in politics of international scientific support for the „Third World Countries“ in the 1960s

ADÉLA JŮNOVÁ MACKOVÁ (Masaryk Institute and Archive of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic): Czechoslovak scientists in Iraq in the 1960s

Panel discussions

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30 – 16:00 Session III

ANNA ABELMANN BROCKMANN (North American History, Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany): „[T]he most welcome stranger in Africa“ Israeli scientists in Africa in the 1960s and their search for new allies

JUSTYNA ANICETA TURKOWSKA (Department of Eastern European History, Faculty of History, Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Germany): Polish geologists as agents of technical cooperation

CLÁUDIA CASTELO (Centre for History of Science and Technology,
University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal): Putting forward alternative approaches to development in the era of decolonization: the case of the Mission for Angola Agricultural Surveys

Panel discussions
16:00 – 16:30 Coff ee break
16:30 – 17:30 Session IV

18:00 Social event

Friday, 24th November
10:00 – 11:00 Session V

ERIC BURTON (Department of Economic and Social History,
University of Vienna, Austria): Marxists-Leninists in African socialism. East German scholars at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

IAN NICOLAS INNERHOFER (Institute of German Studies, Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra, Slovakia) The ‘overpopulation’ of the “Third World” from the perspective of the “Second World” in the 1960s and 70s

Panel discussions

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 – 13:00 Session VI

HANA NAVRÁTILOVÁ (University of Reading, Great Britain): An Egyptologist between decolonization and the Cold War – Jaroslav Černý, employee of the UNESCO in Egypt in the 1960s

DANIELA HANNOVÁ (Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic): Arab students inside the Soviet bloc. A case study of Czechoslovakia during the 1950s and 1960s

BARBORA BUZÁSSYOVÁ (Institute of History, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia): Back to Africa speaking Slovak? “Third world” students in preparatory language centre in Senec during the 1960s

Panel discussions
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch
14:30 – 15:30 Session VII

STEFFI MARUNG (Centre for Area Studies, Leipzig University, Germany): Academic battlefi elds: Soviet Africanists and the international Africanist Congresses in 1962–1973

FRANTIŠEK BAHENSKÝ (Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic): In the shadow of the hammer and the sickle – Czechoslovak ethnography in the 1950s and overseas research

BLAŽ VERBIČ (Velenje Museum, Velenje, Slovenia): František Foit – Czech artist and scholar in Africa 1940s – 1960s

15:30 – 16:00 Panel discussions and closing remarks


Adéla Jůnová Macková

Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Gabčíkova 10/2362; 182 00 Prague 8; Czech Republic

Scientists and “Third World Countries” in the 1960s to 1980s, 23.11.2017 – 24.11.2017 Prague, in: Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists, 10.11.2017, <>.
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