The Global Antiapartheid Era: 1946-1994

The Global Antiapartheid Era: 1946-1994

Radical History Review
United States
From - Until
01.03.2014 -
Hiwi geschichte.transnational

The Radical History Review seeks submissions for an issue on the global politics of the anti-apartheid movement, 1946-1994. The time frame underlines our sense of the global significance of what we call the Antiapartheid Era, inaugurated by the postwar United Nations debates on discrimination suffered by Indians in South Africa and culminating in the post-Cold War transition to democracy in South Africa during the 1990s. As we see it, this antiapartheid era encompasses the evolution of the United Nations, decolonization, the Cold War, the founding of the non-aligned movement at Bandung, the rise (and fall) of Third World solidarity structures, the U.S. Civil Rights Movements, Left-Leaning Revolutions, human rights politics, upheavals of the global Sixties, and the onset of neoliberal globalization and offers new ways of connecting and contextualizing these various developments.

In 1990, the same year that Nelson Mandela walked free from prison to celebrations held around the world, the RHR published a double issue on “History from South Africa.” The issue was the result of years of collaboration between the History Workshop at the University of Witwatersrand and the American Social History Project. A little over twenty years later, as a companion and follow-up to that volume, RHR is calling for an issue that centers the history of antiapartheid solidarity. One of the most striking developments in historical research and writing over the last twenty years has been the growing interest in international, transnational, and global history. Widening our focus from the struggle against apartheid inside South Africa to a global frame reveals an exciting range of new perspectives.

For example, what happened in South Africa was bound up with struggles and anti-racist/anti-imperialist work across southern Africa and throughout the world. This activism of citizens from dozens of countries and South/ern African exiles took not only local and national forms, but often transnational forms in such initiatives as sports and cultural boycotts, corporate accountability campaigns, and calls for the release of Nelson Mandela that involved coordination across borders and appeals to a global audience. These transnational networks and campaigns were astonishing in their variety, interconnections, and persistence. There is much more to learn about the nature, scale, and scope of the antiapartheid cause, from civic and popular organizing in India, Japan, the Caribbean, independent Africa, and the “actually existing” socialist countries to the realm of international nongovernmental organizations, such as labor confederations, ecumenical religious councils, and humanitarian, pacifist, and human rights groups, to the formation of a new post-Civil Rights cohort of social activists inside the U.S.

If we borrow from the work of sociologists on global social movements and the global structures of political opportunity they engage with, we can appreciate that the antiapartheid cause unfolded from above as well as below. In addition to transnational advocacy networks and international NGOs, we need to take into account the often substantial efforts of the United Nations and allied intergovernmental agencies (e.g., the International Labour Organisation), the Organization of African Unity, international groupings such as the socialist countries and the European Community, international trade union federations, and individual states. Accordingly, we seek contributions that will trace and assess the extent and limits of the worldwide solidarity achieved in the struggle against apartheid and colonialism in Southern Africa and the impact of this solidarity on global norms of racial equality and human rights to self-determination, democracy, and development.

We are soliciting submissions that engage with one or more of the following areas of concern:
- the emergence of large-scale organizations, networks, publications, campaigns, that gave shape and weight to this global movement
- the roles and experiences of individual activists, advocates, artists, writers, and scholars, especially the diaspora of exiles from South/ern Africa. Interviews with anti-apartheid activists are especially welcome
- the role of “new nation-states and socialist nations” such as India, Egypt and Cuba, and/or the Non-aligned Movement in the antiapartheid struggle
- the impact of transnational activism on apartheid South Africa and the other white minority and colonial regimes of Southern Africa, the foreign banks, corporations, the governments of the U.S., Britain, and other states involved in the region
- the role of intergovernmental and non-governmental agencies such as the United Nations, the OAU, international labor and ecumenical bodies, and collaborations/challenges that emerged between/against these agencies
- the production, circulation, and reception of antiapartheid and liberation symbols, imagery, music, fiction, theater, films, and other cultural expressions and media
- the adaptation of the global anti-apartheid cause in diverse communities and societies and its articulation to local or national demands, especially around recognition and justice for excluded or subordinated populations, such as indigenous people in Australia and New Zealand, Dalits in India, Palestinians, and people of African descent throughout the Americas. Comparative investigations are welcome
- the application of international human rights law to the case of apartheid and the further development of this framework through interaction with the antiapartheid cause
- the place of the global anti-apartheid struggle in the reshaping of public history and memory in post-apartheid South Africa, in museums, historical sites, and history textbooks

Radical History Review publishes material in a wide variety of forms. The editors will consider scholarly research articles as well as photo essays, film and book review essays, interviews, brief interventions, essays on museum and other public history forums, “conversations” between scholars and/or activists, teaching notes and annotated course syllabi, and research notes.

At this time we request that potential contributors submit 1-2 page abstracts summarizing the article you wish to include in this issue as an attachment to with “Issue 119 abstract submission” in the subject line. Initial abstracts and article proposals are due by May 15, 2012.

By June 15, 2012, selected authors will be invited to prepare a full version of their article for peer review. The due date for completed drafts of articles is February 1, 2013. Final article manuscripts ready for publication must be returned to the editors by Aug. 1, 2013. Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 119 of Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in Spring 2014. The issue editors strongly encourage the submission of images or artwork to illustrate textual pieces, as well as photo or other visual essays. Please send any images as low-resolution digital files embedded in a Word document. If chosen for publication, authors will need to send separate, high-resolution images files (jpg or tif files at a minimum of 300 dpi), along with written permission to reprint all images.


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