‘Pan-African Visions’ features two international historians working at the intersection of African decolonization and the continent’s post-colonial governance. Aurora Alamada e Santos (Universidade Nova de Lisboa) will discuss the struggle against Portuguese colonialism, highlighting the role of revolutionaries such as Amilcar Cabral. Frank Gerits (Utrecht University) will situate this revolutionary struggle in the context of his new book, The Ideological Scramble for Africa, which explores the impact of African decolonization on global international relations during the early Cold War era.
Frank Gerits is an Assistant Professor at Utrecht University since March 2020 and a Research Fellow at the International Studies Group at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. His first book, The Ideological Scramble for Africa: How the Pursuit of Anticolonial Modernity shaped a Postcolonial Order, 1945-1966 was published by Cornell University Press in 2023 and traces how the symbolic struggle surrounding decolonization shaped international relations in the 1950s and 1960s.
He completed his Ph.D. at the European University Institute in 2014 and has held positions at New York University (2015), the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein South Africa (2016) and the University of Amsterdam (2017). He has been a visiting fellow at the London School of Economic, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the University of Ibadan, Shanghai University, the University of Trento and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). He co-edited Visions of African Unity: New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and African Unification Projects in 2020 together with Matteo Grilli. In 2023-2024 he will be working on a project funded by the Dutch Research Foundation (NWO), entitled ‘Moral Empire: Belgium and the Global South (1830-2022)’.
Aurora Almada e Santos is a researcher at the Contemporary History Institute of the New University of Lisbon and a Visiting Professor at the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University, Fall Semester 2023. Her scientific area of activity is International History. Her domain of specialization is the international dimension of the struggle for self-determination and independence of Portuguese colonies. She is particularly interested in the role played by the international organizations. In her master’s and PhD she gave special attention to the activities of the United Nations regarding the Portuguese colonial issue. Her work demonstrates that UN pressure played a crucial role in Portuguese decolonization. Her academic activities include the publishing of articles and book chapters, participation in conferences, the organization of conferences, review of articles, collaboration on the executive board of a peer reviewed journal, and a range of contributions to working groups and professional associations.