Socialism Goes Global: The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the Age of Decolonisation

Book cover

Socialism Goes Global: The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the Age of Decolonisation

Tuesday, 1 March 2022 - 5:00pm
Zoom webinar
James Mark (University of Exeter)
Paul Betts (St Antony's College, Oxford) ...
Kate Lebow (Christ Church College, Oxford)
Theodora Dragostinova (Ohio State University) and Saul Dubow (Cambridge)
European Studies Seminar


To attend this event online, please register here

On the occasion of the publication of Socialism Goes Global: The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the Age of Decolonisation
Coordinated by James Mark and Paul Betts

This collectively written monograph is the first work to provide a broad history of the relationship between Eastern Europe and the decolonising world. It ranges from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century, but at its core is the dynamic of the post-1945 period, when socialism's importance as a globalising force accelerated and drew together what contemporaries called the 'Second' and 'Third Worlds'. At the centre of this history is the encounter between the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe on one hand, and a wider world casting off European empires or struggling against western imperialism on the other. The origins of these connections are traced back to new forms of internationalism enabled by the Russian Revolution; the interplay between the first 'decolonisation' of the twentieth century in Eastern Europe and rising anti-colonial movements; and the global rise of fascism, which created new connections between East and South. The heart of the study, however, lies in the Cold War, when these contacts and relationships dramatically intensified. A common embrace of socialist modernisation and anti-imperial culture opened up possibilities for a new and meaningful exchange between the peripheries of Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Such linkages are examined across many different fields - from health to archaeology, economic development to the arts - and through many people - from students to experts to labour migrants - who all helped to shape a different form and meaning of globalisation.

James Mark is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Exeter. He has published widely on the social and cultural history of Communism, history and memory, and the global history of Eastern Europe. He is the author of three monographs, most recently co-authoring 1989: A Global History of Eastern Europe with Bogdan Iacob, Tobias Rupprecht, and Ljubica Spaskovska.

Paul Betts is Professor of Professor of Modern European History at (St Antony's College, Oxford), and previously taught at the University of Sussex and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has published widely on 20th century European cultural history, and is the author of three monographs, most recently Ruin and Renewal: Civilising Europe after World War II (2020). He has also published seven co-edited volumes, and serves on the Editorial Board of Past & Present.

Theodora Dragostinova is an associate professor of history at Ohio State University. Her work focuses on nationalism, migration, global history, and Cold War culture. Geographically, her research is focused on eastern Europe, with an emphasis on the Balkans and Bulgaria. Professor Dragostinova's second book, The Cold War from the Margins: A Small Socialist State on the Global Cultural Scene, is published by Cornell University Press in 2021.

Saul Dubow is Smuts Professor of Commonwealth History at the University of Cambridge. His work reflects his experiences of being shaped politically and intellectually by growing up in South Africa: his academic interests thus include the history of segregation and apartheid; Commonwealth, imperial and post-colonial history; the history of science; and the political dimensions of global intellectual thought. His latest book, The Scientific Imagination in South Africa 1700 to the Present (with William Beinart) was published in 2021 by Cambridge University Press.