Socialist Educational Cooperation with the Global South

Conference, 11-12 May 2018, Gießen, Germany


Gießen (DE), 11-12 May 2018

During the struggles for independence in the global south, education became an important motor for emancipation. The postcolonial countries put the development of a democratic and de-racialized educational system on the agenda of problems urgently to be solved. In the course of these developments, a large part of the African countries, the countries of Southern and Northern Asia, of the Near and Middle East countries and Latin America, sought contact with and support by established socialist countries, such as the Soviet Union and the GDR. Cuba initially sought the support of the Soviet Union and the GDR but consequently became one of the main supporting countries itself, mostly for African and Latin American countries. As a result of these voluntary or necessary collaborations, this global educational space experienced a circulation of concepts for teacher training, teaching materials, curricula and methods of instruction. However, these educational drafts and ideals were transformed and reinterpreted. Also, a large number of educational consultants were on site, offering their knowledge and trying to adapt it to local conditions.
Despite a slow change of perspectives and a slowly developing research on this subject matter, the role of education and the development of educational systems within the context of these multiple exchange relationships remains a peripheral topic. It is only occasionally taken up and by far not covered regarding the complexity and importance of this topic. This is where the conference sets in.


11th May 2018

10.00 – 10.15 Opening

10.15 – 11.15 Keynote: Tom Griffiths (University of Newcastle): Socialist Education and Educating for Socialism: What hope progress?

11.30 – 13.30 Panel: Transforming Ideas
- Sebastian Engelmann (University of Tübingen): La Escuela del Trabajo - Blonskij and Rühle in Mexico.
- Andreas Tietze (Herder-Gymnasium, Berlin): Copying, Innovating, Spreading: The Role of the GDR in Transnational Policy Borrowing in the Field of Polytechnical Education.
- Ingrid Miethe (Justus-Liebig-University Gießen): The Global Dissemination of Worker's Faculties.
- Susanne Timm (Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg): Parallel Universes of Educational Concepts. The collaboration between the Na-mibian SWAPO and the East German Socialist Party (SED).

14.30 – 16.00 Panel: Founding and Transforming
- Aisi Li (Nazarbayev University): The Sovietisation of China’s Universities: The 1950s Experience of Shanxi University.
- Eric Burton (University of Vienna): From Adult Education to Party Cadre Training: The Kivukoni College in Socialist Tanzania.
- George Bodie (SSEES, University College London): Where do Correct Ideas Come From? The FDGB Institute for Foreign Students and the Coming of the Sino-Soviet Split.

16.30 – 18.00 Panel: Transforming educational systems
- Jane Weiß (Humboldt-University of Berlin): East Germany as Agent in the Transformational Processes of the Educational System in the Global South.
- Manfred Heinemann (Leibnitz-University Hannover): Isolation, Self-Sufficiency and the Replacement of Marxism-Leninism by the Chuch'e Movement in North Korea's Educational System through the lens of GDR-Diplomacy.
- Christine Hatzky (Leibnitz University Hannover): Globalizing the "New Men": The Cooperation in Education between Cuba and Angola 1976-1991.

12th May 2018

09.00 – 10.00 Keynote: Berthold Unfried (University of Vienna): Education as a Part of "International Solidarity".

10.30 – 12.30 Panel: Studying Abroad – Part I
- Svetlana Boltovskaja (Herder-Institute, Marburg): Educational Cooperation between the Soviet Union and Sub-Saharan African Countries.
- Barbora Buzássyová (Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava): The University of 17th November and the “Third World” Students in (Czecho)Slovakia 1961 – 1974: Life and Limits of Coexistence.
- Leonora Dugonjić (Centre Européen de Sociologie et de Science Politique, Paris): Yugoslav Educational Collaboration with the “Third World”.
- Riikka Muhonen (Central European University): Moscow-based People's Friendship University as a case of Soviet educational Cooperation with the Developing World.

13.30 – 15.00 Panel: Studying Abroad – Part II
- Paige Newhouse (Duke University): Real People: The Limits of Student Exchange between East Germany and North Vietnam, 1963-1968.
- Blanka Koffer (Humboldt-University of Berlin): Socialist Solidarity by Teaching Ethnography: GDR Scholars Training Cultural Engineers from the Global South.
- Marcia C. Schenck (Humboldt University of Berlin): The “Black East” experienced from below: Angolan students in the German Democratic Republic 1979-90.

15.00 – 16.00 Final lecture: Marcelo Caruso (Humboldt-University of Berlin): Alternative globalities? Comparison, Transfer and the Socialist Construction of the Global.

Discussion and Closure