Solidarity and Humanitarianism in the Global South between Decolonization and the Cold War (1960s-1980s)

International Workshop

Mo, 28.9.2020, 0:00 bis Di, 29.9.2020, 0:00
Centre Marc Bloch
Friedrichstraße 191
10117 Berlin

This two-day workshop, to be held in Berlin, aims to bring together doctoral students, post-doctoral students and experienced researchers working on the history of solidarity and humanitarian engagement in the countries of the Global South, from the 1960s to the 1980s, in the context of decolonization and the Cold War. On the one hand, it offers the opportunity to present and discuss current research. On the other hand, based on these concrete examples, it wishes to offer a space for exchange and discussion on the theoretical and methodological dimensions of this research field. 

The workshop focuses on different areas of the Global South (Africa, Latin America and Asia), and in particular various post-colonial spaces at the end of the British, French, and Portuguese empires. It therefore asks what forms of commitments and actions were put into practice, at what pace, around which networks of actors from around the world and relying on which advocacy work. This perspective refers to a wide range of solidarity and humanitarian initiatives of the Global North (from the “West” as well as from the “East”) as well as to those between countries of the Global South. What was the impact of structural factors and changes of the Cold War, of the Sino-Soviet split, of the North-South divide and of conflicts between countries of the South? And how did these factors interact?

Different approaches will be discussed, questioning the actors, discourses and practices related to these calls and actions of solidarity and humanitarian aid. In particular, we will study the possible semantic and empirical shifts over time and according to the geographical areas concerned, between these two a priori distinct, but also overlapping fields of engagement. Therefore, the various ideas and concepts of solidarity and humanitarian aid should be reflected.

Conference language: German and English


Terms of participation:

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will unfortunately only be a very limited number of places at the venue. An on-site participation at the Centre Marc Bloch will be possible within these limited capacities, after prior registration. All further interested persons are welcome to participate in the workshop via zoom. In both cases a prior registration before September 23rd 2020 is required at Further information and the zoom link for online participation will be sent to the registered participants in advance.



  • Agnes Bresselau von Bressensdorf (Berliner Kolleg Kalter Krieg am Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin)
  • Silke Mende (Centre Marc Bloch)
  • Caroline Moine (Univ. Paris-Saclay, CHCSC/MPI für Bildungsforschung)
  • Bernd Rother (Bundeskanzler-Willy-Brandt-Stiftung)