Dr. Constantin Katsakioris

Research Staff

konstantin katsakioris
Mail: Konstantinos.Katsakioris@uni-bayreuth.de
Tel: +49 921 555439


Research Project

Africa and the Communist Countries during the Cold War: Educational exchange and cultural transfers

This research project builds upon our doctoral thesis on “the education of African and Arab students in the Soviet Union during the Cold War” and expands the scope towards two main directions. On the one hand, the aim is to examine the reception and the training of African and Arab students in all the countries of the “Soviet bloc” and, particularly, in Czechoslovakia and the GDR which, besides the USSR, have been the most actively engaged in the Third World. On the other hand, our intention is to focus not only on the students, who constituted the largest group, but also, more broadly, on the African and Arab intelligentsia and notably on the writers, the artists and the scientists, who established close ties or, in some cases, found refuge in Eastern Europe.

The project stems from the observation that, with decolonization, the mobility and the connections between the Second and the Third World increased dramatically, yet, until today most of their dimensions and consequences remain unexplored. Overall, we can estimate that 80 000 students from Sub-Saharan African and another 80 000 from the Arab countries studied in the countries of communist Europe. Based in Eastern Europe, Pan-African and Pan-Arab organizations, as well as several national students’ unions, played a major political and ideological role, while many of their leading members later occupied key positions inside state or party mechanisms. Conferences and festivals, which were regularly taking place from Prague and Leipzig to Moscow and Tashkent, gave birth to relationships between artists and writers, at the same time as reviews published in the East, such as Lotus. Afro-Asian Writings, were circulating all over the world. Young scientists, economists and historians, as well as journalists, received training, took part in international congresses and spent weeks or months in the communist countries. The Soviet bloc constituted thus a privileged platform for training, meetings and exchange between militants, a real hub for the circulation of the African and Arab intelligentsia.

The project intends to map out these circulations of actors and of ideas and to give them the place they deserve in the contemporary intellectual history. The principal objective is yet to inquire into the consequences of those circulations, for instance, in terms of cultural transfers, both towards the South and towards the East. Another major objective is to inquire into the role that internationalist and other ideas played in the common commitments and in the common struggles of people coming from different countries and with very different cultural, social and even political backgrounds. In that sense, the historical chapter of the East-South relations, which preceded the era that had been announced as the one of the “clash of civilizations”, may also help us to reflect on the possibilities or on the failures of international and intercultural understanding.


Academic CV

École des Hautes Études en Science Sociales, Paris

PhD, très bien avec les félicitations du jury à l’unanimité, February 2015
“Soviet Lessons. The Education of African and Arab Students in the USSR during the Cold War”, (in French, «Leçons soviétiques. La formation des étudiants africains et arabes en URSS pendant la guerre froide»)
Committee: Nancy L. Green (supervisor), Jean-François Bayart, Sabine Dullin, Sandrine Kott, Monique de Saint-Martin  

MA (French DEA), très bien, 2003

University of Athens

BA, summa cum laude, Department of History and Archaeology, June 2002

BA, Department of French studies, June 2000



Peer-reviewed articles

“The Lumumba University in Moscow: Higher Education for a Soviet-Third World Alliance, 1945-1991” Journal of Global History 14, 2, 2019, forthcoming.

“Nationalismes dans la patrie du socialisme : Mobilisations nationales des étudiants du Tiers-monde en Union soviétique,” Diasporas. Circulations, Migrations, Histoire 32, 2, 2019, forthcoming.

“In the Shadow of the Civil War: Greek Students at VGIK,” Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 13, 2, 2019, forthcoming.

“Léopold Sédar Senghor et l’Union soviétique: La confrontation, 1957-1966,” with Françoise Blum, Cahiers d’Études africaines 234, 2, 2019, forthcoming.

“Une superpuissance éducative: L’URSS et la formation des élites du Tiers Monde, 1956-1991,” Traverse: Zeitschrift für Geschichte/Revue d’histoire 1, 2018, 108-121.

“Burden or Allies? Third World Students and Internationalist Duty through Soviet Eyes,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 18, no. 3 (Summer 2017), 539-67.

“Creating a Socialist Intelligentsia: Soviet Educational Aid and Its Impact on Africa, 1960-1991,” Cahiers d’Études africaines 226, no. 2 (Spring 2017): 259-86.

“Les étudiants de pays arabes formés en Union soviétique pendant la guerre froide, 1956-1991,” Revue européenne des migrations internationales 32, 2 (2016): 13-38.

“Soviet Lessons for Arab Modernization. Soviet Educational Aid Towards Arab Countries after 1956,” Journal of Modern European History 8, 1 (2010): 85-105.

“Transferts Est-Sud. Échanges éducatifs et formation de cadres africains en Union soviétique pendant les années soixante,” Revue d’histoire d’Outre-Mers 95, 354-355 (2007): 80-103.

“L’URSS et les intellectuels africains. Internationalisme, panafricanisme et négritude pendant les années de décolonisation 1954-1964,” Cahiers du Monde russe 44, 1 (2006): 15-32.


Voyage au pays de Lénine : Notes de voyage d’un écrivain africain en Union soviétique, by Richard Dogbeh © 1967, introduction and annotation by Constantin Katsakioris

Leçons soviétiques : La formation des étudiants africains et arabes en URSS pendant la guerre froide, book manuscript in preparation.

Articles and book chapters

“Leninismus und die nationale Frage in Afrika: Kulturtransfer in der kolonialen und postkolonialen Welt,” in Matthias Middell and Katja Naumann eds., “Communism beyond Eurocentrism,” Jahrbuch für Historische
Kommunismusforschung 14, 2019, forthcoming.

“The Educational Connection: Soviet Aid to Arab Countries in the Cold War,” in Masha Kirashirova et al. (eds.), Arab-Russian and Arab-Soviet Ties: A Sourcebook, 2019, forthcoming.

“The Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Africa in the Cold War: The Educational Ties,” Collaborative Research Center 1199 - Leipzig University - Working Papers Series, 2018: 1-24.

“Glimmers of Hope from Moscow: Greek Female Activists, Political Prisoners, and the Committee of Soviet Women, 1960-64,” with Vaggelis Karamanolakis, Archeiotaxio 20, (2018), 227-43, (in Greek).

“Die Sowjetunion und Afrika: Ein vergessenes Kapitel der Entwicklungshilfe in der Bildung, 1950–1991,” in Rasha Salti and Gabrielle Chomentowski eds. Saving Bruce Lee: African and Arab Cinema in the Era of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy (Berlin: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2018), 27-33.

“Engagements politiques et mobilisations des étudiants africains en URSS (1960-1974),” in Françoise Blum, Pierre Guidi and Ophélie Rillon eds., Étudiants africains en mouvements. Contribution à une histoire des «
années 68 », (Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne, 2016), 301-15.

“Les promotions de la décolonisation. Étudiants africains en URSS, 1960-1970,” in Monique de Saint-Martin, Grazia Scarfó-Ghellab and Kamal Mellah eds., Étudier à l’Est. Trajectoires d’étudiants africains et arabes
en URSS et dans les pays d’Europe de l’Est (Paris, Karthala, 2015), 79-94.

“The Soviet-South Encounter: Tensions in the Friendship with the Afro-Asian Partners, 1945-1965,” in Patryk Babiracki and Kenyon Zimmer eds., Cold War Crossings: International Travel and Exchange across the
Soviet Bloc, 1940s-1960s (Arlington, Texas University Press, 2014), 134-65.

“L’Université de l’amitié des peuples à Moscou : Discrimination positive ou discrimination tout court ?,” in Elites maghrébines et subsahariennes formées en URSS/Russie et dans les pays d’Europe de l’Est (Mohammedia:
ELITAF, October 2013), http://riae.hypotheses.org/183.

“Sowjetische Bildungsförderung für afrikanische und asiatische Länder,” in Bernd Greiner, Tim Müller and Claudia Weber eds., Macht und Geist im Kalten Krieg (Hamburg, Hamburger Editions, 2011), 396-415.

“The Soviet Union and the Greek Civil War. The Vyacheslav Molotov archive,” with Nikolas Pissis, Archeiotaxio 10, (2009): 123-35. (in Greek)

“Afrikanskie studenty v SSSR. Utcheba i politika vo vremia dekolonizatsii,” Ezegodnik sotsial’noi istorii (2008): 209-28.

“Transgresser les frontières de la Guerre froide. Militants, intellectuels et étudiants africains en Union soviétique, 1956-1991,” Présence africaine 175-177, (2008): 85-92.

Under peer review in journals

“Students from Portuguese Africa in the Soviet Union: Anticolonial Struggle, Education, and the Socialist Alliance, 1960-1974.”

“Nkrumah’s Elites: The Training of Ghanaian Students in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, 1950s and 1960s.”

“Return from the USSR: Soviet-educated Africans, Work, and Politics, 1960s-2000s.” paper to be submitted to the Canadian Journal of African Studies.

In preparation

“The African Student Movement in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe: Studies and Politics in the Global Sixties.”

 “After Socialism: Crisis and Conversions, Legacies and Memories,” special issue.

Other publications

Book reviews for Arkhiv für Zeitgeschichte, Vingtième siècle, Cahiers d’Études africaines, Comparativ: Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung.

“L’URSS et les états postcoloniaux : Une alliance de raison ?”, in Gare de l’Est 2, (2013): 84-90:

“The Soviet-Arab Educational Cooperation in the Cold War,” in Kenneth King ed., “The Geopolitics of Overseas Scholarships and Awards,” Network for Policy Research Review and Advice on Education and Training 45, (2011): 20-22: http://www.norrag.org/fileadmin/Full%20Versions/NN45.pdf


Talks and Conferences

“African   Travelers   in   the   Soviet   Union   in   the   Era   of   Decolonization”, (October 10, 2015), Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies

“Étudiants  du  tiers monde  à  l’Est,  1960-1990.   Décolonisation,   cadres nationaux et médiation soviétique”, (April 27, 2015), Université de Genève

“Intellectuels  africains,  communisme  et  transferts  culturels.  Le  chantier complexe”, (February 5, 2015), Université Sorbonne-Paris I

“La formation des cadres/quadros africains en URSS: le cas des étudiants des colonies portugaises”, (February 3, 2015), EHESS, Paris

“Étudiants africains en URSS: action politique et idéologie pendant les années soixante”, conference: Étudiants africains en URSS et dans les autres pays du monde   communiste (November   20-21,   2014),   Maison   des   Sciences   de l’Homme, Paris

“L’Université  Patrice  Lumumba:  discrimination  positive  ou  discrimination tout  court?”, conference: Élites  maghrébines  et  subsahariennes  formées  en URSS/Russie et  dans les pays d’Europe de l’Est (October  25-26,  2013), Mohammedia, Maroc

“Opinion populaire et regards croisés dans les archives soviétiques”, round table  on: African  and  Arab  students  in  the  URSS,  (June  22,  2013),  EHESS, Paris

“Soviet solidarity with the Third World. The domestic dimensions of policies and representations”, conference: Visions  of  Socialism (December  14,  2012),  Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, Paris

“Racism  in  the  USSR.  Popular  attitudes  against  coloured  students”, International  conference:  “Physical  Violence  and  State  Legitimacy  in  Late Socialism”  (April  15,  2012),  Institute  for  East  and  Southeast  European Studies, Regensburg

“Physical  Violence  against  Third  World  Students  in  the  USSR.  Exploring Soviet  Racism”,  seminar  (December  11,  2011),  Centre  for  Contemporary History, Potsdam 4

“The Soviet-South Encounter. The USSR and the African and Arab countries in the Cold War”, Walter Prescott Webb
Memorial Lectures (March 10, 2011), University of Texas Arlington

“East-South Transfers. The Soviet Model of Modernization and the Education of Arab and African Elites”, International Conference: “Intellectual History of the Cold War” (September 2, 2010), Institute for Social Sciences, Hamburg

“Soviet  Ideology  and  Afro-Asian   Intellectuals.   East-South  ‘Solidarity’, Internationalism  and  Nationalism  in  the  Postcolonial  World”,  International Workshop  on  “Socialist  Internationalism”  (July  15-16,  2008),  Humboldt University, Berlin

“The  Soviet  Model  of  Modernization  for  the  Arab  Partners”,  International Conference:  “Modernization  as  a  Global  Project”  (March  29-30,   2008), German Historical Institute, Washington

“Les  étudiants  africains  et  arabes  en  URSS,  1945-1980”,  research  seminar, (March 25, 2008), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

The  East-South  cooperation  in  the  Cold  War,lecture  (January  16,  2008), “Mnimon” Historians’ Association, Athens (in Greek)

“Transferts Est-Sud.  Échanges  éducatifs  et  formation  de  cadres  africains  en Union soviétique pendant les années soixante”, research seminar (December 17, 2007), Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin

“L’Union  soviétique  et  le  monde  arabe.  Relations  politiques,  échanges éducatifs et idéologies pendant la guerre froide, 1945-1975”, research seminar, (February 2, 2007), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

“Transgressing  the  Boundaries  of  the  Cold  War.  African  Activists, Intellectuals  and  Students  in  the  Soviet  Union  1945-1991”, conference: 50th Anniversary  of  the  1st Congress  of  Black  Writers  and  Artists  (September  25, 2006), UNESCO, Paris

“African Students in the Soviet Union during the Sixties”, Second History Workshop  on  Russian  and  Soviet  History,  (June  23,  2006)  Moscow  (in Russian)

“The  Esperanto  Movement  in  Tsarist  Russia  and  the  Soviet  Union,  1880-1970”, research seminar, (April 2, 2006), French-Russian  Center  for  social sciences and humanities, Moscow (in Russian)

“L’URSS  et  la  décolonisation  de  l’empire  français,  1945-1962”,  research seminar,  (November  3,  2005),  French-Russian  Center  for  social  sciences  and humanities, Moscow

Teaching and Research

Teaching and Research Experience

University of Bayreuth, Faculty of African History                                               
Wars and Revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East (seminar for undergraduates and graduates) Spring 2016
Global South: History since 1945 (seminar for undergraduates and graduates) Fall 2016
African Intellectuals: On Independence and Culture, Development and Democracy (reading seminar for undergraduates and graduates) Spring 2016
Africa and the Communist Countries, 1945-1991 (seminar for graduates and master students) Fall 2015

Research Associate, “African Elites in the Communist Countries” Fondation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme 2012-2015 University of Athens, Department of History and Archaeology

Decolonization and the Postcolonial World, seminar (senior undergraduates, students’ thesis supervision) Spring 2011

Introduction to the History of Colonialism Fall 2010

Decolonization and the Postcolonial World, seminar (senior undergraduates, students’ thesis supervision) Spring 2010

Introduction to the History of Colonialism Fall 2009

Introduction to Postwar History Fall 2008 Secondary education, teacher of history and literature, Athens (2001-2002)

Fellowships and Awards

Fellowships and Awards

Leipzig University – Center for Area Studies 2017

French-Russian Center for social sciences and humanities Moscow, Grant for research in Ukraine 2016

Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Fellowship for research in Russia 2015

Potsdam Historical Institute Fellowship 2011

DAAD Fellowship, Humboldt University, Berlin 2010

Centre Marc Bloch, Research Grant, Berlin 2009

French-Russian Center for social sciences and humanities Moscow, Research Grant, Moscow 2007-2008

Onassis Foundation, Greece 2006-2007

Hellenic Foundation of Scholarships 2002-2004

National Competition for History Students, First in Greece 2002

University of Athens, Prize of excellence 2002