Events in the Department of History

Events from 22 August, 2014

  • Date
  • 5th September, 2014

    Why Economics Matters to (International) Historians: The Soviet Union vs. Cadbury’s

    Seminar with Dr. Alessandro Iandolo

    British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, LSE.

    The Soviet Union vs. Cadbury’s: development, the cocoa trade, and the Cold War in Ghana, 1957-1964

    In 1957, Ghana became the first independent sub-Saharan African country. Kwame Krumah, Ghana's Prime Minister, had ambitious aims. He wanted the country to be not only politically, but also economically independent from Britain. The Soviet Union was ready to help. Nikita Khrushchev was convinced that socialism was a superior economic system compared to capitalism. To prove it, he was ready to flood Ghana with Soviet goods, Soviet technology, and Soviet advisors. Socialist trade was to play a key role. Ghana's main export commodity - cocoa beans - was to be exchanged with Soviet machinery in what was thought to be a mutually advantageous barter agreement. However, Ghana was the main supplier of cocoa beans to British chocolate manufacturers - an industry that employed 5,000 people in Birmingham alone. If Ghana began to exchange its cocoa with Soviet tractors, rather than selling it to British firms through a British marketing company, the consequences on the competitiveness of a then-thriving sector could be dire. British businesses responded by cajoling and threatening the Ghanaian leadership, by lobbying domestic policymakers to defend their interests, and by raising employment fears at home. The Cold War in Ghana was therefore a struggle between Soviet-sponsored state-led modernisation and the Western private sector. Going beyond traditional considerations of ideology and power politics, this paper shows the Cold War in the Third World as a competition between two different visions of economic relations, driven more by the local context and by vested interests than by international politics.

    Morning Tea will be provided. On request we can also circulate an accompanying article recently published by Dr. Iandolo on Soviet developmentalism in Africa during the Cold War.

    Honours, Graduate students and all Staff most welcome.

    Please send your RSVP to

  • 14th October, 2014

    Why Economics Matters to Global Historians Roundtable with University of Western Sydney

    Prof. A.G Hopkins with Dr. Catherine Bishop, Dr. Thomas Adams, Dr. Chin Jou and Dr. Sophia Loy-Wilson

    Chair, Dr. Philippa Hetherington

    Followed by drinks and (in collaboration with UWS) Professor A.G. Hopkins Public Lecture General Lecture Theatre, Quadrangle, University of Sydney, 5.30-7pm

  • 28th November, 2014

    Why Economics Matters To Historians, Past and Future

    Special Panel, PG conference, History Department, University of Sydney)

    Featuring, Garrit Van Dyk and Lizzie Inglesen 



    Chair, Dr. Sophia Loy-Wilson

    Followed by drinks.