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The Bandung Moment: Afro-Asian Connections and Anti-Colonialism, 1940s-1960s - HIS00146M

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  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Gerard McCann
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

In April 1955, the leaders of 29 nations in Africa and Asia met in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia at a conference that would shed light across the latter twentieth century. As European empires crumbled in Asia and powerful nationalist movements rose to defeat imperialism in Africa, the delegates at Bandung convened to discuss the most pressing world question of the age: how to make a world after empire. Beyond the statesmanship of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru or Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser at the Bandung conference, millions of ordinary Africans and Asians engaged with each other in the struggle against imperialism in a plethora of cosmopolitan institutions across the globe, as well as through effervescent transnational print cultures.

This module thinks about that ‘Bandung moment’ of anti-colonial possibility and conversation through recent cutting-edge historiography (much produced in the last few years) and primary source material generated by those Africans and Asians who forged networks of affinity across race, place and space from the 1940s. The module compels students to consider how international and transnational linkages shaped the development of ‘local’ anti-colonialisms across Africa and Asia, but also how the dynamics of Afro-Asian solidarity moulded ‘global’ networks, institutions and processes, notably related to the early Cold War. Finally, students will also reflect on fractures and divisions that emerged in such fraternities as the realities of post-colonialism forged multiple futures into independence across what would come to be known as the ‘third world’ and later ‘global south’, terms engaged critically in this module.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

The aims of this module are to:

  • Develop skills of source analysis and interpretation
  • Assess a range of source material and relevant secondary works; and
  • Develop students’ powers of evidence-based historical argument, both orally and in writing.

Module learning outcomes

Students who complete this module successfully will:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of a specialist historiographical literature;
  • Present findings in an analytical framework derived from a specialist field;
  • Solve a well-defined historiographical problem using insights drawn from secondary and, where appropriate, primary sources.
  • Set out written findings using a professional scholarly apparatus.

Module content

Students will attend a 1-hour briefing in week 1. Students will then attend a 2-hour seminar in weeks 2-4, 6-8 and 10-11. Weeks 5 & 9 are Reading and Writing (RAW) weeks during which there are no seminars, and during which students research and write a formative essay, consulting with the module tutor. Students prepare for eight seminars in all.

Seminar topics are subject to variation, but are likely to include the following:

  1. Between a moment and an era: Bandung 1955 and the decolonising world
  2. Some roots of Afro-Asian solidarity: Indo-African connections in the 1940s-50s
  3. Afro-Asianism and international socialism in the 1950s
  4. Friendship and emotion in Afro-Asian networks
  5. Where was the ‘Afro’ in Afro-Asian solidarity?
  6. The anti-colonial city: Cairo, Rangoon, Accra and beyond
  7. Afro-Asianism and the Cold War
  8. Closures and new paths: the fracturing of Afro-Asian solidarity in the 1960s


Task Length % of module mark
Long Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students submit a 2,000-word formative essay in week 9.
A 4,000-word summative essay will be due in the assessment period.


Task Length % of module mark
Long Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will typically receive written feedback on their formative essay within 10 working days of submission.

Work will be returned to students in their seminars and may be supplemented by the tutor giving some oral feedback to the whole group. All students are encouraged, if they wish, to discuss the feedback on their formative essay during their tutor’s student hours—especially during week 11, before, that is, they finalise their plans for the Summative Essay.

For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.

For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 25 working days of the submission deadline. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.

Indicative reading

For reading during the module, please refer to the module VLE site. Before the course starts, we encourage you to look at the following items of preliminary reading:

  • C. Stolte and S.L. Lewis (eds.) The Lives of Cold War Afro-Asianism (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2022).
  • C.J. Lee (ed.) Making a World after Empire: the Bandung Moment and its Political Afterlives (2nd edition, Athens OH: Ohio University Press, 2019).
  • N. Shimazu, 'Diplomacy as Theatre: Staging the Bandung Conference of 1955', Modern Asian Studies, 48(1), 2014.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.