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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19287

Title: The Challenge of Guinean Independence, 1958-1971
Authors: MacDonald, Mairi Stewart
Advisor: Pruessen, Ronald W.
Department: History
Keywords: Guinea
International relations
United States
Issue Date: 3-Mar-2010
Abstract: Since the end of French colonial rule in Guinea, “independence” has held a central place in its political culture. Implying both dignity and self-determination for the sovereign people which possesses it, independence is a concept that has meaning only in relation to other nation-states and cultures. Yet the political elite that dominated Guinea’s First Republic constructed a new national culture around this concept. The Challenge of Guinean Independence, 1958-1971 examines Guinea’s assertion of its right to independence and the response of powerful Western players, especially the United States and France, as Guinea challenged their assumptions about the nature of African sovereignty. Considering the history of the international relations of a single African state that enjoyed limited international power and prestige challenges conventions in the historiography of both Africa and international relations. It illuminates and contextualizes expectations concerning the meaning of modernity, African sovereignty as a matter of international law, and the end of formal colonial rule coinciding with the tensions and competitions of the Cold War. The study demonstrates that the international context played a crucial role, both in conditioning the timing and form of decolonization and in shaping the international community’s adaptation of colonial patterns of economic and political interaction to the new reality of African nation-states. Focusing on the invention, development and reception of one country’s insistence on independence in turn illuminates significant issues and events: the end of French colonial rule; limitations on the sovereignty of non-European postcolonial states; the advent of neocolonialism and the failure of the nominally anti-colonial United States to oppose it; the ideological appeal of African unity as a means of safeguarding sovereignty and the compromises that its institutional form entailed; foreign aid and the notion that development for modernization could be stimulated from outside; and the implications of unlimited internal autonomy for a state’s people. Guinea’s independence ultimately challenged developing norms of Western economic and political interaction with new African states by complicating assumptions about the universality of Western notions of economic development, justice and morality.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19287
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of History - Doctoral theses

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