The Perception of Apartheid in Western Europe, 1960-1990

The task of this workshop is to bring researchers together, who are working on the perception of the South African apartheid in Western Europe. This group contains of four PhD-students and their supervisors from Copenhagen, Hamburg and Berlin as well as other researchers from Denmark, Germany, Sweden and the UK, working on different aspects of this topic. It also includes other senior scholars, experienced in the history of transnational relationships as commentators.

The participants explore the poly-valences in the self-understanding of European societies in the second half of the 20th century in some exemplary fields of the postcolonial situation, focusing on the intensely debated Apartheid problem. By connecting Western European countries’ transformation from industrial to post-industrial societies with the simultaneous “Shock of the Global”, starting already in the 1960s and peaking in the 1980s, their common goal is to understand how European societies adjusted to what they perceived as the challenge of ‘globalization’ at its early stage. The European countries reactions to the Apartheid regime varied significantly according to their particular historical relationship to South Africa, the current and on-going cultural and economic exchanges, their self-perception and sensitivity to internal and external pressure. Whereas the Scandinavian countries were the first to boycott the regime and to advocate strong sanctions at an international level, there was significant support for Apartheid for example in the United Kingdom and West Germany. A more detailed investigation of these disparate perceptions and reactions to Apartheid provides a reference point for highlighting similarities and differences between European societies along a path towards a global civil society. The projects in question address specific concerns relating to the development of post-industrial societies, such as the formation of a ‘moral economy’, the development in the political awareness of ‘consumer citizens’, and the expansion of national media environments into a global media society. Because it was so widely and intensely discussed, simultaneously developing from the early 1960s onward and peaking in the 1980s, Apartheid is a brilliant case for the analysis of the correlation between societal change and the impact of the global.

This workshop will establish and strengthen the co-operation of scholars from different European countries in this important field of research in contemporary European history.


Thursday, May 7 (Room 15A.0.13)
15.15 Welcome and Introduction
Keynote I: Christoph Marx, Duisburg-Essen: South Africa and the West
Keynote II: Håkan Thörn, Göteborg: Anti-Apartheid and the Emergence of a Global Civil Society

Friday, May 8 (Room 27.1.49)

9.00-12.00 Panel 1:

Andreas Kahrs, Berlin: Subsurface cooperation – the Network of West German Lobbyist for South Africa 1976-1986
Discussant: Dorothee Wierling, Hamburg

Knud Andresen, Hamburg: Moral and Economy. West German and Swedish Managers in South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s
Discussant: Helle Porsdam, Copenhagen

Sebastian Justke, Hamburg: West German Ministers in South Africa from the 1970s to the 1990s
Discussant: Anne Folke Henningsen, Copenhagen

14.00-17.00 Panel 2:

Detlef Siegfried, Copenhagen: Anti-Apartheid, Pop Music and the Emergence of a Global Media Community
Discussant: Andreas Eckert, Berlin

Hanno Plass, Berlin: Jews against Apartheid. The Exile in Britain 1960 to 1990
Discussant: Louise Bethlehem, Jerusalem

Jakob Skovgaard, Copenhagen: "Lifestyle Politics” and the Campaign against Barclays’ Business in South Africa
Discussant: Alexander Sedlmaier, Bangor

Saturday, May 9 (27.1.49)

9.00-12.00 Panel 3: Moderator: Jan Eckel, Freiburg

Steven Jensen, Copenhagen: Racial discrimination and international human rights diplomacy, 1959-1968

Jan Hangebrauck, Cologne: ‘No normal sports in an abnormal society.’ Characteristics, successes and limitations of protests in sport against the apartheid regime in South Africa

Roeland Muskens, Amsterdam: The Dutch Anti-Apartheid-Movement.

12.00-13.00 Final Discussion

Concluding commentary: Tor Sellström, Uppsala