A cultural heritage for national liberation? The Soviet-Somali historical expedition, Soviet African studies, and the Cold War in the Horn of Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper discusses the conception, execution, and outcomes of the first Soviet-Somali histori-cal expedition, in 1971. In due course, the Soviet-Somali Expedition set out to create a ‘usable past’ for Somali nationalism, rooted in the history of Mohammad Abdullah Hassan, a reli-gious and military leader who had fought against the British in Somaliland between 1900 and 1920. The paper investigates how Soviet ideas about the preservation of historical heritage were grounded in Central Asian modes of practice and how these became internalised by Soviet Africanists in their attempts to help reinforce foundational myths in newly independent African states. The paper argues that the Soviet model for the preservation of cultural heritage, as envisioned by Soviet Africanists, aimed to reinforce Siad Barre’s national project for Somalia. Their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, however, because of Cold War constraints and mis-understandings of local realities.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Early online date23 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Soviet Union
  • Africa
  • Somalia
  • cold war
  • Somali cultural heritage
  • UNESCO

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A cultural heritage for national liberation? The Soviet-Somali historical expedition, Soviet African studies, and the Cold War in the Horn of Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this