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Study information

Socialist Thought and Practice in Latin America and Africa

Module titleSocialist Thought and Practice in Latin America and Africa
Module codeSML3014
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Tom Stennett (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Socialism is a body of work to which thinkers, politicians, activists, revolutionaries and writers from across the world have contributed. In this module, you will encounter contributions to socialism made by individuals and collectives from Africa and Latin America. You will study how African and Latin American socialists, developing their theories in contexts of political struggle, ‘stretched’ (to use Frantz Fanon’s term) socialism to fit contexts alien to the Western thinkers that first theorized it.  Lectures on historical case studies will be complemented by seminars in which you will interrogate key (and contested) concepts, such as socialism, decolonization, empire and the Global South. Students of Portuguese or Spanish may take this module to count towards their Portuguese or Spanish credits, if they engage with material in the relevant language.

Module aims - intentions of the module

In this module you will study key socialist figures and movements from Africa and Latin America in historical context. You will analyse how these individuals and groups developed (and challenged) Marxist and socialist theory, highlighting oversights such as the colonial factor and race. In seminars, you will engage critically with the key concepts of socialism, decolonization, empire and the Global South. You will learn about the debates over the usage of these terms and you will study how they have changed over time. We will draw links between the debates surroundings these concepts and the historical case studies covered in the lectures.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Analyse African and Latin American socialisms in context
  • 2. Identify tensions and divergences within socialist thought

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Use interdisciplinary skills and methods
  • 4. Argue cogently in register-appropriate English, using supporting quotation from primary and secondary sources
  • 5. Demonstrate close reading/interpretation skills through analysis of critical theory

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Demonstrate independent critical thinking
  • 7. Show sensitivity to subtle differences between similar types of discourse

Syllabus plan

While content may vary from year to year, it is expected that the module will cover some of the following topics:


  • What is Socialism?
  • Socialism and Decolonization: Overlaps and Tensions
  • African Socialisms
  • Nkrumaism
  • Sankaraism
  • Ujamaa
  • Cabralism
  • Socialism, Nationalism and Decolonization in Angola and Mozambique
  • Relations between Russia and Africa in the Cold War
  • Relations between China and Africa in the Cold War
  • The Chilean Road to Socialism (1970-1973)
  • Socialism in Brazil: the Case of Olga Bernario Prestes

Connections between Latin America and Africa: the Case of Cuba and Angola

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching9Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6Seminars — these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and, on occasion, you will give an individual oral presentation.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Tutorial hour to discuss preparation for the summative assessment
Guided Independent Study134Private viewing of films, private reading of books; reading, planning and writing essays and presentations; revising

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan750 words1-5Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1003000 words1-7Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay (3000 words)Essay (3000 words)1-7Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.


Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Birmingham, David, 2015. A Short History of Modern Angola. London: Hurst and Company.
  • Cabral, Amílcar, Unity and Struggle: Selected Speeches and Writings, translated by Michael Wolfers (Pretoria: Unisa Press, 2007).
  • Césaire, Aimé, Discourse on Colonialism, translated by Joan Pinkham (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2000).
  • Chabal, Patrick. 2002. A History of Postcolonial Lusophone Africa. London: Hurst and Company.
  • Fanon, Frantz, Black Skin, White Masks, translated by Richard Philcox (London: Penguin, 2021).
  • ——— The Wretched of the Earth, translated by Richard Philcox (New York: Grove, 2005).
  • Ipadema, Abosede Priscila, Women, Marginalization and African Political Theories (New York; London: Routledge, 2022).
  • Lorgen, Christy Cannon, ‘Villagisation in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Tanzania’, Social Dynamics, 26:2 (2000), 171-198.
  • Marx, Karl, Capital: An Abridged Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).
  • Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (London: Penguin, 2004).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Mbembe, Achille, Critique of Black Reason, translated by Laurent Dubois (Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2017).
  • McClintock, Anne. 1995. Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Mondlane, Eduardo, The Struggle for Mozambique (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969).
  • Newitt, Malyn. Portugal in Africa: The Last Hundred Years (London: C. Hurst & Co, 1981).
  • ——— A History of Mozambique (London: C. Hurst & Co, 1995).
  • Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Sabelo J. and Morgan Ndlovu, Marxism and Decolonization in the 21st Century: Living Theories and True Ideas (London; New York: Routledge), 2022.
  • Nkrumah, Kwame, Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for De-colonization (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2009).
  • Nyerere, Julius, Ujamaa: Essays on Socialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968).
  • Rodney, Walter, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Cape Town; Oxford: Pambakuza, 2012).
  • ——— Decolonial Marxism: Essays from the Pan-African Revolution (London: Verso Books, 2022).
  • Sankara, Thomas, Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution, 1983–87 (Atlanta: Pathfinder Press, 2007).
  • Santos, Boaventura de Sousa, Epistemologies of the South: Justice Against Epistemicide (London; New York: Routledge, 2014).
  • Tal, Tzvi, ‘Olga Benario Prestes: The Cinematic Martyrdom of a Revolutionary Jewish Woman and the Reconstruction of National Identity in Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva’s Brazil’, Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary E-Journal, 9:2 (2012).
  • Thiong’o, Ng?g? Wa, Penpoints, Gunpoints and Dreams: Towards a Critical Theory of the Arts and the State in Africa (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1998).
  • Winn, Peter, ‘The Furies of the Andes: Violence and Terror in the Chilean Revolution and Counterrevolution’, in A Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence during Latin America’s Long Cold War, edited by Gilbert M. Joseph and Greg Grandin (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010), pp. 239-275.


Key words search

Socialism, Decolonization, Empire, Africa, Latin America, Political Theory

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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