Negotiating East Germany: Angolan Student Migration during the Cold War, 1976–90

Friday, January 5, 2018: 11:30 AM
Virginia Suite A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Marcia Schenck, Humboldt State University
This study is the first to examine the history of Angolan students who attended East German institutions of higher education between Angolan independence and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It focuses on the student responses, ranging from accommodation to resistance, to life in a controlling state and is based on oral histories collected in Luanda from 21 returned Angolan students in 2015, triangulated with archival material from Angola and East Germany. Students framed their learning experience in East Germany regarding technical learning, responsibility, and meritocracy. The East German notion of the model international student did not, however, leave room for the complexities of real lives. Angolan students negotiated the resulting friction choosing individual responses along a spectrum including direct and indirect forms of resistance. This research sheds light on a generation of Angolan post-independence technocrats who were educated largely outside of Angola. At the same time, it contributes to our understanding of the lives of international students in East Germany as appears through Angolan eyes.
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