University of Cambridge > > Legal Histories beyond the State > Debating the rise and fall of the first East African Community in East Africa’s public sphere, 1960s-1970s

Debating the rise and fall of the first East African Community in East Africa’s public sphere, 1960s-1970s

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This paper explores the ways in which cosmopolitan and educated elites in East Africa imagined and debated regional integration, navigating the tensions between national sovereignty and independent statehood and wider processes of regional political and economic integration. The first East African Community has often been portrayed as a top-down, technocratic project with little purchase in the wider public sphere. Established following the failure of more ambitious plans for a regional federation, it had collapsed in acrimony by the late 1970s. Drawing on East African press, the paper asks: Was regional unity only ever attractive to political elites or was it a powerful idea amongst a wider section of ‘civil society’? Why did this vision of the future gain such apparent traction in the early 1960s, and what remained of such enthusiasm by the 1970s?

ABOUT THE SPEAKER : Emma Hunter is Senior Lecturer in African History at the University of Edinburgh, and Quentin Skinner Fellow 2018-19.

ABOUT THE SEMINAR : The seminar will proceed on the basis that participants have read the paper in advance. For a copy of the paper (available one week in advance), or to join the seminar mailing list, please contact md718.

The Legal Histories beyond the State series is an initiative of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, the Centre for History and Economics, and the Cambridge Centre for Political Thought. It brings together historians, political theorists and lawyers who are interested in the social, economic and political dimensions of law in the early modern and modern periods. We focus on the ways in which law and legal institutions order and organize space and people. This encompasses both imperial and international law, and domestic public and private law in its manifold influences on the nature and form of relations across borders. We are interested in legal actors and institutions, both national and supranational; doctrines and concepts, like jurisdiction; and also diverse forms of legal border-crossing, including the migration of people, ideas and objects across time and place. Embracing new trends in legal and historical research, we pursue the exchange of legal ideas in formal and informal contexts, and the creation, appropriation and interpretation of law by non-traditional actors, and in unexpected places.

Some sessions will be devoted to discussion of new, published work in the field, and others to the sharing of works-in-progress, whether draft articles, chapters or book prospectuses, with a core group of scholars from a variety of disciplines.

All are welcome.

This talk is part of the Legal Histories beyond the State series.

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