Architecture in Global Socialism: Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War
Princeton University Press
Łukasz Stanek is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the Manchester Architecture Research Centre, The University of Manchester, UK. Stanek authored Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory (2011) and edited the first publication in any language of Lefebvre’s book about architecture, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment (2014). In his recent research, Stanek studies socialist internationalism as a framework of global urbanization and its architecture. On this topic he edited Team 10 East: Revisionist Architecture in Real Existing Modernism (2014). His book Architecture in Global Socialism: Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War, which focuses on the collaboration between architects, planners, and construction companies from socialist countries and postcolonial countries, was published by Princeton University Press in 2020. Before Manchester, Stanek taught at the ETH Zurich, and held visiting positions at Harvard University and the University of Michigan.
Ayi Kwei Armah
This novel follows a railway freight clerk in postcolonial Accra during the final months of the regime of the socialist leader Kwame Nkrumah. It satirically depicts the cynicism of the regime, where “the landlord is the uncle of the rent control man, and both call themselves Party activists,” but it also portraits the rapidly transforming Accra refracted into elementary sensations.
In this comedy the superhero, called Ace, prevents the plot of a corrupt scientist to vaporize and transport large amounts of water from Polish lakes to a fictitious Middle Eastern kingdom. The film mocks the increasingly commercial relationships between socialist countries and the Global South. Its orientalism inadvertently shows that socialist internationalism did not erase racism in socialist countries.
This documentary accompanies the philosopher, essayist and cultural theorist Édouard Glissant on a sea voyage to his native Martinique, and explores concepts of multiplicity, relation, the world, and the right to be opaque. Glissant contrasts the image of a tree as a model for genealogy, or perhaps for history-writing more generally, to a forest, a jungle, and a creole garden, where a diverse range of plants protect and support one another.