This article addresses the inter-imperial collaboration in the social sciences promoted by the Commission for Technical Cooperation in Africa South of Sahara (CCTA) and its advisory board, the Scientific Council for Africa South of the Sahara (CSA), at the intersection of diplomatic history and the history of science during late colonialism. It is our purpose to re-evaluate how the common aim of reinvigorating and re-legitimating empire in the era of decolonization forged relations between social scientists, colonial officials, and diplomats, and to provide new insights into the ways social science influenced and was influenced by foreign policy in this specific context. Drawing on primary printed sources from the CCTA/CSA and the UNESCO, and on archival sources from the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Board of Overseas Research in the Ministry of Overseas, we argue that it is important to include other international institutions and initiatives—beyond UNESCO—in the account of the surge of social sciences in the post-war international system. Our case, focusing on the social sciences and the CCTA/CSA, also reveals the political and diplomatic uses of scientific knowledge in the era of decolonization, and the contentious nature of science diplomacy beyond previous straightforward definitions.
- Commission for Technical Cooperation in Africa South of the Sahara (CCTA)
- late colonialism
- scientific cooperation
- Scientific Council for Africa South of the Sahara (CSA)
- social sciences