GlobalDevelopment - HeaderImage


Global Development: A Cold War History

Hosted by the Department of International History

Thai Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE, United Kingdom


Dr Sara Lorenzini

Dr Sara Lorenzini


Dr Roham Alvandi

Dr Roham Alvandi

Book launch of Dr Sara Lorenzini's Global Development (Princeton University Press), which tells the story of how the Cold War was fundamental to construct the institutions, concepts, and discourse around foreign aid that survive today.

In the Cold War, “development” was a catchphrase that came to signify progress, modernity, and economic growth. Development aid was closely aligned with the security concerns of the great powers, for whom infrastructure and development projects were ideological tools for conquering hearts and minds around the globe, from Europe and Africa to Asia and Latin America. In this sweeping and incisive book, Sara Lorenzini provides a global history of development, drawing on a wealth of archival evidence to offer a panoramic and multifaceted portrait of a Cold War phenomenon that transformed the modern world.

Taking readers from the aftermath of the Second World War to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, Lorenzini shows how development projects altered local realities, transnational interactions, and even ideas about development itself. She shines new light on the international organizations behind these projects—examining their strategies and priorities and assessing the actual results on the ground—and she also gives voice to the recipients of development aid. Lorenzini shows how the Cold War shaped the global ambitions of development on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and how international organizations promoted an unrealistically harmonious vision of development that did not reflect local and international differences.

An unparalleled journey into the political, intellectual, and economic history of the twentieth century, this book presents a global perspective on Cold War development, demonstrating how its impacts are still being felt today.

This event was hosted by the Department of International History and LSE IDEAS Cold War Studies Project.

Sara Lorenzini is Associate Professor of International History, Jean Monnet Chair, and Director of the Master in International Security Studies at the School of International Studies, University of Trento, Italy. She has written extensively on the history of the Cold War. Among her works: Una strana guerra fredda. Lo sviluppo e le relazioni Nord-Sud (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2017) and L’Italia e il trattato di pace del 1947 (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2007).  Global Development. A Cold War History (Princeton University Press, 2019) is her latest book.

Roham Alvandi is Associate Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Director of the LSE IDEAS Cold War Studies Project. He is the author of Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 2014), which was selected by the Financial Times as one of the best history books of 2014, and he edited the recent volume The Age of Aryamehr: Late Pahlavi Iran and its Global Entanglements (Gingko Library, 2018).

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day. Sponsored by the department's Contemporary International History and the Global Cold War and the Modern World History research clusters.

The LSE IDEAS Cold War Studies Project focuses on the new history of the Cold War, the global Cold War in Europe and Third World - not just the US and USSR, and the continuing modern day impact of the Cold War.


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