Elizabeth (Betty) Banks received her PhD in history from New York University in 2019. Her dissertation explores socialist internationalism in the late twentieth century by examining social, economic and diplomatic relations between Mozambique and the Soviet Union in the 1960s-1980s. This work uses the Soviet-Mozambican case to illuminate the contours of solidarity connections between the USSR and the global south over several decades; and to examine how independence-era Africans harnessed alliances with the socialist north.
Her project foregrounds interaction, disagreements and mutual influence as constitutive parts of socialist internationalism, and reveals the breadth and diversity of internationalist practices: education, state social organizations, diplomacy, cultural exchange, media, trade fairs, tourism, military, geology, sports and fishing.
As a Max Weber Fellow, she plans to begin revising her dissertation for publication and to complete work on a collaborate special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, expected 2020, that examines dynamism and legacies of Soviet engagement across the African continent.
Her broader research interests include gender histories, transnational history, political imagination, decolonization and the Cold War. She holds an MA in Russian Studies from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London, and has research experience in Russia, the US and Mozambique.
Betty has experience teaching Russian history from 987 onwards and Soviet history, twentieth century African history, as well as European and American gender history at the undergraduate level.