Colloquium: Transregional History | Dr. Eline van Ommen (University of Leeds): Towards a Global History of the Nicaraguan Revolution, 1977-1990
This presentation, drawing on Dr. van Ommen's current book project, traces the efforts of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional [Sandinista National Liberation Front, FSLN] in Nicaragua to gain external support in a rapidly changing global context. Van Ommen argues that the Sandinistas’ innovative diplomatic campaign captured the imaginations of people around the globe, resulting in a dense web of contacts between Nicaragua and the outside world. These interactions went far beyond elite politics, as thousands of musicians, politicians, teachers, activists, priests, feminists, and journalists flocked to this small Central American country to experience first-hand how the revolution unfolded. At the same time, Sandinista diplomats traveled across the world in search of allies as they were faced with an increasingly hostile United States. Pragmatically calculating that Western European involvement in Central America could tip the regional power balance in their favor, the FSLN specifically reached out to European activists and governments. Starting with the tumultuous period leading up to the overthrow of the dictatorship on 19 July 1979 and ending with the electoral loss of the FSLN on 25 February 1990, van Ommen reveals the opportunities and limitations that the international environment offered to a small revolutionary state in Central America.
Eline van Ommen is a historian of Latin America in the twentieth century, particularly interested in revolutions, transnational and grassroots activism, and foreign policy during the Cold War. She has published on the international and transnational history of Nicaragua’s revolutionary decade, European solidarity activism, and Central American-European relations. She obtained her BA at the University of Groningen before moving to the London School of Economics (LSE) to do her MSc and PhD in International History. Prior to being appointed as a lecturer in the School of History at the University of Leeds in 2021, she was a lecturer at the University of Utrecht. Before that, she taught courses on Latin America and the Cold War at the LSE
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