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Decolonizing Situations

The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Colonial Studies, 1951-2001

Frederick Cooper

When Georges Balandier published “The Colonial Situation” in 1951, colonial empires were at the heart of profound debates and struggles. By the 1970s, colonialism had been banished from the realm of legitimate forms of political organization. What remained “colonial” in world politics passed itself off as something else. The burst of scholarship on colonial societies in the 1980s and 1990s thus appears paradoxical, and so too does the lack of response and follow-up to Balandier’s brilliantly incisive article in the two decades after its appearance.

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'Delinquents, Troublemakers, Pirates and Gangsters'

New Wars in the Postpolitical Borderland

Mikkel Thorup

This article tries to actualize Carl Schmitt's critique of liberal internationalism in what the author calls the 'liberal globalist paradigm', which substitutes a post-sovereign humanitarian-moralist discourse for political arguments. This discourse helps shape a new inequality in the interstate system based on the ability to invoke humanist language; an ability that is systematically skewed in favour of Western states. The post-sovereign discourse hides an aggressive liberal antipluralism which only acknowledges liberal-capitalist societies as legitimate and reserving the right to intervene and criticize globally. The new re-configuration of power manifests itself in the war on terror and in humanitarian interventions.

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The Trauma of Liberation

Dutch Political Culture and the Indonesian Question in 1945

Jennifer L. Foray

Of the mid-twentieth-century European imperial powers, only the Netherlands experienced foreign occupation during World War II, followed soon after by the declaration of independence of the East Indies, its prized possession. I argue that the first series of events constituted a “cultural trauma,” and that, after May 1945, Dutch politicians and pundits viewed developments in Indonesia through this lens of wartime trauma. By the year's end, political actors had begun to interpret the recent metropolitan past and the developing Indonesian conflict according to the same rhetorical framework, emphasizing binaries such as “resistance versus collaboration.” While those on the political Left analogized the two conflicts in order to promote a negotiated settlement, their opponents hoped that, by refusing to recognize Sukarno's Republic of Indonesia, the Netherlands could avoid a second and perhaps even more damaging cultural trauma.

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Giuliana Chamedes

The conceptual history of 'economic development' is often told as a US-centered story. The United States, according to the standard account, turned to economic development as a tool in its struggle for global dominance during the Cold War. In line with recent research, this article demonstrates that the post-World War II boom in economic development had European origins as well, and that it originated as a joint response to the Cold War and to the unraveling of European empires. In particular, emphasis is placed on the little-studied contribution of a French Catholic activist who helped redefine economic development in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Dominican Father Louis-Joseph Lebret stood at the head of an influential movement, which conceived of economic development as a way to save both France and Christianity in a moment of crisis for the French empire and for the Roman Catholic Church. In his writings, Lebret bestowed renewed legitimacy on the French 'civilizing mission.' He also revived elements of interwar Catholic thought to argue for the imperative of building a new moral-economic order that was neither communist nor capitalist. Far from a marginal historical actor, this theorist-practitioner was successful in his efforts, and gained followers for his vision of economic development in France, in Vatican City, at the United Nations, and in various former colonized countries.

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Policing the Post-Colonial Order

Surveillance and the African Immigrant Community in France, 1960-1979

Gillian Glaes

By the early 1960s, an increasing number of Africans migrated to France from their former colonies in West Africa. Most were men hoping to gain employment in several different industries. Their settlement in Paris and other cities signaled the start of "post-colonial" African immigration to France. While scholars have analyzed several facets of this migration, they often overlook the ways in which France's role as a colonial power in West Africa impacted the reception of these immigrants after 1960, where surveillance played a critical role. Colonial regimes policed and monitored the activities of indigenous populations and anyone else they deemed problematic. The desire to understand newly arriving immigrant groups and suspicion of foreign-born populations intersected with the state's capacity to monitor certain groups in order to regulate and control them. While not physically violent, these surveillance practices reflected the role that symbolic violence played in the French government's approach to this post-colonial immigrant population.

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Unsettling the Land

Indigeneity, Ontology, and Hybridity in Settler Colonialism

Paul Berne Burow, Samara Brock, and Michael R. Dove

What are the stakes of different ontologies of land in settler colonialism and Indigenous movements for decolonization and environmental justice? Settler colonialism describes a structure of exogenous domination in which Indigenous inhabitants of a

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Egypt between Two Shakespeare Quadricentennials 1964–2016

Reflective Remarks in Three Snapshots

Hazem Azmy

halcyon days of Egyptian theatre. Shakespeare, as is the case in many decolonizing countries, was in the foreground too. The April 1964 issue of al-Masraḥ , only the magazine’s fourth, was a special issue in honour of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare

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An Indochinese Dominion

L'Effort indochinois and Autonomy in a Global Context, 1936–1939

M. Kathryn Edwards

of empire. The 1930s and, more specifically, the era of the Popular Front constituted a missed opportunity for a negotiated process of decolonization. As Daniel Hémery and Pierre Brocheux assert, the period from 1936 to 1939 represented a “closing

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Thomas Meagher and Farhang Erfani

A. Shahid Stover, Being and Insurrection: Existential Liberation Critique, Sketches and Ruptures (New York: Cannae Press, 2019), 266 pp., $20, ISBN: 9781733551007 (paperback)

Yoav Di-Capua, No Exit: Arab Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Decolonization (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 336 pp., $35, ISBN: 9780226503509 (paperback)

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Pascal Bourdeaux

Indochina played a pioneering role during the decolonization of the French empire, and the religious issue proved important to the process. Even to this day, state-church relations bear signs of this contentious and painful past. The historiography of the Indochina War, as well as that of the Vietnam War, clearly call attention to the activism of religious leaders and religious communities, especially Buddhists and Catholics, who fought for independence, peace, and the needs and rights of the Third World. And religion was put to the service of shaping public opinion both in Vietnam and internationally. Naturally, ideological convictions during the era of decolonialization account for the dominance of political analysis of this subject. But with the passage of time we can now develop a more sociological understanding of people's religious motivations and practices and the role they played in the conflict between communism and nationalism. The historian can also re-examine the secularization process in decolonized societies by analyzing, on the one hand, the supposed loss of ascendancy of religions in society and, on the other hand, the appearance of new religious movements that tended to adapt to modernity. This essay explores these politico-religious dynamics in the context of the decolonization of Vietnam.