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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2022

Florian Wagner
Affiliation:
Universität Erfurt, Germany
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Summary

In 1905, Mohandas Gandhi paid homage to Joseph Chailley, the founding father of the International Colonial Institute. Gandhi’s appreciation for Chailley exposed the complex interconnectedness of the colonial world around 1900. The Indian Opinion, a journal Gandhi published in South Africa, bestowed honor upon the Frenchman Chailley, who had recently spent several months in the Dutch Indies and was about to coauthor a book with British colonial administrators. To give the imperial interconnectedness an institution, Chailley had established the International Colonial Institute (ICI) in Brussels, as early as 1893. By 1905, this institute had grown to become the most important think tank for colonial rule, continuing with 136 (white) members. As it styled itself as reformist, this institute raised hopes among colonial subjects around the world. Gandhi’s Indian Opinion saw in Chailley’s writings on India “an unbiased testimony of a stranger,” and an adequate description of British colonial mismanagement: “He finds himself in a vast agricultural country, where there is great poverty and where commerce and trade are entirely local and therefore without real importance. He notices an absence of industrial activity, he discovers some people, perhaps owning fortunes, but – there is no capital.”1 Fighting against the underdevelopment of colonies was the declared aim of the ICI. Its members claimed to develop colonies through cooperation among international experts who would get the most out of the colonized population and the colonial economy. Gandhi was not alone in falling for this delusion, which actually served to legitimize and perpetuate colonial domination.2

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Introduction
  • Florian Wagner, Universität Erfurt, Germany
  • Book: Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982
  • Online publication: 14 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009072229.001
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  • Introduction
  • Florian Wagner, Universität Erfurt, Germany
  • Book: Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982
  • Online publication: 14 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009072229.001
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Florian Wagner, Universität Erfurt, Germany
  • Book: Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982
  • Online publication: 14 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009072229.001
Available formats
×