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Can territory be decolonised? In one crucial sense, the answer is yes. In a moment when the ‘threat of recolonisation haunts the third world’, the battles fought by the anti-colonial movements of the twentieth century for official recognition of political independence should not be disremembered, or their gains underestimated. But can the concept of territory be decolonised? Building on TWAIL, Indigenous and decolonial scholarly interventions, this chapter revisits the international law of territory to argue that there are two senses in which the question must be answered in the negative. The concept of territory is a Eurocentric construction of the rightful relationship between community, authority, and place. Not only does that construction rely on the ontological rupture between human subject and natural object that characterises European Enlightenment philosophy; it erases the physical Earth itself, replacing it with an abstract object over which sovereignty is exercised or space within which jurisdiction is asserted. The concept of territory in international law thereby presumes the objectification of ‘nature’ necessary for the propertisation and commodification of Earth.
This chapter demonstrates how decolonisation serves as a crucial point of reference in this book. Each chapter has unpacked ‘the colonial encounter’ – that sustained collision of ‘new’ and ‘old’ worlds, from the mass movements of people (many taken into the Caribbean against their will) to imperialism’s continued economic, political and social conquests – through music analysis, thereby addressing the visibility of issues confronting the colonising methods and scope of music scholarship of previous scholarship on the Caribbean and Caribbean music.
This article studies the Ikoyi reservation in Lagos, Nigeria to assess changing relationships between the colonial state, urban space, and race between 1935 and 1955. Colonial authorities established reservations as special zones to house colonial officials and other white Westerners. The article shows that the Ikoyi reservation was a significant location where a wide range of actors contested relationships between statehood and race. These renegotiations contributed to making a late colonial state, a terminal form of colonial state in which explicitly racialised discourses of statehood and urban space were challenged while implicitly racialised standards and practices often persisted. Through a focus on Ikoyi, the article highlights the important relationships between segregationist projects and late colonial statehood.
For white settler researchers aiming to contribute to the work of decolonising education, actively seeking ways to disturb and destabilise long-held onto-epistemological assumptions associated with colonial modernity is important. In this article I investigate how these disturbances might occur in a diffractive and decolonising reading methodology. I outline two prior diffractive reading experiences that drew on decolonial theory and Barad’s diffraction theory: A situated inquiry of the Great Barrier Reef as a pedagogical agent; and a reading of Australian teacher education policy through military imaginaries. In this article I read these prior diffractive reading experiences through one another, attending to further methodological patterns. I identify two connected methods of defamiliarisation that are generative for destabilising colonising ways of knowing, norms and thinking in education. These are: Bringing ostensibly different phenomena together in diffractive relations with one another; and reading difference in the spirit of companionship, that is, in an orientation to learning from difference rather than to master difference. I suggest that if education continues to rely on and wield the same modern critical tools that support colonial-capitalist systems it will be unable to recognise, address and reimagine the continued violence of these systems.
Tracing the fate of British mutiny monuments over the course of the first twenty-five years that followed formal Indian Independence in 1947, as well as the practices of commemoration employed to mark the conflict’s centenary in 1957, Chapter 6 is concerned with how Britain and India were forced to renegotiate the past within the dramatically transformed present. As this chapter shows, British and Indian official memory largely dovetailed over this period. Animated by questions of legitimacy at the international and domestic levels, the uprising presented an awkward moment for official British and Indian memories of empire, and thus both governments settled on an attempt to forget 1857 within the sociopolitical context of this period. However, as this chapter will further show, despite the ideological inducements to forget the uprising of 1857, it remained an important component for many groups in Britain but especially in India during this period, where memories of the conflict continued to help define what empire meant.
The Cawnpore Well, Lucknow Residency, and Delhi Ridge were sacred places within the British imagination of India. Sanctified by the colonial administration in commemoration of victory over the 'Sepoy Mutiny' of 1857, they were read as emblems of empire which embodied the central tenets of sacrifice, fortitude, and military prowess that underpinned Britain's imperial project. Since independence, however, these sites have been rededicated in honour of the 'First War of Independence' and are thus sacred to the memory of those who revolted against colonial rule, rather than those who saved it. The 1857 Indian Uprising and the Politics of Commemoration tells the story of these and other commemorative landscapes and uses them as prisms through which to view over 150 years of Indian history. Based on extensive archival research from India and Britain, Sebastian Raj Pender traces the ways in which commemoration responded to the demands of successive historical moments by shaping the events of 1857 from the perspective of the present. By telling the history of India through the transformation of mnemonic space, this study shows that remembering the past is always a political act.
Within a context of cultural- and land-based Indigenous resurgence, contemporary Indigenous writers, artists, theorists, and activists have made the settler-state and extraction economy of Canada a flashpoint of the global climate emergency. Indigenous peoples often exist on the front lines of climate change, finding their lives and livelihoods threatened by the effects of rising temperatures even as they have been excluded from many of the benefits afforded by carbon-intensive economies. This chapter examines how Indigenous writers place climate change within a long, ongoing history of colonial resource appropriations, ecological loss, and violent suppression of Indigenous bodies and cultures in Canada. The chapter also addresses the diverse ways they respond to its challenges, including: crafting texts and practices of political dissent, solidarity-building, and land reoccupation; grounding present experiences in enduring stories of Indigenous response to environmental and political change; and refashioning genres such as science fiction, horror, or post-apocalyptic imaginaries to explore Indigenous futurisms in a climate-altered world. Above all, Indigenous writers make clear that climate change cannot be extricated from decolonisation and matters of sovereignty. The restoration of Indigenous lands and land-based ways of knowing is the starting point for the pursuit of climate justice.
This chapter presents the theoretical framework for understanding the evolution of postcolonial liberation wars. The book uses theory as a lens through which to examine postcolonial liberation struggles. It employs ideas from theories of practices and roles in international politics to shed new light about the evolution of postcolonial separatist violence, and about our understanding of colonialism and decolonisation.
This chapter looks at the direction the debates on social and economic human rights took after the adoption of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1966 and until the late 1980s. The focus is on the United Nations as the debates here reflected larger political questions about the meaning and relevance of social and economic rights as obligations in the unfolding post-colonial world. With decolonisation, the former colonial powers had been ‘liberated’ from the obligations of empire while many rulers in newly independent states used the new-found sovereignty to avoid scrutiny of the broad range of human rights. Decolonisation proved to be the perfect storm for social and economic rights denial. This would be further entrenched by expanding neo-liberal reforms and debt management leading to the ‘lost decade’ for development during the 1980s. Despite social and economic rights being continually neglected, the chapter argues that they always remained central to the problem of human rights.
This chapter traces the socio-economic dimensions of rights development in the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). The author argues that, in the context of this revolution, which began with a revolt against slavery but became an anti-colonial struggle for independence, the conceptual separation of civil and political rights, on the one hand, and socio-economic rights, on the other, makes little sense. The story of the birth of the world’s first black republic reveals the co-dependency of socio-economic rights and citizenship rights in a struggle for liberation and dignity. The intertwined nature of citizenship and socio-economic justice is examined across several documents, including the 1801 Constitution of Saint-Domingue and the 1805 Imperial Constitution of Haiti, as well as other texts written by the revolutionaries themselves. The chapter suggests that, rather than date the advent of socio-economic rights to the twentieth century, historians should look for the socio-economic stakes of prior struggles over civil and political rights and the ways in which certain protagonists in those struggles tried to suppress them.
The Malayan Emergency of 1948–1960 has been scrutinised for 'lessons' about how to win counterinsurgencies from the Vietnam War to twenty-first century Afghanistan. This book brings our understanding of the conflict up to date by interweaving government and insurgent accounts and looking at how they played out at local level. Drawing on oral history, recent memoirs and declassified archival material from the UK and Asia, Karl Hack offers a comprehensive, multi-perspective account of the Malayan Emergency and its impact on Malaysia. He sheds new light on questions about terror and violence against civilians, how insurgency and decolonisation interacted and how revolution was defeated. He considers how government policies such as pressurising villagers, resettlement and winning 'hearts and minds' can be judged from the perspective of insurgents and civilians. This timely book is the first truly multi-perspective and in-depth study of anti-colonial resistance and counterinsurgency in the Malayan Emergency.
The emergence of two states in Indonesia in the aftermath of the Second World War, namely the Republic of Indonesia and the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration, instigated a war that imposed citizenship, which schoolteachers had to choose carefully. By examining the quest for professional trajectories of Dutch and Indonesian schoolteachers during the 1945–1949 period, this paper argues that expanding citizenship fostered decolonisation through the teachers’ detachment from a shared dream of social mobility. The post–World War II reconstruction project, which is largely depicted as narratives of state building in many of the existing bibliographies, reflected a growing discontent in teachers’ expectations for economic reestablishment at the personal levels. The teachers’ detachment from a shared dream of social mobility reflected the dissolution of an imagined community where transnational cultural identities had met and melded in the early twentieth century. In contrast to the emerging historiography that emphasises atrocities and violence, this paper offers a perspective on the soft process of decolonisation.
This article proposes that there is a gap in our current understanding of the globalising and deglobalising dynamics of mid-twentieth-century East Africa, one that might be addressed by consolidating and taking forward recent developments in the historiography of decolonisation. Recent work by international historians has recovered the connected world of the 1940s to 1960s: the era of new postcolonial states, the ‘Bandung moment’, pan-African cooperation, and the early Cold War. Yet East Africa is less prominent in these histories than we might expect, despite the vibrancy of current work on this period in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Bringing these two fields into dialogue, through an explicitly regional East African framework and with a particular focus on individual lives, expands our understanding not only of the ‘globalisation of decolonisation’ but also of the deglobalising dynamics of the following decades that are frequently reduced to a history of global economic crisis.
Coventry University has made a strategic commitment to address the dimension of ‘race’ in its learning and teaching. Central to this is the establishment of a cross-institution curriculum change initiative called ‘Curriculum 2025’. The case study shared here details how we are approaching this task and some early reflections. Two things are explained: first, the provision of resources for staff who want to learn more about possible actions to take; second, our approach to working alongside course teams on new materials, often designed as reusable learning objects. An example of such a learning object is discussed which uses Wikipedia to enable students from diverse backgrounds to examine critically academic texts, books and other resources to understand how their learning may be skewed in favour of Western-originated thought and to identify alternative perspectives. The student activity also provides a co-creation opportunity, in that students are discovering the curriculum for themselves.
From Tanganyika’s independence in 1961 to the collapse of the Portuguese empire in 1974, Dar es Salaam was an epicentre of revolution in Africa. The representatives of anticolonial liberation movements set up offices in the city, attracting the interest of the Cold War powers, who sought to expand their influence in the Third World. Meanwhile, the Tanzanian government sought to translate independence into meaningful decolonisation through an ambitious project to build a socialist state. This chapter explains how the lens of the city reveals the connections between the dynamics of the Cold War, decolonisation, and socialist state-making in Tanzania. It locates this approach among new approaches to the history of the Cold War, decolonisation, and global cities. Scattered across continents, the postcolonial archive offers the potential for exploring the revolutionary dynamics which intersected in Dar es Salaam.
This article examines the transnational activism of the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (Revolutionary Student Directorate, DRE), a group of exiled Cuban anti-Castro students. In the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion, with CIA funding, the DRE attempted to challenge student support for the Cuban Revolution in Latin America and elsewhere in the global South. This article uses the DRE's trajectory to rethink the 1960s as a period of anti-communist, as well as leftist, youth ascendancy. It challenges the idea that Cuba garnered universal youth support, stressing instead that the Cuban Revolution helped turn student politics into a key battleground of the Cold War.
In discussions about ‘race’, empire, imperialism – and the decolonisation of the curriculum in European universities – the discipline of Romani Studies has, until recently, been relatively quiet. This article seeks to address this silence and offers commentary on the institutional silences, via both disciplinary historical and contemporary country-specific analysis. A case study is investigated to tease out the ontological and epistemological transitions from early 19th Century Gypsylorism to 21st Century Critical Romani Studies: the teaching and learning of Romani Studies at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. We argue that the legacy of Gypsylorism, as much as the political climate in which the teaching and learning of contemporary Romani Studies occurs, are important aspects to consider. In moving forwards, we suggest that the models and pedagogies adopted at CEU since 2015 offer a useful and critical template for other universities and departments to consider adopting in progressing Romani knowledge production.
While recent research shows a gradual increase of young Māori in Higher Education it remains the case that inequality amongst the Indigenous population remains entrenched and institutionalised. This article explains how national governments in Aotearoa New Zealand have failed to address the colonial disparities and inequalities in the Higher Education system. In this process we will show, through the lens of historical privilege and institutional racism, how these processes continue to shape and frame both opportunities and experiences for Māori youth. The article will also highlight what strategies are needed if a more inclusive Higher Education system is to be developed that addresses the disparities that young Māori encounter.
Tracing Dar es Salaam's rise and fall as an epicentre of Third World revolution, George Roberts explores the connections between the global Cold War, African liberation struggles, and Tanzania's efforts to build a socialist state. Instead of understanding decolonisation through a national lens, he locates the intersection of these dynamics in a globally-connected city in East Africa. Revolutionary State-Making in Dar es Salaam introduces a vibrant cast of politicians, guerrilla leaders, diplomats, journalists, and intellectuals whose trajectories collided in the city. In its cosmopolitan and rumour-filled hotel bars, embassy receptions, and newspaper offices, they grappled with challenges of remaking a world after empire. Yet Dar es Salaam's role on the frontline of the African revolution and its provocative stance towards global geopolitics came at considerable cost. Roberts explains how Tanzania's strident anti-imperialism ultimately drove an authoritarian turn in its socialist project and tighter control over the city's public sphere.