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This short conclusion pulls together the implications of tracing this cohort’s work and thought, through the conceptual framework of an anticolonial culture, for our understanding of the social and intellectual processes that accompanied legal-constitutional decolonisation. It focuses on the broader and less state-centric picture that emerges, on the importance of a regional framework to arrive at this ‘distributed’ history, and on the merits of microhistorical methods for revising heroic narratives of both national liberation and global solidarity projects. A new intellectual history of anticolonialism could thus make more room for social histories and collective labour.
This chapter contests the prevailing interpretation of the post-Mabo turn as a decisive new era in Australian cultural history. While the Mabo High Court decision of 1992 was an important milestone in struggles for Indigenous land rights, the insistence on this date as a literary periodization neglects the continuities in settler culture that still structure settler fiction in Australia. Alternatively, recent First Nations fiction suggests possibilities within and outside dominant paradigms of legality.
First Nations Australian literature has often been the object of incomprehension and derogation by settler critics – something a deeper perspective of “presencing” can overcome. This chapter takes a decolonial perspective and highlights the self-assertion of First Nations writers against invidious characterization, such as that received by the poetic work of Oodgeroo Noonuccal in the 1960s. It demonstrates how nonIndigenous readers can approach texts by First Nations authors not as “tourists” but as “invited guests.”
By looking at the September 1949 devaluation dilemma faced by the governments of Pakistan and India, this article argues that it was an early episode of divergence between them following partition. The reasons why Pakistan did not devalue when India did so have remained largely obscured in the historiography. Deeply contested, the decision was a determining event through which the state staked its claim for economic sovereignty, internally and externally. It led to a 17-month-long official trade deadlock, especially in the eastern region of partitioned Bengal. It ended when the two governments established an exchange ratio for the two rupees, no longer at par with each other. This interactive delinking of currencies was symptomatic of the improvisational decoupling of the colonial subcontinent’s post-colonial states. In tracing its trajectory, this article contributes to the inconsiderable literature on why devaluation did not happen in Pakistan, revises the rationale offered, and presents the event as a contingent exercise in economic decolonization, generative of a post-colonial sovereign difference.
How did Britain cease to be global? In Untied Kingdom, Stuart Ward tells the panoramic history of the end of Britain, tracing the ways in which Britishness has been imagined, experienced, disputed and ultimately discarded across the globe since the end of the Second World War. From Indian independence, West Indian immigration and African decolonization to the Suez Crisis and the Falklands War, he uncovers the demise of Britishness as a global civic idea and its impact on communities across the globe. He also shows the consequences of this diminished 'global reach' in Britain itself, from the Troubles in Northern Ireland to resurgent Englishness and the startling success of separatist political agendas in Scotland and Wales. Untied Kingdom puts the contemporary travails of the Union for the first time in their full global perspective as part of the much larger story of the progressive rollback of Britain's imaginative frontiers.
The idea of ‘home’ had long served as a pervasive metaphor for transoceanic British belonging, routinely employed to invoke patterns of long-distance intimacy. With the onset of decolonization, however, these everyday assumptions came under scrutiny. The colonial administration of Kenya took remedial action in 1947 in the form of a wedding gift to Prince Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh - a home of their own in the foothils of Mt. Kenya. The symbolism of a permanent Royal residence in the heart of Africa was meant to ensure that ‘home’ retained a sense of long-range reciprocity. But by the time the royal couple took possession of Sagana Lodge in February 1952, the violent incursions of the ‘Mau Mau’ insurgency had arrived on their doorstep. Throughout the ensuing crisis, familiar depictions of the settler home appeared graphically in British newspapers and newsreels. The violation of British notions of ordered domesticity became a potent means of mobilizing empathy for the embattled settler community of Kenya, widely depicted as ordinary Britons abroad in need of extraordinary relief measures. The intersecting story of Sagana Lodge, the Monarchy and the domestic horror of Mau Mau provides a unique window into the eclipse of Greater Britain in Africa’s settler heartland, revealing the limits of home as an enduring symbol of Britain’s spurious place in Africa.
The introduction makes a case for addressing the ‘break-up of Britain’ as a problem of global history. For decades, historians of remarkably diverse leanings have thrown their intellectual weight behind a presumed connection between the historical burden of imperial decline and the slow depletion of shared British sentiment since the Second World War. Yet invariably, the end of empire tends to be framed as an abstract tipping point, with little sense of its real-life interactions or everyday consequences - as though its mere dissolution were causation itself. But if social identities are inherently relational, arising out of intricate patterns of material and cultural exchange connecting peoples across wide distances, then focusing solely on the ‘British of Britain’ can provide only a partial and incomplete perspective. By incorporating the fate of Britishness in the many corners of the world where it has long since ceased to command any popular allegiance, the diminishing strength of unitary sentiment in the contemporary United Kingdom emerges in a whole new light. The argument, structure and empirical range of Untied Kingdom all proceed from this fundamental premise.
The conclusion recapitulates the argument and offers some perspectives about the unfinished business of the end of Britain. Superficially, the persistence of the Union in the face of decades of gloomy prophesy might be viewed as a sign that the UK is somehow uniquely resilient — still standing more than half a century after the bell first tolled. But shared categories of belonging rarely permit clear-cut patterns of ‘closure’. That the end itself is incomplete and indistinct is entirely in keeping with the many offshore encounters examined here, where enduring dilemmas and loose ends abound.
Anglophone Caribbean literature written by Black women writers across the diaspora in the 1980s emerges as a transformative, genre-bending, and defiant force. This period of Caribbean literature marks a period of transition that reflects the contradictory experiences of postcolonial island nations grappling with governance, migration, failed and uneven development, and the unfinished (failed) project of decolonization. Caribbean women writers during this period addressed this project through multiple genres and paid careful attention to the lives of women who countered the male-dominated Caribbean literary canon of the 1920s–1970s. The evolution of Black women’s writing across the diaspora from the 1980s and into the 1990s reflects a clear shift and response to the interlocking systems of oppression affecting the lives of Black women. For Caribbean migrant and Caribbean American Black women, these intersections and complexities are layered with the traumatic experiences of migration and coloniality while grappling with place and space, subjectivity and sexuality, identity and self-worth.
The imagination depends not on pictures but on experiences. When we imagine something we conjure up past experiences. This explains the vividness of the imagination, and how it can serve as a creative force. Collective imagination relies on movements and on shared props. Historical examples include German nationalism, social movements, the suffragette movement, movements for decolonization. Today we experience many movements only vicariously, for example, as we watch sports.
Decolonization in East Africa was a regional affair that required the remaking of temporal orders. The staggered independence timelines of Tanganyika, Uganda, and Kenya caused considerable consternation due to transnational solidarities and visions for East African Federation. The interminable delays of Kenyan decolonization also threatened the linked economy of the region and diluted the sovereignty of neighboring states. At issue was “liminal sovereignty,” with polities and people languishing between normative legal orders. Against expectations about self-determination, East Africans found themselves in partial control of their collective endeavors. I analyze the tactics of temporal activism by Africans who aimed to undo British control over the pacing, sequencing, and synchronicity of decolonization. The indeterminate geography of decolonization was linked to uncertain temporalities of independence which threatened to subvert self-determination. In East Africa, federation was a style of claims-making and chronopolitics intended to orchestrate the distribution of rights, resources, and authority in a new layering of sovereignty between postcolonies.
Constitutionalism in the decolonising world was not merely an adoption of a set of norms pre-fabricated in the West. A materialist analysis of the Indian constitution argues for the socio-historical specificity of the post-colonial constituent project. Externally the goal of decolonisation was not just political freedom but also economic sovereignty. Internally an under-developed and unequal society posed a persistent danger of unrest for the new regime. Across much of the post-colonial world the solution was a project of planned state-led development and social transformation. The post-colonial constitution was designed to facilitate and realise this goal. These projects demanded the primacy of sovereignty over property and, hence, the constitution differentiated from metropolitan norms privileging property and constraining state interventions. It was a constitution by and for administrators and planners who were the vanguards of Third Worldism. Sans a popular mobilisation, however, a top down project of transformation through constitution failed. As the fortunes of planning declined and the Third World was ‘liberalised’, lawyers supplanted the administrators as the primary custodians of the post-colonial constitutions. Projects of planned transformation gave way to social rights litigation.
This chapter briefly surveys the intellectual history of modern, western counterinsurgency theory, as conservative, high modernist utopianism. It sets out concise and synoptic evidence for the argument, which serves as context for the later case chapters. I focus on counterinsurgency manuals—applied theoretical texts written by counterinsurgency practitioners, aiming to shape battlefield and political conduct. Manuals link theory and practice, connecting idealized military and political theory to the history of on-the-ground conduct. My approach is primarily contextualist. Proceeding chronologically, I draw connections and contrasts between canonical manuals, from the early modern period to the present. While small wars or counterinsurgency manuals were conservative from early on, high modernism and utopianism emerged only gradually and incidentally, taking multiple forms. I show how ideas cross-pollinated across texts, accumulating scattershot political idealizations and military practices alike. In so doing, I link micro-level individual intellectual change with larger historical processes, at the global level.
Morocco melded its advanced regionalization initiative into a constitutional reform process launched to head off local Arab Spring protests. The literature has approached these reforms from a governance perspective. The initiative has enhanced the democratic legitimacy of regional councils and modestly increased their powers and resources, but without disturbing the state’s established administrative structure, wherein appointed governors shadow elected officials at every level. This chapter examines advanced regionalization with particular focus on its implications for the fate of Western Sahara. Internationally, Morocco has sold advanced regionalization as evidence that it remains committed to a political resolution based on its Autonomy Plan, which offered a special status of asymmetrical autonomy for Western Sahara in its constitutional order. The chapter argues that advanced regionalization instead underpins Morocco’s two-pronged strategy: a hardening external position on Western Sahara coupled with internal efforts to minoritize and folklorize Sahrawi identity. The goal of this strategy is to disassociate the question of Western Sahara from the decolonization/self-determination paradigm and reframe it as a matter of Sahrawi linguistic-minority rights and cultural preservation.
This article argues that although most Caribbean States have in the last 60 years ascended to statehood, colonialism continues to exist in new and variable forms. It relies upon the concept of ‘coloniality’ as advanced by Schneiderman to contend that the international investment law regime, whose history and evolution is rooted in colonialism, relentlessly pursues the economic interests of foreign investors and capital-exporting countries. It draws important connections between historic colonialism and the contemporary regime for the protection of foreign direct investment by situating the Caribbean's experience in the light of the rationales, tropes and methods arising in the past which endure in investment law's domains, as advanced by Schneiderman in his new book, Investment Law's Alibis, namely (a) profitability and privilege; (b) a discourse of improvement; (c) distrust of local self-rule; and (d) construction of legal enclaves. It is argued that each of these features of colonial rule, from a Caribbean perspective, is inscribed in the discourse and practices of the international investment law regime.
According to Carpentier, Columbus rounded, rounded off, and rounded up the planet at a very high cost for the Indigenous cultures of nuestra América (our America). Gradually, a new culture emerged from all the possible hybridizations of Europe, Africa, and Asia. Carpentier also stated that, in order for the novel to exist, there had to be a tradition: the first narratives were for domestic consumption, and it was not until the mid-twentieth century that the avalanche began with El reino de este mundo (The Kingdom of This World) and Los pasos perdidos (The Lost Steps). It was in effect the return to Europe of the galleons that once left Palos de Moguer in Spain, but now carrying another, different, culture. Several factors contributed to Carpentier’s awakening in postwar Europe: the dominance of fiction, somewhat exhausted by the weight of tradition and tired avant-garde formulas, was supplemented by a growing interest in the documentary, thanks to advances in photography and printing. Meanwhile, in Latin America a new approach to the novel was generated via storytelling, linking the particular to the universal. The historical novel was transformed and now demonstrated, alongside an only partially explored physical world, the questions that preoccupy all humankind.
The decade of the 1960s provoked a specific interest in Latin America and its literature, largely owing to the impact of the Cuban Revolution and the attention it paid to the struggle in the cultural field. If until that point the continent’s great writers were perceived as isolated figures, the new context after 1959 created the conditions for them to be read as part of a group that was committed to the common duty of putting a new face on Latin American literature. In fact, the so-called Boom cannot be understood without considering the specific political context that acted as its sounding board. An intrinsic part of the atmosphere at the time, then, were heated debates that foregrounded the role of the intellectual in society, intense polemics regarding the limits of freedom of expression under socialism, and fiery conflicts about the status of literature in a revolutionary society. Paradoxically, the very same period was also seen by its protagonists as one of transition toward a new, as yet undefined, stage. If the decade of the 1960s was dominated by left-wing thought and by the idea of the continental revolution, the 1970s meant the withdrawal of the left, and a gradual rise for the right. In its own way – always and naturally tangentially – literature has narrated all those transitions.
From his earliest writings, Langston Hughes expressed outrage at the predations of colonialism. These sentiments were reaffirmed in his early travels to Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, mostly to countries dominated by the European and US empires. Overt opposition to colonialism thus became fundamental to Hughes’s political and writerly praxis; moreover, it informed and motivated not only his representations of Africa but also his thinking about race, the Black diaspora, the United States, and the modern world. His recognition of colonialism as a system predicated on white supremacy helped him to see US racism and Jim Crow as local manifestations of that global system, which in turn motivated him to cultivate channels of solidarity and support with peoples around the world. Hughes used his writing to champion anticolonial resistance wherever he found it and, by highlighting its successes abroad, to inspire new oppositional movements at home in the United States.
Chapter 4 traces how the German firms, big business and bazaar exporters alike, reentered India after World War I. It shows how the postwar situation triggered a joint sense of victimhood among Germans and Indians who both felt mistreated and exploited by the British, laying the groundwork for a mental map of nationalism that highlighted their parallel history. Both Germans and Indians experimented with new sensemaking offers, among them the bold idea of an Indo-German “Aryan” community that claimed a joint heritage of both people. However, this “identity work” required constant effort and investment. And, many of the Indian suggestions seemed too audacious for most German businesspeople to approve. While they often advocated political neutrality towards the goals of the Indian Independence movement and other independence movements around the world, they also took notice of the similar national aspirations of countries, which otherwise had little in common and started discussing them as a cluster.