This, the first of two complementary chapters on the First World War and its colonial aftermaths, focuses on the collapse of ‘compact’ empires in Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe. It conceptualizes the reconfiguration of Europe and its eastern borderlands after the collapse of Imperial Russia, Austria-Hungary and Imperial Germany as a form of decolonization internal to Europe during a ‘Greater War’ that, broadly speaking, continued until 1923. The global ramifications of this particularly European struggle became evident in new repressive techniques by colonial states and the widespread turn towards political violence to achieve the overthrow of imperial regimes.
This article traces what catalyzed the ideas of eugenic policies, what gave them weight in an increasingly precise scientific environment. It draws an explicit link between this interest and the development of eugenics. It presents the association between the emergence of anthropology and a growing interest in dying race theory. It provides the basic concepts of the term “savage” as it seems to have become widespread. The idea of the savage fed assumptions that are discussed here under eugenics relate to topics such as reproductive capacity, the idea of generational throwbacks, and crucially what role the environment plays in promoting or preventing development. The article thus reflects an older anxiety about environment rather than heredity, thus destabilizing not only the twin powers of civilization and colonialism, but also the new hereditarian orthodoxy out of which eugenics was born and is growing.
John M. Lonsdale
Following on from the argument of the joint introduction to African nationalism, this chapter emphasizes Africa’s place in a global history of nationalism by emphasizing what seems to be a universal instinct to search out instructive history in order either to ride modernity’s adventure or to face up to its ordeal. The early scholarly analysis of African nationalism assumed that colonialism’s allegedly modernizing history was the past that counted, with nationalist elites riding the tide of social change that consigned ‘tribal loyalty’ to the past. Scholars are now more aware of deeper African pasts that made Africans see colonialism as less of an adventure, more of an ordeal, especially for deep-rooted ideas of household self-mastery as the basis of African citizenships. This archive of political thought encouraged local ethnic patriotisms in which the lively constitutional histories of African kingdoms, and the sense of ethnic moral economies outraged by class formation. Territorial nationalisms were shaped as much by such local energies as by demands for unity against colonial rule. Such contradictions could be at their most severe in southern Africa, as liberation movements had to take up arms against entrenched white minorities. African nationalisms, in short, have been shaped as much by African history as by imported ideas.
Christopher J. Lee
Anti-colonialism as a historical phenomenon defies easy categorization. Despite its use as an expression across a range of academic disciplines, it resists simple definitions of practical form, political scope, and empirical content due to the ubiquity of anti-colonial thought and activism across time and geography. It is arguably one of the oldest forms of political conduct in the basic sense of opposing foreign domination. Yet, in most cases, it has primarily served as a generic rhetorical device to describe that which is against colonialism. This chapter offers a reassessment of anti-colonialism. Its reservations about monolithic approaches to colonialism and anti-colonialism reflect a common appraisal formulated by many scholars over the past several decades. Anti-colonialism must be recognized and understood as a significant phenomenon in defining the political history of the modern world. However, it must also be considered in many cases as indiscrete from the colonialism it confronted.
This chapter builds upon the insight that around 1900 different concepts and institutions such as ‘nationalism’ and ‘nation’ began to spread globally. Outside the West, nationalism soon emerged as the leading ideology and privileged form of political discourse and eroded more encompassing definitions of belonging in places as diverse as Egypt and India. Non-European actors had a variety of ways they could go about selectively appropriating European ‘achievements’. The reference to the ‘West’ was for a long time mainly restricted to educated groups and intellectual and political elites, whose own concepts of nationalism were neither simply anti-Western and traditional nor did they consist of a straightforward appropriation of Western models. Instead the ideas and activities of thinkers and politicians such as Gandhi and Senghor were highly ambivalent, combining elements of Western ideas and concepts with a critique of Western culture and the praise of indigenous traditions. However, as the case of Tanzania shows, not only great thinkers but complex and internally contested local discourses also gave impulses to nationalist doctrines and movements.
Coming to terms with an imperial past has involved difficult and often divisive questions of how far the inhabitants of former imperial powers should accept responsibility for the deeds of their predecessors, how far back into the past one might go to remedy such injustices, and what happens when the reparative demands of injured parties conflict with the security and well-being of others. This chapter looks at a range of cases and claims for restitution, reparation, and apologies in order to consider how the imperial past has entered into the public domain, the selectivity of imperial memories, and processes of reconciliation. After discussing the historical conjuncture in which demands have arisen, this chapter explores three types of ‘reparative politics’: apologies and expressions of regret for colonial-era actions, restitution of heritage objects in metropolitan collections, and monetary compensation for the perceived crimes of colonialism.
Joseph Morgan Hodge
This chapter examines the degree of continuity and rupture between the colonial/post-colonial divide in Africa, and argues that the years between 1930 and the 1970s constitute a single, world historical period in which state-directed and managed plans for economic and social advancement were shared widely among colonial, national, and international organizations and states. It examines important shifts and breaks that occurred throughout the period, including barriers to implementing new development projects, massive strike actions, the view of development as a demand for post-colonial entitlements and rights, and how development became a part of the strategy for managing decolonization as a shared goal of both colonial officials and African nationalist leaders. It also discusses how both new national governments and international organizations like the World Bank sought to triumph where the colonizers had failed, including drafting ambitious development plans, launching large-scale mechanization schemes, and subsidizing the widespread use of artificial fertilizers.
This article reviews scholarship on the history and historiography of slavery in the British West Indies and Bermuda. The British West Indies differed from other places colonized by the British in the Americas in the rapidity by which slavery became central to the workings of society. In this process, Barbadosstands stood out both for the qualitative leap taken by entrepreneurial Barbadian sugar planters in integrating the factors of production — Barbadian land, African slaves, and London Capital — into an impressively efficient operation under a single owner and for the influence of Barbados's slave society on English and non-English colonies. In Bermuda, the charter generation of Africans, possibly from West-Central Africa, arrived early (by 1620, the island had around 100 African slaves) and lasted for several generations. Bermuda tried — and for a time succeeded — in establishing an economy based on tobacco, but this tiny archipelago, one-eighth the size of Barbados, never made the transition to a mature plantation society. Without a plantation generation to overwhelm them, however, Bermudian slaves were quintessential Atlantic creoles, often attaining a measure of independence denied to slaves elsewhere in a fluid society where slavery closely resembled indentured servitude.
In terms of demography, ecology, culture, and politics, the modern Caribbean is rooted in a hybrid/creole past. This is significant because many theorists have identified the local as the antithesis of the global and parochial sentiment as a key motive for resistance to globalization. The destruction of the indigenous Caribbean society and the repopulation of the islands in the aftermath of the European conquests made the notion of a Black Atlantic diaspora a feature of Caribbean life in the colonial period; Caribbean anticolonialism had a similarly globalist orientation. Caribbean territories witnessed some of the most imaginative (but least successful) schemes for regional federation and inter-island co-operation devised in the 1950s and 1960s. The region was also the site of multiple imperial interests and foreign interventions, which, as this chapter demonstrates, contributed to the ways in which decolonization unfolded.
This chapter examines the role of the imperialism of nation-states in the Cold War. It suggests that the Cold War rivalry provided the “frame of reference” in which the historical forces of imperialism and nationalism interacted with developments such as decolonization, multiculturalism, and new ideologies and modes of identity formation. The chapter also argues that while the equilibrium of Cold War rivalry generated an entrenched political and ideological hegemony limiting the realization of political, economic, and imaginative possibilities in much of the world, the developing world represented significant weak links and played an equally important role in its collapse.