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By Frederick Cooper

During this heavily built-in choice of essays on colonialism in international heritage, Frederick Cooper increases an important questions on recommendations appropriate to quite a lot of matters within the social sciences and arts, together with id, globalization, and modernity. instead of painting the prior centuries because the inevitable circulate from empire to countryside, Cooper areas nationalism inside a wider variety of imperial and diasporic imaginations, of rulers and governed alike, good into the 20th century. He addresses either the insights and the blind spots of colonial stories with a view to get past the tendency within the box to target a universal colonialism positioned someday among 1492 and the Nineteen Sixties and someplace within the "West." Broad-ranging, cogently argued, and with a old concentration that strikes from Africa to South Asia to Europe, those essays, so much released the following for the 1st time, suggest a fuller engagement within the give-and-take of historical past, now not least within the ways that ideas often attributed to Western universalism—including citizenship and equality—were outlined and reconfigured via political mobilizations in colonial contexts.


"This is a really a lot wanted publication: on Africa, on highbrow artisanship and on engagement in emancipatory initiatives. Drawing on his huge, immense erudition in colonial background, Cooper brings jointly an highbrow and a moral-political argument opposed to a sequence of associated advancements that privilege 'taking a stance' and in desire of learning techniques of wade through engaged scholarship." - Jane I. Guyer, writer of Marginal Gains"

"Probably an important historian of Africa presently writing within the English language. His highbrow succeed in and ambition have even taken impression some distance past African stories as such, and he has turn into one of many significant voices contributing to debates over empire, colonialism and their aftermaths. This e-book is a choice to reinvigorate the serious means during which historical past could be written. Cooper takes on a number of the average ideals passing as postcolonial thought and breathes clean air onto them."—Michael Watts, Director of the Institute of overseas experiences, Berkeley

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Additional resources for Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History

Sample text

One is the idea of social construction, a useful antidote to claims that race, ethnicity, or nationality are primordial characteristics of given groups, and which is also helpful in recognizing that race or any other category may be no less important for having been constructed historically. 24 The study of nationalism in colonial societies is a case in point: because we know that the politics of the 1940s and 1950s did indeed end up producing nationstates, we tend to weave all forms of opposition to what colonialism did into a narrative of growing nationalist sentiment and nationalist organization.

The possibility of influencing social change in Africa stemmed from his ability to make a case for particular policy approaches based on his stature as a social scientist. It was not a position of innocence–of self-conscious distancing from any colonial taint. Nor was it uncritical. From 1949, Balandier conducted research projects that in his view helped solve administrative problems, advanced the sociology of Africa, and confronted decision-makers with the social consequences of their actions.

Still others—those most emphasized by critics of Enlightenment reason—advanced taxonomic structures, which in some (but not all) hands implied distinctions that put some outside the realm of the rights-bearing individual and made them a potential subject for colonization. “The” Enlightenment implied no one view of race or difference. 36 What Enlightenment implied in its time—and since—was the necessity of having the debate. The historians’ contribution is not to decide which Enlightenment was the authentic one, but to point to the responsibility of those who advanced particular arguments and the consequences of their interventions.

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