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What we put in black and white: George Padmore and the practice of anti-imperial politics

James, Leslie Elaine (2012) What we put in black and white: George Padmore and the practice of anti-imperial politics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis offers a new interpretation of the life and importance of George Padmore (1903-1959). Padmore was one of the most well-known ‘black communists’ in the 1930s. He became a major nexus for anti-colonial resistance in London between 1935- 1957 and one of the foremost political thinkers behind the pan-African movement. Through an analysis of his writing and his networks this thesis argues that Padmore engaged in a permanent state of political activity, guided by a practice of ‘pragmatic anti-imperialism.’ By tracing his journalism in West African and West Indian colonies, it shows that Padmore’s influence was far more extensive than previously imagined. This study begins from the hypothesis that the pragmatism of Padmore’s politics can only be demonstrated by examining his whole life, and thus takes the form of a biography. Taking Padmore’s pragmatism as a starting point, the forms in which he was understood and labeled by others are fundamental to this study since they demonstrate the extent to which Padmore was willing to compromise and ‘play the game’ of imperial politics, and they show the boundaries of the field in which he operated. Overall, this thesis aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of race and non-violent resistance in anti-imperial politics in the first half of the twentieth century by focusing upon the role of a mobile, life-long activist from the diaspora who attacked the moral basis of late colonial rule from within.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Leslie Elaine James
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Sets: Departments > International History

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