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Anti-imperial world politics: race, class, and internationalism in the making of post-colonial order

Murray, Christopher Patrick (2020) Anti-imperial world politics: race, class, and internationalism in the making of post-colonial order. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Why did many ‘black’ anti-imperial thinkers and leaders articulate projects for colonial freedom based in transnational identities and solidarities? This thesis excavates a discourse of anti-imperial globalism, which helped shape world politics from the early to late 20th century. Although usually reduced to the anticolonial nationalist politics of sovereignty and recognition, this study interprets ‘anti-imperialism globalism from below’ as a transnational counter-discourse, primarily concerned with social justice, social freedom, and equality. Anti-imperial globalism emerged and changed in response to developing world events, but it was also shaped by boundary-crossing discourses. One discourse understood global progress as dependent on the ability of different societies to unite through large-scale organisation and political integration. These political visions – which were often articulated as ‘federation’ – were enabled, but ultimately limited, by a second dominant discourse of racial hierarchy and race development. I argue that anti-imperial strategies changed throughout the 20th century not because the hierarchical relations of empire were defeated, but because empire was able to rehabilitate itself according to more ethno-culturally inclusive principles of global governance. This thesis makes two contributions to existing literature. Firstly, it builds on recent debates concerning empire, decolonisation, and world order. Empire is usually conceptualised as one polity’s alien rule over another, or, along with nation-states and international institutions, another type of unitary actor. This effectively flattens imperial relations into a coloniser/colonised binary, and relegates them to a distant, deniable past which predated the post-1945 nation-state system. Tracing the histories of men and women who struggled against empire reveals it as a productive and adaptable form of transnational power, which created stratified yet lasting social identities. Secondly, in pursuing this historical-relational approach to empire and race, this study offers an alternative to sovereignty and recognition based models of state, political community, and world order.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Christopher Patrick Murray
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Barkawi, Tarak

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