Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History by Frederick Cooper

By Frederick Cooper

During this heavily built-in number of essays on colonialism in international heritage, Frederick Cooper increases the most important questions about recommendations suitable to a variety of concerns within the social sciences and arts, together with id, globalization, and modernity. instead of painting the prior centuries because the inevitable move from empire to geographical region, Cooper areas nationalism inside a wider variety of imperial and diasporic imaginations, of rulers and governed alike, good into the 20 th century. He addresses either the insights and the blind spots of colonial reports in order to get past the tendency within the box to target a regularly occurring colonialism positioned someday among 1492 and the Nineteen Sixties and someplace within the "West." Broad-ranging, cogently argued, and with a ancient 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 suggestions often attributed to Western universalism—including citizenship and equality—were outlined and reconfigured via political mobilizations in colonial contexts.


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

"Probably an important historian of Africa at present writing within the English language. His highbrow succeed in and ambition have even taken impact a ways past African experiences as such, and he has develop into one of many significant voices contributing to debates over empire, colonialism and their aftermaths. This publication is a choice to reinvigorate the severe approach during which historical past will be written. Cooper takes on the various usual ideals passing as postcolonial idea and breathes clean air onto them."—Michael Watts, Director of the Institute of overseas experiences, Berkeley

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This work has invested these histories with a moral fervor as well as an expanded horizon of inquiry. We should not lose that fervor, even while taking inspiration from it to explore the historical trajectories of colonial situations. We can examine the constraints imposed by the insinuation of Western social categories into daily life and political ideology in conquered spaces without assuming that the logic imminent in those categories determined future politics. We can recognize the instability and contested nature of colonizing ideologies and ask how political leaders in the colonies sought to reinterpret, appropriate, deflect, and resist the political ideas they gleaned from colonial rulers, their own experiences, and their connections across colonial boundaries.

41 This complex, differentiated empire, expanded into continental Europe by Napoleon, did not produce a clear and stable duality of metropole/colony, self/other, citizen/subject. Political activists in the colonies, until well into the 1950s, were not all intent upon asserting the right to national independence; many sought political voice within the institutions of the French Empire while claiming the same wages, social services, and standard of living as other French people. If one wants to rethink France from its colonies, one might argue that France only became a nation-state in 1962, when it gave up its attempt to keep Algeria French and tried for a time to define itself as a singular citizenry in a single territory.

What makes intellectuals think what they think is always elusive—the intellectual in question may be the last to know—and figuring out what resonates with a larger public is more elusive still. This article is intended to provoke discussion and reflection on the way that the “colonial situation” has moved in and out of intellectual focus. I am particularly interested in issues of framing: how unposable questions come to be asked, how angles of vision change. the end of empire and the marginalization of colonial studies Balandier’s 1951 article is notable for taking the sociological tradition in a new direction.

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