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

By Frederick Cooper

During this heavily built-in selection of essays on colonialism in global background, Frederick Cooper increases the most important questions about ideas proper to quite a lot of concerns within the social sciences and arts, together with id, globalization, and modernity. instead of painting the earlier centuries because the inevitable flow from empire to countryside, Cooper areas nationalism inside of a wider diversity 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 reviews to be able to get past the tendency within the box to target a popular 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 right here for the 1st time, suggest a fuller engagement within the give-and-take of historical past, now not least within the ways that thoughts frequently attributed to Western universalism—including citizenship and equality—were outlined and reconfigured by way of political mobilizations in colonial contexts.

Reviews:

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

"Probably crucial historian of Africa at the moment writing within the English language. His highbrow achieve and ambition have even taken impact a long way past African reviews 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 decision to reinvigorate the serious method within which historical past should be written. Cooper takes on a number of the general ideals passing as postcolonial concept and breathes clean air onto them."—Michael Watts, Director of the Institute of foreign reviews, Berkeley

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

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European history is flattened into a single post-Enlightenment era. 33 Yet nineteenth-century Europe was immersed in struggles within and among many parochialisms and many universalities. 34 The balancing of the universalized rightsbearing individual against questions of “difference” was a vital debate within and after the Enlightenment. 35 Sankar Muthu has brought out the debate over empire among Enlightenment thinkers. For Diderot, most notably, coming to grips with the hu- Introduction / 21 manity of non-European people also meant confronting their subjection.

At the same time, movements outside of such frameworks—sometimes denounced by colonial rulers as atavistic, demagogic, or antimodern—raised the stakes for colonial regimes to contain tensions within familiar institutions and allowed African political movements room to maneuver between different visions of the future. One needs to appreciate the sense of possibility of these years and to understand what ensued not as an imminent logic of colonial history but as a dynamic process with a tragic end.

53 28 / Colonial Studies Was empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries more colonial than its predecessors? Brutality, enslavement, land grabbing, the denigration of indigenous cultures, and coerced religious conversion are not unique to any era or place. The more profound argument lies both in a supposedly post-Enlightenment penchant for classification—and hence invidious distinction based not on the give and take of relations between unequals but on systemic rankings of peoples (see above)—and, more persuasively, in the contention that as European publics claimed rights and citizenship for themselves, they defined a sharper division between a metropolitan polity for which such claims were relevant and an external sphere for which they were not.

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