An introductory guide to the roots and contemporary context of, and resistance to carceral politics in Britain
George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis triggered abolitionist shockwaves. Calls to defund the police found receptive ears around the world. Shortly after, Sarah Everard's murder by a serving police officer sparked a national abolitionist movement in Britain. But to abolish the police, prisons and borders, we must confront the legacy of Empire.
Abolition Revolution is a guide to abolitionist politics in Britain, drawing out rich histories of resistance from rebellion in the colonies to grassroots responses to carceral systems today. The authors argue that abolition is key to reconceptualising revolution for our times - linking it with materialist feminisms, anti-capitalist class struggle, internationalist solidarity and anti-colonialism.
Perfect for reading groups and activist meetings, this is an invaluable book for those new to abolitionist politics - whilst simultaneously telling a passionate and authoritative story about the need for abolition and revolution in Britain and globally.
The abolition of the slave trade is normally understood to be the singular achievement of eighteenth-century British liberalism. Abolitionism and Imperialism in Britain, Africa, and the Atlantic expands both the temporal and the geographic framework in which the history of abolitionism is conceived. Abolitionism was a theater in which a variety of actors—slaves, African rulers, Caribbean planters, working-class radicals, British evangelicals, African political entrepreneurs—played a part. The Atlantic was an echo chamber, in which abolitionist symbols, ideas, and evidence were generated from a variety of vantage points. These essays highlight the range of political and moral projects in which the advocates of abolitionism were engaged, and in so doing it joins together geographies that are normally studied in isolation.
Where empires are often understood to involve the government of one people over another, Abolitionism and Imperialism shows that British values were formed, debated, and remade in the space of empire. Africans were not simply objects of British liberals’ benevolence. They played an active role in shaping, and extending, the values that Britain now regards as part of its national character. This book is therefore a contribution to the larger scholarship about the nature of modern empires.
Contributors: Christopher Leslie Brown, Seymour Drescher, Jonathon Glassman, Boyd Hilton, Robin Law, Phillip D. Morgan, Derek R. Peterson, John K. Thornton
In this major reassessment of Japanese imperialism in Asia, Mark Driscoll foregrounds the role of human life and labor. Drawing on subaltern postcolonial studies and Marxism, he directs critical attention to the peripheries, where figures including Chinese coolies, Japanese pimps, trafficked Japanese women, and Korean tenant farmers supplied the vital energy that drove Japan's empire. He identifies three phases of Japan's capitalist expansion, each powered by distinct modes of capturing and expropriating life and labor: biopolitics (1895–1914), neuropolitics (1920–32), and necropolitics (1935-45). During the first phase, Japanese elites harnessed the labor of marginalized subjects as Japan colonized Taiwan, Korea, and south Manchuria, and sent hustlers and sex workers into China to expand its market hegemony. Linking the deformed bodies laboring in the peripheries with the "erotic-grotesque" media in the metropole, Driscoll centers the second phase on commercial sexology, pornography, and detective stories in Tokyo to argue that by 1930, capitalism had colonized all aspects of human life: not just labor practices but also consumers’ attention and leisure time. Focusing on Japan's Manchukuo colony in the third phase, he shows what happens to the central figures of biopolitics as they are subsumed under necropolitical capitalism: coolies become forced laborers, pimps turn into state officials and authorized narcotraffickers, and sex workers become "comfort women". Driscoll concludes by discussing Chinese fiction written inside Manchukuo, describing the everyday violence unleashed by necropolitics.
Acheson and Empire offers a compelling reassessment of Dean Acheson's policies toward the former colonial world during his period as secretary of state from 1949 to 1953. John T. McNay argues that Acheson inherited through his own personal history a way of understanding the world that encouraged imperial-style international relationships. This worldview represented a well-developed belief system rooted in his Ulster Protestant heritage that remained consistent throughout his life.
By exploring relationships of the United States with Britain and countries formerly or then controlled by Britain, such as India, Ireland, Iran, and Egypt, McNay shows the significance of Acheson's beliefs. McNay argues that Acheson's support of existing imperial relationships was so steadfast that it often led other nations to perceive that the United States was nothing more than a front for British interests. He believes this approach to foreign policy damaged American relations with emerging countries and misled the British regarding possibilities of an Anglo-American partnership.
Acheson and Empire contends that the widely accepted view of Acheson as a foreign policy realist is misleading and that historians should acknowledge that his affinity for the British Empire went beyond his clothing and mannerisms. McNay maintains that the widely accepted view of Acheson as one of a group of "wise men" who shaped the Cold War world by basing their decisions on cold calculation of American interests should be reconsidered.
Drawing from extensive research in archival sources, including the Truman Library, the National Archives, the Public Record Office in London, and Acheson's personal papers at Yale, Acheson and Empire offers a fresh look at Dean Acheson that runs counter to previous biographies and many histories of the Cold War.
From a variety of historically grounded perspectives, After the Imperial Turn assesses the fate of the nation as a subject of disciplinary inquiry. In light of the turn toward scholarship focused on imperialism and postcolonialism, this provocative collection investigates whether the nation remains central, adequate, or even possible as an analytical category for studying history. These twenty essays, primarily by historians, exemplify cultural approaches to histories of nationalism and imperialism even as they critically examine the implications of such approaches. While most of the contributors discuss British imperialism and its repercussions, the volume also includes, as counterpoints, essays on the history and historiography of France, Germany, Spain, and the United States. Whether looking at the history of the passport or the teaching of history from a postnational perspective, this collection explores such vexed issues as how historians might resist the seduction of national narratives, what—if anything—might replace the nation’s hegemony, and how even history-writing that interrogates the idea of the nation remains ideologically and methodologically indebted to national narratives. Placing nation-based studies in international and interdisciplinary contexts, After the Imperial Turn points toward ways of writing history and analyzing culture attentive both to the inadequacies and endurance of the nation as an organizing rubric.
Contributors. Tony Ballantyne, Antoinette Burton, Ann Curthoys, Augusto Espiritu, Karen Fang, Ian Christopher Fletcher, Robert Gregg, Terri Hasseler, Clement Hawes, Douglas M. Haynes, Kristin Hoganson, Paula Krebs, Lara Kriegel, Radhika Viyas Mongia, Susan Pennybacker, John Plotz, Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, Heather Streets, Hsu-Ming Teo, Stuart Ward, Lora Wildenthal, Gary Wilder
The world that Alexander remade in his lifetime was transformed once more by his death in 323 BCE. His successors reorganized Persian lands to create a new empire stretching from the eastern Mediterranean as far as present-day Afghanistan, while in Greece and Macedonia a fragile balance of power repeatedly dissolved into war. Then, from the late third century BCE to the end of the first, Rome’s military and diplomatic might successively dismantled these post-Alexandrian political structures, one by one.
During the Hellenistic period (c. 323–30 BCE), small polities struggled to retain the illusion of their identity and independence, in the face of violent antagonism among large states. With time, trade growth resumed and centers of intellectual and artistic achievement sprang up across a vast network, from Italy to Afghanistan and Russia to Ethiopia. But the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE brought this Hellenistic moment to a close—or so the story goes.
In Angelos Chaniotis’s view, however, the Hellenistic world continued to Hadrian’s death in 138 CE. Not only did Hellenistic social structures survive the coming of Rome, Chaniotis shows, but social, economic, and cultural trends that were set in motion between the deaths of Alexander and Cleopatra intensified during this extended period. Age of Conquests provides a compelling narrative of the main events that shaped ancient civilization during five crucial centuries. Many of these developments—globalization, the rise of megacities, technological progress, religious diversity, and rational governance—have parallels in our world today.
In 1897, as a white oligarchy made plans to allow the United States to annex Hawai'i, native Hawaiians organized a massive petition drive to protest. Ninety-five percent of the native population signed the petition, causing the annexation treaty to fail in the U.S. Senate. This event was unknown to many contemporary Hawaiians until Noenoe K. Silva rediscovered the petition in the process of researching this book. With few exceptions, histories of Hawai'i have been based exclusively on English-language sources. They have not taken into account the thousands of pages of newspapers, books, and letters written in the mother tongue of native Hawaiians. By rigorously analyzing many of these documents, Silva fills a crucial gap in the historical record. In so doing, she refutes the long-held idea that native Hawaiians passively accepted the erosion of their culture and loss of their nation, showing that they actively resisted political, economic, linguistic, and cultural domination. Drawing on Hawaiian-language texts, primarily newspapers produced in the nineteenth century and early twentieth, Silva demonstrates that print media was central to social communication, political organizing, and the perpetuation of Hawaiian language and culture. A powerful critique of colonial historiography, Aloha Betrayed provides a much-needed history of native Hawaiian resistance to American imperialism.
In 1898 the United States declared sovereignty over the Philippines, an archipelago of seven thousand islands inhabited by seven million people of various ethnicities. While it became a colonial power at the zenith of global imperialism, the United States nevertheless conceived of its rule as exceptional—an exercise in benevolence rather than in tyranny and exploitation. In this volume, Julian Go and Anne L. Foster untangle this peculiar self-fashioning and insist on the importance of studying U.S. colonial rule in the context of other imperialist ventures. A necessary expansion of critical focus, The American Colonial State in the Philippines is the first systematic attempt to examine the creation and administration of the American colonial state from comparative, global perspectives.
Written by social scientists and historians, these essays investigate various aspects of American colonial government through comparison with and contextualization within colonial regimes elsewhere in the world—from British Malaysia and Dutch Indonesia to Japanese Taiwan and America's other major overseas colony, Puerto Rico. Contributors explore the program of political education in the Philippines; constructions of nationalism, race, and religion; the regulation of opium; connections to politics on the U.S. mainland; and anticolonial resistance. Tracking the complex connections, circuits, and contests across, within, and between empires that shaped America's colonial regime, The American Colonial State in the Philippines sheds new light on the complexities of American imperialism and turn-of-the-century colonialism.
Contributors. Patricio N. Abinales, Donna J. Amoroso, Paul Barclay, Vince Boudreau, Anne L. Foster, Julian Go, Paul A. Kramer
In 1997, when the New York Times described Filipino American serial killer Andrew Cunanan as appearing “to be everywhere and nowhere,” Allan Punzalan Isaac recognized confusion about the Filipino presence in the United States, symptomatic of American imperialism’s invisibility to itself. In American Tropics, Isaac explores American fantasies about the Philippines and other “unincorporated” parts of the U.S. nation that obscure the contradictions of a democratic country possessing colonies.Isaac boldly examines the American empire’s images of the Philippines in turn-of-the-century legal debates over Puerto Rico, Progressive-era popular literature set in Latin American borderlands, and midcentury Hollywood cinema staged in Hawai‘i and the Pacific islands. Isaac scrutinizes media coverage of the Cunanan case, Boy Scout adventure novels, and Hollywood films such as The Real Glory (1939) and Blue Hawaii (1961) to argue that territorial sites of occupation are an important part of American identity. American Tropics further reveals the imperial imagination’s role in shaping national meaning in novels such as Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart (1946) and Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters (1990), Filipino American novels forced to articulate the empire’s enfolded but disavowed borders.Tracing the American empire from the beginning of the twentieth century to Philippine liberation and the U.S. civil rights movement, American Tropics lays bare Filipino Americans’ unique form of belonging marked indelibly by imperialism and at odds with U.S. racial politics and culture.Allan Punzalan Isaac is assistant professor of English at Wesleyan University.
Contemporary America, with its unparalleled armaments and ambition, seems to many commentators a new empire. Others angrily reject the designation. What stakes would being an empire have for our identity at home and our role abroad?
A preeminent American historian addresses these issues in light of the history of empires since antiquity. This elegantly written book examines the structure and impact of these mega-states and asks whether the United States shares their traits and behavior. Eschewing the standard focus on current U.S. foreign policy and the recent spate of pro- and anti-empire polemics, Charles S. Maier uses comparative history to test the relevance of a concept often invoked but not always understood. Marshaling a remarkable array of evidence—from Roman, Ottoman, Moghul, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and British experience—Maier outlines the essentials of empire throughout history. He then explores the exercise of U.S. power in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, carefully analyzing its economic and strategic sources and the nation’s relationship to predecessors and rivals.
To inquire about empire is to ask what the United States has become as a result of its wealth, inventiveness, and ambitions. It is to confront lofty national aspirations with the realities of the violence that often attends imperial politics and thus to question both the costs and the opportunities of the current U.S. global ascendancy. With learning, dispassion, and clarity, Among Empires offers bold comparisons and an original account of American power. It confirms that the issue of empire must be a concern of every citizen.
The United States has always imagined that its identity as a nation is insulated from violent interventions abroad, as if a line between domestic and foreign affairs could be neatly drawn. Yet this book argues that such a distinction, so obviously impracticable in our own global era, has been illusory at least since the war with Mexico in the mid-nineteenth century and the later wars against Spain, Cuba, and the Philippines. In this book, Amy Kaplan shows how U.S. imperialism--from "Manifest Destiny" to the "American Century"--has profoundly shaped key elements of American culture at home, and how the struggle for power over foreign peoples and places has disrupted the quest for domestic order.
The neatly ordered kitchen in Catherine Beecher's household manual may seem remote from the battlefields of Mexico in 1846, just as Mark Twain's Mississippi may seem distant from Honolulu in 1866, or W. E. B. Du Bois's reports of the East St. Louis Race Riot from the colonization of Africa in 1917. But, as this book reveals, such apparently disparate locations are cast into jarring proximity by imperial expansion. In literature, journalism, film, political speeches, and legal documents, Kaplan traces the undeniable connections between American efforts to quell anarchy abroad and the eruption of such anarchy at the heart of the empire.
With this multispecies study of animals as instrumentalities of the colonial state in Nigeria, Saheed Aderinto argues that animals, like humans, were colonial subjects in Africa.
Animality and Colonial Subjecthood in Africa broadens the historiography of animal studies by putting a diverse array of species (dogs, horses, livestock, and wildlife) into a single analytical framework for understanding colonialism in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
From his study of animals with unequal political, economic, social, and intellectual capabilities, Aderinto establishes that the core dichotomies of human colonial subjecthood—indispensable yet disposable, good and bad, violent but peaceful, saintly and lawless—were also embedded in the identities of Nigeria’s animal inhabitants. If class, religion, ethnicity, location, and attitude toward imperialism determined the pattern of relations between human Nigerians and the colonial government, then species, habitat, material value, threat, and biological and psychological characteristics (among other traits) shaped imperial perspectives on animal Nigerians.
Conceptually sophisticated and intellectually engaging, Aderinto’s thesis challenges readers to rethink what constitutes history and to recognize that human agency and narrative are not the only makers of the past.
Anti-Imperialist Modernism excavates how U.S. cross-border, multi-ethnic anti-imperialist movements at mid-century shaped what we understand as cultural modernism and the historical period of the Great Depression. The book demonstrates how U.S. multiethnic cultural movements, located in political parties, small journals, labor unions, and struggles for racial liberation, helped construct a common sense of international solidarity that critiqued ideas of nationalism and essentialized racial identity. The book thus moves beyond accounts that have tended to view the pre-war “Popular Front” through tropes of national belonging or an abandonment of the cosmopolitanism of previous decades. Impressive archival research brings to light the ways in which a transnational vision of modernism and modernity was fashioned through anti-colonial networks of North/South solidarity.
Chapters examine farmworker photographers in California’s central valley, a Nez Perce intellectual traveling to the Soviet Union, imaginations of the Haitian Revolution, the memory of the U.S.–Mexico War, and U.S. radical writers traveling to Cuba. The last chapter examines how the Cold War foreclosed these movements within a nationalist framework, when activists and intellectuals had to suppress the transnational nature of their movements, often rewriting the cultural past to conform to a patriotic narrative of national belonging.
Although the Japanese empire rapidly dissolved following the end of World War II, the memories, mourning, and trauma of the nation's imperial exploits continue to haunt Korea, China, and Taiwan. In Anti-Japan Leo T. S. Ching traces the complex dynamics that shape persisting negative attitudes toward Japan throughout East Asia. Drawing on a mix of literature, film, testimonies, and popular culture, Ching shows how anti-Japanism stems from the failed efforts at decolonization and reconciliation, the Cold War and the ongoing U.S. military presence, and shifting geopolitical and economic conditions in the region. At the same time, pro-Japan sentiments in Taiwan reveal a Taiwanese desire to recoup that which was lost after the Japanese empire fell. Anti-Japanism, Ching contends, is less about Japan itself than it is about the real and imagined relationships between it and China, Korea, and Taiwan. Advocating for forms of healing that do not depend on state-based diplomacy, Ching suggests that reconciliation requires that Japan acknowledge and take responsibility for its imperial history.
Antinomies of Modernity asserts that concepts of race, Orient, and nation have been crucial to efforts across the world to create a sense of place, belonging, and solidarity in the midst of the radical discontinuities wrought by global capitalism. Emphasizing the continued salience at the beginning of the twenty-first century of these supposedly nineteenth-century ideas, the essays in this volume stress the importance of tracking the dynamic ways that race, Orient, and nation have been reworked and used over time and in particular geographic locations.
Drawing on archival sources and fieldwork, the contributors explore aspects of modernity within societies of South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Whether considering how European ideas of Orientalism became foundational myths of Indian nationalism; how racial caste systems between blacks, South Asians, and whites operate in post-apartheid South Africa; or how Indian immigrants to the United States negotiate their identities, these essays demonstrate that the contours of cultural and identity politics did not simply originate in metropolitan centers and get adopted wholesale in the colonies. Colonial and postcolonial modernisms have emerged via the active appropriation of, or resistance to, far-reaching European ideas. Over time, Orientalism and nationalist and racialized knowledges become indigenized and acquire, for all practical purposes, a completely "Third World" patina. Antinomies of Modernity shows that people do make history, constrained in part by political-economic realities and in part by the categories they marshal in doing so. Contributors. Neville Alexander, Andrew Barnes, Vasant Kaiwar, Sucheta Mazumdar, Minoo Moallem, Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, A. R. Venkatachalapathy, Michael O. West
In An Aqueous Territory Ernesto Bassi traces the configuration of a geographic space he calls the transimperial Greater Caribbean between 1760 and 1860. Focusing on the Caribbean coast of New Granada (present-day Colombia), Bassi shows that the region's residents did not live their lives bounded by geopolitical borders. Rather, the cross-border activities of sailors, traders, revolutionaries, indigenous peoples, and others reflected their perceptions of the Caribbean as a transimperial space where trade, information, and people circulated, both conforming to and in defiance of imperial regulations. Bassi demonstrates that the islands, continental coasts, and open waters of the transimperial Greater Caribbean constituted a space that was simultaneously Spanish, British, French, Dutch, Danish, Anglo-American, African, and indigenous. Exploring the "lived geographies" of the region's dwellers, Bassi challenges preconceived notions of the existence of discrete imperial spheres and the inevitable emergence of independent nation-states while providing insights into how people envision their own futures and make sense of their place in the world.
War, defeat, and the collapse of empire in 1945 touched every aspect of postwar Japanese society, profoundly shaping how the Japanese would reconstruct national identity and reengage with the peoples of Asia. While “America” offered a vision of re-genesis after cataclysmic ruin, “Asia” exposed the traumata of perpetration and the torment of ethnic responsibility. Obscured in the shadows of a resurgent postwar Japan lurked a postimperial specter whose haunting presence both complicated and confounded the spiritual rehabilitation of the nation.
Asia and Postwar Japan examines Japanese deimperialization from 1945 until the early twenty-first century. It focuses on the thought and activism of progressive activists and intellectuals as they struggled to overcome rigid preconceptions about “Asia,” as they grappled with the implications of postimperial responsibility, and as they forged new regional solidarities and Asian imaginaries. Simon Avenell reveals the critical importance of Asia in postwar Japanese thought, activism, and politics—Asia as a symbolic geography, Asia as a space for grassroots engagement, and ultimately, Asia as an aporia of identity and the source of a new politics of hope.
Audible Empire rethinks the processes and mechanisms of empire and shows how musical practice has been crucial to its spread around the globe. Music is a means of comprehending empire as an audible formation, and the contributors highlight how it has been circulated, consumed, and understood through imperial logics. These fifteen interdisciplinary essays cover large swaths of genre, time, politics, and geography, and include topics such as the affective relationship between jazz and cigarettes in interwar China; the sonic landscape of the U.S.– Mexico border; the critiques of post-9/11 U.S. empire by desi rappers; and the role of tonality in the colonization of Africa. Whether focusing on Argentine tango, theorizing anticolonialist sound, or examining the music industry of postapartheid South Africa, the contributors show how the audible has been a central component in the creation of imperialist notions of reason, modernity, and culture. In doing so, they allow us to hear how empire is both made and challenged.
Contributors: Kofi Agawu, Philip V. Bohlman. Michael Denning, Brent Hayes Edwards, Nan Enstad, Andrew Jones, Josh Kun, Morgan Luker, Jairo Moreno, Tejumola Olaniyan, Marc Perry, Ronald Radano, Nitasha Sharma, Micol Seigel, Gavin Steingo, Penny Von Eschen, Amanda Weidman.