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📘 Book Title Beyond Empire And Nation
👤 Book AuthorRemco Raben
🖨️ Total Pages304
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🌐 LanguageEnglish
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Beyond Empire and Nation

The Decolonization of African and Asian Societies, the 1930s-1960s

Edited By Els Bogaerts and Remco Raben


Book prologue

Decolonization has become one of the major themes in twentieth-century historiography. Within the span of three decades, most of the countries that had been colonized by European powers became independent.

Discussions tend to concentrate on the causes of decolonization, particularly on the motives and policies of the European powers. As a result, writings on the history of decolonization have for a long time been primarily about unmaking and about the departure.

 Recently, however, the perspective has shifted, with more weight being attached to global dynamics on the one hand, and greater agency being ascribed to local actors on the other.

 This volume aims to enhance the debate by moving the analysis away from the political interpretations of decolonization that have been used by both the departing powers and the new national leaders, interpretations that have subsequently dominated our retrospective view of the period.

In the next pages, twelve authors give their views on the meaning of decolonization in African and Asian societies. They all view decolonization over a long span of time in order to assess the convergences and divergences between major social changes and political decolonization.

Most articles concentrate on social and institutional changes in the middle decades of the twentieth century, ranging in topic from land titles, urban symbolism, racial and class segregation, the banking system, plural economies, neighbourhood associations, and competing nationalities.

The authors uncover the experiences of peoples and institutions that were part of the history of decolonization but whose experiences do not easily fit into the temporal dichotomy of a ‘before’ and ‘after’. Avoiding a strictly political interpretation of decolonization causes the process of disentanglement from formal colonial relations to become part of a much wider trend of re-thinking and re-ordering societies.

This concern has been central to the large research programme ‘Indonesia across Orders; the Reorganization of Indonesian Society, 1930s-1960s’, initiated and coordinated by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation in Amsterdam, which led to the articles in this volume.

The chapters in this volume approach the mid-twentieth-century transition as a story of experimentation and adjustment that started long before

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