Decolonization and the 20th Century World

History 103B.004

Fall 2013
Day & Time: 
Th 2-4P
  • Note new room.
  • During the Twentieth Century the vast overseas empires of the European powers were replaced by a world of nation-states, dominated by the dual superpowers of the USA and USSR. However, the process of decolonization did not mean simply the end of empire, but involved the remaking of the world in very specific and contingent ways. These included both the formation of new modes of global power and political economy, and the persistence of imperial power structures into the postcolonial world. In this course we will explore some of the big historical questions about decolonization, including the extent to which decolonization was a phenomenon unique in world history; the ways that decolonization was shaped by a broad, global array of participants, including national independence leaders and new regional powers; and the relationship between decolonization and the Cold War. One of our main concerns will be to understand the ways in which the long and complex process of decolonization created the world in which we now live, including the connections between decolonization, development, globalization and neoliberalism. We will examine these issues from various perspectives, from the high political to the intimately personal.

    Grahame Foreman received his PhD in Modern European History from UC Berkeley. He works on the history of the social sciences at the end of the British Empire--in particular how ways of understanding non-European societies were shaped by decolonization. His research and teaching interests include decolonization, the Cold War, global history, the modern European empires and intellectual history.

Course Books

Carbon Democracy by Mitchell, Timothy Verso. ISBN: 978-1-84467-745-0 Required
The Global Cold War by Westad, Odd Arne Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-0521703147 Required
Making a World After Empire by Lee, Christopher, ed. Ohio University Press. ISBN: 978-0896802773 Required
The Wretched of the Earth by Fanon, Frantz Grove Press. ISBN: 978-0802141323 Required
Crises of Empire by Thomas, Martin et al. Bloomsbury USA. ISBN: 978-0340731277 Required
The Darker Nations by Prashad, Vijay New Press. ISBN: 978-1595583420 Required
A Small Place by Kincaid, Jamaica Farrar Strauss and Giroux. ISBN: 978-0374527075 Required