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Reclaiming history: Dehumanization and the failure of decolonization

Boucher, David ORCID: 2019. Reclaiming history: Dehumanization and the failure of decolonization. International Journal of Social Economics 46 (11) , pp. 1250-1263. 10.1108/IJSE-03-2019-0151

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Two events served to accelerate and accentuate the process of decolonization. First, the rise of Fascism and Nazism in Europe leading to the Second World War, and the establishment of the United Nations and its emphasis on human rights. Both of which served to heighten the sense of injustice felt by colonised peoples who had themselves been denied the rights that Europeans fought the Nazi’s to preserve, and which were, emboldened in the UN Charter. Using the writings of some of the foremost anti-colonial national liberation theorists and activists of Antilles and African origin this paper seeks to demonstrate the disingenuousness of western European powers in their championing of human rights, while at the same time they denied the very humanity of the peoples in their colonies. One of the ways in which such rights were denied was to take control of the historical narrative of the colonies, portraying them as barbaric, backward and savage, awaiting the arrival of Europeans to precipitate their emergence from the dark ages. Although Marx was a source of inspiration in the liberation struggles his theory, for protagonists, was deficient in theorising colonialist race and racism, and was as guilty as the colonizers in denying African history. The history of Africa, for him, was a mere extension of European history. However, decolonization, far from delivering liberation, merely heralded neo-colonialism, namely, the collaboration and complicity of native elites in perpetuating the structures and historical narratives of colonialism which persist in contemporary debates that demand the decolonization of the mind.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Cardiff Law & Politics
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 0306-8293
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 July 2019
Date of Acceptance: 22 June 2019
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 20:20

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