By Frederick Cooper
During this heavily built-in choice of essays on colonialism in international heritage, Frederick Cooper increases an important questions about strategies appropriate to quite a lot of concerns within the social sciences and arts, together with identification, globalization, and modernity. instead of painting the previous centuries because the inevitable stream from empire to geographical region, Cooper areas nationalism inside of a wider variety 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 experiences with the intention to get past the tendency within the box to target a usual colonialism positioned someday among 1492 and the Sixties and someplace within the "West." Broad-ranging, cogently argued, and with a historic concentration that strikes from Africa to South Asia to Europe, those essays, such a lot released the following for the 1st time, suggest a fuller engagement within the give-and-take of heritage, now not least within the ways that recommendations frequently attributed to Western universalism—including citizenship and equality—were outlined and reconfigured via political mobilizations in colonial contexts.
"This is a truly a lot wanted publication: on Africa, on highbrow artisanship and on engagement in emancipatory tasks. Drawing on his huge, immense erudition in colonial historical past, Cooper brings jointly an highbrow and a moral-political argument opposed to a chain of associated advancements that privilege 'taking a stance' and in want of learning methods of plow through engaged scholarship." - Jane I. Guyer, writer of Marginal Gains"
"Probably an important historian of Africa at present writing within the English language. His highbrow achieve and ambition have even taken effect a ways past African reports as such, and he has develop into one of many significant voices contributing to debates over empire, colonialism and their aftermaths. This booklet is a choice to reinvigorate the serious approach during which heritage may be written. Cooper takes on the various commonplace ideals passing as postcolonial thought and breathes clean air onto them."—Michael Watts, Director of the Institute of foreign reports, Berkeley
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Extra info for Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History
One can accept this argument without losing sight of the specificity of actual empires. If we don’t pay attention to what empires did—the marking and policing of boundaries, the design of systems of punishment and discipline, the attempt to instill awe as well as a sense of belonging in diverse populations— we will not understand any better the other ways in which powerful states act, and their limitations. Nor, if we wish to study power from “below” (or from in between), can we afford to miss the importance of making claims for resources, rights, or access on an empire on the basis of belonging—a claim that rulers of empire in certain circumstances needed to take seriously.
At the same time, most of the papers revealed relentless poverty and insecurity in African cities; they presented evidence of joblessness, which colonial officials were slow to see; they reported on low skill levels among workers and the continued presence of “large floating populations” in cities. Not only a sense of common language and a common past but the insecurities of urban life encouraged the maintenance of rural ties. 21 Among social scientists, the most influential competitor for this empirically focused, engaged form of scholarship was a more teleological, theoretically-driven vision of modernization.
23 Doing History Backward Trying to illuminate present issues is a fine motivation for exploring the past, but as one looks backward, one risks anachronism: confusing the analytic categories of the present with the native categories of the past, as if people acted in search of identity or to build a nation when such ways of thinking might not have been available to them. Even more important is what one does not see: the paths not taken, the dead ends of historical processes, the alternatives that appeared to people in their time.
Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History by Frederick Cooper