Decolonization – a History of Failure?
with John Darwin, Nuffield College, University of Oxford
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
Jefferson Room LJ-119, Jefferson Building Library of Congress
Please come to a free and open lecture featuring John Darwin, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, discussing “Decolonization – a History of Failure?” on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. in the Jefferson Room LJ-119, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, in Washington, DC.
Decolonization is widely thought of as one of the foundational processes of the modern world. An old imperial order was swept away: a new ‘world of nations’ emerged to replace it. The inviolable nature of national sovereignty, the right to self-determination and a portfolio of human rights acquired normative status as the basis of international law and practice. With all the wisdom of hindsight, statesmen, politicians and policymakers assured us in their memoirs that such was the vision that guided their actions through the ‘end of empire’. But how much of all this should we really believe? Were the statesmen really so wise and far-seeing or merely dab hands in self-interest and expediency? Is the modern world really a world of nations or (largely) the detritus of broken-down empires? Can the imprint of empire be erased from our culture(s): is it wise to try? Is a world of nations an attainable or even a desirable object? What alternative is there? There’s some room for debate.
John Darwin teaches Imperial and Global history at Oxford where he is a Fellow of Nuffield College and is the Beit University Lecturer in the History of the British Commonwealth.
The lecture is sponsored by the Kluge Center, in conjunction with the National History Center’s Sixth International Seminar on Decolonization, a four-week seminar, held at the Library of Congress. It brings together international scholars to examine various dimensions of decolonization, primarily 20th-century transitions from colonies to nations in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. The seminar is supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is cosponsored also by the American Historical Association and the Kluge Center.
The National History Center promotes research, teaching and learning in all fields of history. Created by the American Historical Association in 2002, the center is dedicated to the study and teaching of history, as well as to the advancement of historical knowledge in government, business and the public at large. For more information on the National History Center, visit nationalhistorycenter.org. Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit loc.gov/kluge.
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