Monday, March 11, 2019

Adom Getachew's "Worldmaking after Empire"

Adom Getachew is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination, and reported the following:
From page 99:
Resolution 1514 and, more broadly, the anticolonial politics of reinventing self-determination were efforts to constitute the foundations of an anti-imperial world order—one in which colonial domination was illegitimate for the first time in modern international society, racial hierarchy was abolished, and sovereign equality extended to all member states. Far from the realization and unfolding of Westphalia, the universalization of independence and equality became possible only with European decline and was predicated on the revision and remaking of a Eurocentric international society.
Here and throughout Worldmaking after Empire, I make the case that rather than reading decolonization as the realization of an existing model of international society, we should understand it as a radical rupture that promised an egalitarian world order. Central to this argument is the view that the imperial world order was not constituted by exclusion from international society, but rather organized through processes of legal and economic unequal integration that generated a racialized and hierarchical international order. Facing with the problem of unequal integration rather than exclusion, decolonization could not be limited to securing membership in international society. Instead, it was project of founding a post-imperial world order. For anticolonial nationalists such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, and others, the universal right to self-determination, articulated in UN General Assembly Resolution 1514, was the first step in founding this world order. By conceiving of international equality as a necessary foundation for independence and self-government, the right to self-determination open the door for more expansion conceptions of sovereign equality. As the chapters that follow illustrate, anticolonial nationalists extended their commitment to equality by demanding global redistribution through the New International Economic Order.

While the most ambitious elements of anticolonial worldmaking were unrealized, returning to this history in our time can inform contemporary debates about international order. The anticolonial insight that democratic self-government depends on international guarantees of equality can inform our own projects of worldmaking.
Learn more about Worldmaking after Empire at the Princeton University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue