Author Archives: Frederick Cooper
This post is part of a roundtable discussion on two historiographic articles by Joseph Hodge published in recent issues of Humanity. For more about the roundtable and all currently available posts please see this page. Joseph Hodge offers us a richly detailed analysis of the making of a new academic subfield, anthropological and historical studies of development. Students will be mining his footnotes for years to come, and they will appreciate the intelligent—and sometimes severe—critiques he presents of the literature whose influence he has made Continue reading →
Afterword: Social Rights and Human Rights in the Time of Decolonization
Concluding this collection, Cooper places the question of social and human rights in the context of the acute uncertainty about world politics in the years after World War II. Not least of the questions was the unit in which rights could be claimed: nation-state, empire, humanity as a whole. That issue was particularly open in the years after 1945 because of struggles over colonialism. Could the expanding notion of social rights in postwar England and France be confined to the metropole, especially as colonial powers needed to redefine their basis of legitimacy and as social and political movements in Africa were asserting political voice? Political movements in the colonies were not necessarily focused on independence, but on the right to claim rights—social as well as political—in an imperial polity. The locus of rights, as well as their contents, have remained in question ever since.