Human Rights, Revolutionary Humanitarianism, and African Liberation in 1970: Unsettling Discontinuities in Human Rights History

Abstract: This is the story of the Comité International de la Défense d’Ernest Ouandié (CIDEO), established in Paris 1970 to prevent the execution of Ernest Ouandié, commander of the underground liberation army in Cameroon. Comprised of lawyers, intellectuals, and clergy, the committee framed its defense of the African revolutionary in human rights terms, portraying the Cameroonian legal system as non-compliant with its constitutional commitment to human rights, and appealing globally for clemency once he was sentenced to death. CIDEO’s human rights strategy shows the shifting Continue reading → Continue reading →

The Jurisprudence of Decolonization: The Postcolonial Career of D. N. Pritt and the Labor of Insurgent Lawyering

Abstract: Following the postcolonial career of the British lawyer, Denis Nowell Pritt across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, this article excavates the largely unheralded ways insurgent lawyers representing anti-colonial and opposition movements across the decolonizing British Empire developed a toolbox of shared legal strategies, techniques and precedents to resist and transform colonial legal inheritances. Shifting from histories of international treaties and national legislation to the labor and practice of lawyering makes visible a transnational jurisprudence of decolonization s produced before local courts in Guyana, India, Continue reading → Continue reading →

Learning from Dar es Salaam: Harvard’s “Project Tanganyika” and a Nodal Perspective on Decolonization’s Itineraries

Abstract: This article traces the history of Harvard’s “Project Tanganyika” and its encounter with Dar es Salaam’s burgeoning community of Southern African political exiles. An unsung predecessor to Kennedy’s Peace Corps, Project Tanganyika began in 1961 amidst a Harvard campus reckoning with issues of race, civil rights and global decolonization. Sending groups of mostly white undergraduates to Dar es Salaam as volunteer teachers, the Project would become uncannily central to the city’s emerging fame as a haven for leftwing exiles and fellow-travelers. For many Project Continue reading → Continue reading →

The Limits of Pharmaceutical Internationalism: Mexico, the Third World, and the Resource of Medicinal Plants in the 1970s

Abstract: In the 1970s, research into traditional medicine helped suture solidarity between Mexico and the Third World. The Mexican national agency for traditional medicine research convened a meeting of researchers in the same field from Africa, Asia, and Latin America as well as the World Health Organization and Organization of African Unity in 1977 in Mexico City. Transcripts from their discussions demonstrate how parallel conversations about decolonizing global health and the global economy converged around revalorizing medicinal plants as the basis for sovereignty and development. Continue reading → Continue reading →

Decolonizing the Sky: Global Air Travel at the End of Empire

Abstract: Drawing on a range of case studies from the French and British empires, this article argues that the expansion of global air travel in the second half of the twentieth century was intimately bound up with the decolonization process. These intersections crystallized mid-century as an increasingly diverse group of travelers took to the skies, forcing colonial authorities to reckon with ongoing segregation on the ground. After independence, air travel and tourism offered new states an opportunity to craft national identities and forge transnational solidarities. Continue reading → Continue reading →

Sovereignty Beyond Decolonization: Post-Imperial British Policing and Colombian Criminal Justice, c. 1960–1975

Abstract: This article examines the trajectories of British intelligence officer Eric T.D. Lambert and an incarcerated Afro-Colombian named Germán Angulo, whose intersecting stories reveal the post-imperial displacement of expertise in the 1960s, as well as the features of societies that imperial expertise misses: social/racial hierarchies and the nature of the politics that sustain them. The tension between British post-imperialism liberalism and Colombian ideologies of “racial democracy,” on the one hand, and the lived reality of race in carceral institutions on the other, demonstrates how decolonization’s Continue reading → Continue reading →

Global History and Decolonization: A Moment of Possibility, a Call for Integration

Abstract: This introduction surveys recent scholarship that examines decolonization in a global frame. While doing so, it contends that a paradox defines the current state of the field. Many historians have broached the topic of decolonization and highlighted its salience in world history. Yet, the history of decolonization has been an undertheorized topic of study in the field of global history. Few scholars have articulated the potential contribution of global history with respect to historicizing the global ends of empire. This introduction amends this historiographical Continue reading → Continue reading →

The “Unwilling or Unable” Doctrine and the Political Economy of the War on Terror

Abstract: The ‘unwilling or unable’ doctrine is amongst the most contested in contemporary international law. However, this paper is not concerned with whether ‘unwilling or unable’ accurately reflects the international law of self-defense and force. Rather, drawing from critical security studies, especially those strands that study the relationship between the war on terror, and capitalist accumulation, and critical political economy this paper examines the forms of political economy and statehood implicit in the doctrine. The article argues two things: first, the doctrine envisages a gradated Continue reading → Continue reading →

Force-Feeding and “The Right to Maim”: Hunger Strikes at Guantánamo Bay

Abstract: This article explores how “involuntary enteral feeding” at the Joint Task Force – Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) allows for the United States to thwart the hunger striking protests of detainees resisting grave mistreatment and unlawful incarceration. Involuntary enteral feeding, also referred to as force-feeding in this article, is presented in the JTF-GTMO’s standard operating procedure as a necessary medical intervention used to rescue the frail hunger striker, but in fact uses excessive violence and causes further injury to the ailing detainee. This purportedly lifesaving protocol enables Continue reading → Continue reading →