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 redefinition of sovereignty, law, and belonging configured a global moment that reached even long-independent nation-states.
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