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African Anti-colonialism in International Relations: Against the Time of Forgetting

  • Branwen Gruffydd Jones
Chapter

Abstract

One of the distinct strands of the broader international relations discourse on Africa’s “failure” is a rather contemptuous attitude toward and analysis of anti-colonialism and decolonization. Much of the mainstream scholarship about postcolonial African statehood and sovereignty implicitly and at times explicitly endorses colonial rule, if only on pragmatic grounds, apparently lamenting the rushed and ill-informed process of independence. This chapter takes up IR’s problem with time, temporality and coloniality. Part of the discipline’s problem with Africa, it suggests, is both its failure to understand the centrality of colonialism and its legacies to the making of the modern international order, and to theoretically consider colonialism and anti-colonialism, as experiences and relationships of international relations which demand serious critical reflection. Focusing specifically on Portuguese colonialism in Africa, and African anticolonial responses to it, the chapter makes two important claims: first, that it is the discipline’s dominant conceptions of time and temporality that serve to marginalize and contain the colonial experience and, second, that the thought and practice of African anti-colonialism may be understood as a radical critique and rejection of international relation’s dominant conceptions of temporality. It is only by taking these two vectors of enunciation seriously that we may begin to appreciate not only the Eurocentrism of IR but also imagine the condition of possibility for rethinking IR for Africa.

Keywords

Colonialism Time Temporality Portuguese colonialism in Africa Anti-colonialism Condition of possibility 

Notes

Acknowledgments

An earlier draft of this paper was presented at the Millennium conference, London 2016. Thanks to Zuba, fellow panelists, and members of the audience for a great discussion. Very many thanks to Zuba and Marta for being such wonderful and patient editors. Thanks to Elen Stokes, Mustapha Pasha, Rui Lopes, and Maureen Woodhall for helpful discussions. Very many thanks to Irene Alexandra Neto and the Fundação Dr. António Agostinho Neto for permission to cite the poems of Agostinho Neto. This chapter contributes to the project Amílcar Cabral, da História Política às Políticas da Memória funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (PTDC/EPH-HIS/6964/2014)

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Branwen Gruffydd Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Politics and International Relations, School of Law and PoliticsCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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