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History after HobsbawmWriting the Past for the Twenty-First Century$
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John H. Arnold, Matthew Hilton, and Jan Rüger

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198768784.001.0001

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Decolonization as Tragedy?

Decolonization as Tragedy?

(p.96) 6 Decolonization as Tragedy?
History after Hobsbawm

Bill Schwarz

Oxford University Press

This chapter tracks what is at stake in the various competing ways of understanding the period that marked the collapse of the European colonial empires: decolonization, the postcolonial, and globalization. In doing so it endeavours to draw out into the open the manner in which the end of colonial rule was articulated with the shift to the neoliberal age. The chapter addresses the interplay between our understanding of decolonization in optimistic terms, as a resource for the future in which new lives can be imagined, and our understanding of it as a fateful history, which generated so many dashed hopes that it is best grasped as tragedy. After all the depredations of our contemporary global South, what now of the promise of the end of colonial rule?

Keywords:   decolonization, empire, globalization, postcolonial, tragedy

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