ISRF Book Launch: 'The End of Empires and a World Remade'

A book launch & conversation with Martin Thomas, author of ‘The End of Empires and a World Remade’. Hosted by Lars Cornelissen.

Was the twentieth-century collapse of European colonialism as definitive as it is often portrayed? How can we do justice to the historical complexity of decolonization while maintaining a broad global perspective?

In The End of Empires and World Remade: A Global History of Decolonization, Professor Martin Thomas brings together perspectives from global history, comparative politics, and international relations to re-evaluate decolonization in all of its historical messiness.

Professor Thomas argues that decolonization was less a transition of sovereignty from colonizer to colonized than a global, often violent process that saw the emergence of new international coalitions, triggered partitions and wars, and reshaped North-South dynamics. It energized different ideas of belonging and transnational connection, of sovereignty and independence, and of the struggles necessary to achieve them. Late colonial conflicts spurred other connections as the colonized ‘weak’ built transnational networks of support to overcome the military and economic advantages of ‘strong’ imperial overseers. The counterinsurgencies that followed left empires shamed and morally disarmed, while, at the same time, decolonization and its violence reshaped globalization just as globalization conditioned decolonization.

Martin will be joined by two panelists: Tarak Barkawi, Professor in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University and the author of Soldiers of Empire: Indian and British Armies in World War II (Cambridge, 2017), and Natalya Benkhaled-Vince, Associate Professor in Modern History at the University of Oxford and the author of The Algerian War, the Algerian Revolution (Palgrave, 2020). A Q&A will follow, moderated by Lars Cornelissen, ISRF Academic Editor.