Colonial Conflict, Normative Violence and Human Rights (HISM177)

30 credits

In this module you will undertake a comparative study of the collapse of French, British, Portuguese and Belgian colonial control in the late twentieth century. You will investigates the political, social and economic origins of decolonisation, the impact of World War on the European colonial systems, emerging international rights discourses, and the rise of indigenous nationalist movements in the colonial societies studied. Issues of causation and agency in decolonisation will be investigated through a number of colonial case studies. By comparing individual colonial states and conflicts, you will explore the meanings attached to managed decolonisation, constructive nationalism, liberation struggles, transfers of power, human rights and neo-colonialism. To this end the module assesses the relative importance of external pressures such as the development of the Cold War, the power of the United Nations as an interventionist agency, and the emergence of the non-aligned movement of former colonial states. It further considers the significance of internal dynamics in late colonial societies such as racial exclusion, urbanisation, and the emergence of organised labour movements.