A Political History of Self-Determination in Adom Getachew's Worldmaking after Empire


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In this episode we interview Dr. Adom Getachew. Getachew is a political theorist with research interests in the history of political thought, theories of race and empire, and postcolonial political theory. Her work focuses on the intellectual and political histories of Africa and the Caribbean.

In this episode we discuss her 2019 book Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination. In discussion she shares with us the historical development of the concept of Self-Determination and its relationship to anti-colonial movements as well as imperial projects. She touches on the work of George Padmore, CLR James, W.E.B. Du Bois, Eric Williams, Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Julius Nyerere, Michael Manley and others.

Getachew shares contradictions within the concept of self-determination and how the worldmaking visions of anti-colonial nationalists attempted to repurpose institutions like the United Nations. She also discusses the elasticity of empire, and contradictions that arose in the late 1970’s which precipitated the decline of these worldmaking projects, and the onslaught of the global neoliberal order.

Finally we discuss her concept of “unequal integration” and the modern institutional language of diversity, equity & inclusion.

94 episodes