News & events


Empires, Nations and the Third World

02 April 2009
12:15 - 13:30

Date :

02 April 2009

Time :

12:15 – 13:30

Presenters :

Professor Ivor Chipkin, Democracy and Governance, HSRC


The decolonisation of Africa from the 1950s saw the irruption on the world stage of multiple, new nation-states. Between 1951 (Libyan independence) and 1994 (the end of apartheid in South Africa), 50 states emerged.

Most dramatic were the months between January 1960 and November of the same year. In eleven months, 17 new states. By the end of 1962, France’s African Empire was in tatters. The British Empire in Africa had all but ended by 1968 – there only remained the ambiguous status of Rhodesia The white settler regime declared independence unilaterally (UDI) in 1965, though this was not recognisd by Britain, nor by the United Nations. Yet these new states were not jonny-come-latelys to a world already dominated by nation-states. The waves of decolonisation that swept the Imperial system away, constituted, for the first time, an international order composed on the model of the nation-state. In this sense, the ‘third world’ transformed Europe, not simply in that it provincialised it, but in the sense that it changed it fundamentally.

Decolonisation of Africa and Asia after the Second World War did not simply herald new states, leaving France and Britain essentially the same. It initiated the transformation of metropolitan powers into nation- states themselves.

Please RSVP by  28 March 2009




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