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Publications [#347173] of Prasenjit Duara

Journal Articles

  1. Duara, P, Introduction: The decolonization of Asia and Africa in the twentieth century, in Decolonization: Perspectives from Now and Then (January, 2004), pp. 1-18, ISBN 041524840x [doi]
    (last updated on 2020/09/20)

    © 2003 Prasenjit Duara. All rights reserved. From a historian’s perspective, decolonization was one of the most important political developments of the twentieth century because it turned the world into the stage of history. Until World War I, historical writing had been the work of the European conquerors that, in the words of Oswald Spengler, had made the world appear to ‘revolve around the pole of this little part-world’ that is Europe. With few exceptions, the regions outside Europe were seen to be inhabited by people without the kind of history capable of shaping the world. The process of decolonizaton, which began towards the end of World War I, was accompanied by the appearance of national historical consciousness in these regions, that is, the history, not of dynasties or the work of God/gods, but of a people as a whole. To be sure, historical writing continues to be filtered through national preoccupations, but the rapid spread of modern historical writing to most of the world also enabled us to see how happenings in one region - no matter how peripheral or advanced - were often linked to processes and events in other parts. It became possible to grasp, as did the leaders of decolonization, the entire globe as an interconnected entity for understanding and action.

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