Radical Histories of Decolonization – Due January 8, 2024

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Radical Histories of Decolonization

A Call for Proposals from the Radical History Review
Issue number 153
Abstract Deadline: January 8, 2024
Co-Edited by Manan Ahmed, Marissa Moorman, Jecca Namakkal, Golnar Nikpour

Radical History Review seeks contributions for a special issue entitled “Radical Histories of Decolonization.”

Historians have tended to treat decolonization as an event that began in the 1940s and ended by the late 1970s, primarily confined to large areas of Asia and Africa, though scholars of global Indigenous histories offer a deeper and unfinished timeline. Many activists today use the term to discuss a still-present need to end colonial institutions, from settler colonial occupation in places as widespread as Turtle Island (North America), Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, Palestine, and Aotearoa (New Zealand), to the hegemony of Western thought in university curricula, to the possession of art and artifacts expropriated from the colonies and displayed in museums in major cities such as New York, London, and Paris. The term “decolonization” has come to mean many things, some limited, and others expansive.

This issue of the Radical History Review seeks to explore the genealogy of decolonization as a category of analysis and how people have dreamed and enacted decolonization in past and present. We are interested in work that reconsiders how decolonization has occurred—as both success and  failure—throughout history, including in geographic areas that fall outside of the twentieth-century paradigm including Haiti and many parts of Latin America that press into the twenty-first century. We are interested in questions of how the colonized in overseas colonies, settler colonies, and informal colonies understood decolonization across different times and spaces. While the works of individual thinkers (Fanon, Cabral, Césaire, Nehru, Ho Chi Minh) tend to dominate histories of decolonization, we ask how people on the ground who are often left out of the story—including but not limited to women, soldiers, and ethnic and linguistic minorities—challenged colonial power and the dominant parties fighting for sovereignty. This issue aims to center the work of scholars, activists, and archives that lay outside of Western institutions.

Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

  • While the etymology of decolonization begins in the nineteenth century, how is it useful for historians of the ancient or medieval worlds to work with this concept?
  • What happens when anti-colonial movements have interacted with and taken up imperial imaginaries of an idealized pre-colonial past?
  • How have people across the political spectrum interpreted (and perhaps instrumentalized) decolonization differently?
  • Where does the concept of Indigeneity fit into histories of decolonization?
  • Is decolonization a concept that can be understood universally? Or does it always need to be rooted in local struggles?
  • What does history tell us about the relationship between decolonization and sovereignty?
  • How do we understand the rise of religious, social, and political movements in the context of decolonization?
  • How does the framework of decolonization work (or not work) in contexts of informal colonial or “semi-colonial” relations?
  • Does decolonization mean the end of empire and/or has decolonization meant the end of empire? Historically, how have colonized subjects imagined and attempted to enact an end to empires?
  • How does decolonization work as a language outside of the context of Western European imperialism (i.e. Japanese empire, Russian empire)?

The RHR publishes material in a variety of forms. Potential contributors are encouraged to look at recent issues for examples of both conventional and non-conventional forms of scholarship. We are especially interested in submissions that use images as well as texts and encourage materials with strong visual content. In addition to monographic articles based on archival research, we encourage submissions to our various departments, including:

  • Historians at Work (reflective essays by practitioners in academic and non-academic settings that engage with questions of professional practice)
  • Teaching Radical History (syllabi and commentary on teaching)
  • Public History (essays on historical commemoration and the politics of the past)
  • Interviews (proposals for interviews with scholars, activists, and others)
  • (Re)Views (review essays on history in all media—print, film, and digital)
  • Reflections (Short critical commentaries)
  • Forums (debates and discussions)

Procedures for submission of articles:

By January 8, 2024, please submit a 1-2 page abstract summarizing the article you wish to submit to our online journal management system, ScholarOne. To begin with ScholarOne, sign in or create an account at https://mc04.manuscriptcentral.com/dup-rhr. Next, sign in, select “Author” from the menu up top, and click “Begin Submission” or “Start New Submission.” Upload a Word or PDF document, including any images within the document. After uploading your file, select “Proposal” as the submission type and follow the on-screen instructions. Please write to contactrhr@gmail.com if you encounter any technical difficulties.

By February 29, 2024, authors will be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article for peer review. The due date for completed articles will be in June, 2024. Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 153 of the Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in October, 2025.

Abstract Deadline: January 8, 2024

Contact: contactrhr@gmail.com