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The Stars Are Not For Man

Kubrick wanted to film it, but couldn't get the option - so chose second-best for 2001. It is an epic novel of hope and wonder that ends with the destruction of humanity and the Earth. It could only have been written by a Brit living in the heady mix of progress and failing Empire that suffused the post-war UK. It has cardboard characters and meandering intermissions, mysticism and hard SF: in short, it's one of the best things Arthur Clarke ever wrote and a true classic of the genre. Now, sixty years after it first appeared, Childhood's End is finally set for our screens. [more inside]
posted by Devonian on Sep 8, 2014 - 118 comments

"Europa Universalis IV is The Best Genocide Simulator of The Year"

When you finally get a ship over to North America, you’ll notice that things look a little different. Europe is crammed cheek to jowl with minor duchies and single-province powers, at least in the early game. There is no square inch of territory unaccounted for. But when you get to the Americas, you’ll see a lot of “empty” territory. The provinces and territories that are not claimed by any power or nation can be colonized.
April Daniels was thoroughly enjoying the ruthless imperialistic stylings of Europa Universalis IV, until the game took her out of Europe and into a somewhat problematic implementation of colonialism.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 7, 2014 - 89 comments

A beacon of conscience in Australia's capital

Featured in the Australian literary journal Meanjin, Restless Indigenous Remains is a Paul Daley essay on how the Australian government's National Museum handles the remains of Indigenous people accumulated during Australia's colonial period. An engaging, thoughtful and sobering piece, it covers the history of 'remains collection' in Australia, as well as the current debate concerning whether the Indigenous defenders against colonial expansion should be recognized by the Australian War Memorial.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Aug 6, 2014 - 6 comments

We had to sell and no one in Europe wanted to buy

"Maybe Angola will colonise us now," says Vasco Lourenço, the head of Associação 25 de Abril, an organisation that is trying to preserve the spirit of the 1974 revolution. Forty years ago he was one of the young army officers who took up arms to end the Salazar dictatorship and colonial wars.
While Portugal is still in the throws of recession, Angola is booming and investing heavily in its old colonial ruler. Now Portugal is struggling with the effects of this investment and the implications it brings with it.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 13, 2014 - 17 comments

Bread riots were as rare as the prized Semper Augustus tulip

The Austerity Kitchen (previously) on the Dutch abundance of the 17th Century
posted by The Whelk on May 31, 2014 - 7 comments

Does telling history honestly justify resurrecting human zoos?

As part of the bicentennial celebrations of the constitution of Norway, two artists are recreating the "human zoo" featured at the 1914 Oslo World Fair. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on May 2, 2014 - 22 comments

The Ket had seven souls, unlike animals, who had only one.

The Ket from the Lake Munduiskoye (2008, 30 min.) The Ket people are an indigenous group in central Siberia whose population has numbered less than two thousand during the past century. Although mostly assimilated into the dominant Russian culture at this point, a couple hundred of them are still able to speak the Ket language, the last remaining member of the Yeniseian language group. Recent scholarship has proposed a link between Ket and some Native American language groups.
posted by XMLicious on Apr 16, 2014 - 7 comments

Zombies are savages, the ultimate "other".

Zombies occupy a variety of liminal spaces wherein contemporary social tensions are reflected and refracted. These tensions, however, have historical and ongoing parallels with images of "Indians." Zombies reveal societal ambivalence about race, class, gender, ethnicity, political power, agency, and other aspects of social reproduction. In other words, zombies touch upon all the anxieties commonly associated with colonialism.
If you only watch one hour-long lecture on the Anthropology of Zombies today, then make it this one by Native American scholar Chad Uran.
posted by Rumple on Mar 4, 2014 - 71 comments

In honour of Loretta

26 year-old Inuk woman Loretta Saunders was working on an Honours thesis studying the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women of Canada. Her supervisor called her proposal "the most beautifully written and cared-for assignment I had ever read in seven years of university teaching." Two weeks ago, Loretta disappeared and fell out of contact with family and friends. Yesterday police confirmed that her body had been found in the median of the Trans-Canada Highway. Her disappearance is now being treated as a homicide. [more inside]
posted by Catchfire on Feb 27, 2014 - 90 comments

The Bonfire of Empire

The marking "DG" was said to be an abbreviation of deputy governor, but in fact was a protective code word to indicate that papers so marked were for sight by "British officers of European descent only". -- Before withdrawing from its colonies, UK colonial officials made certain to destroy any papers that "might embarrass Her Majesty's [the] government", that could "embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants or others eg police informers", that might betray intelligence sources, or that might "be used unethically by ministers in the successor government".
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 11, 2013 - 15 comments

Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has died at age 82.

"Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, acclaimed in part for his groundbreaking 1958 novel "Things Fall Apart," has died, his British publisher, Penguin Books, said Friday." Set in precolonial Nigeria, Things Fall Apart portrays the story of a farmer, Okonkwo, who struggles to preserve his customs despite pressure from British colonizers. The story resonated in post-independent Africa, and the character became a household name in the continent. [more inside]
posted by jquinby on Mar 22, 2013 - 45 comments

"Crossroads possess a certain dangerous potency."

How Things Fell Apart, By Chinua Achebe - 'In an excerpt from his long-awaited memoir, the inventor of the post-colonial African novel in English discusses his origins as a writer and the seeds of revolt against the British Empire.'
I can say that my whole artistic career was probably sparked by this tension between the Christian religion of my parents, which we followed in our home, and the retreating, older religion of my ancestors, which fortunately for me was still active outside my home. I still had access to a number of relatives who had not converted to Christianity and were called heathens by the new converts. When my parents were not watching I would often sneak off in the evenings to visit some of these relatives.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 25, 2012 - 10 comments

Border crossings and shifts

Who Draws The Borders Of Culture?(NYTimes) Cultural border, as opposed to national borders, are funny things. One country can contain many (Coke vs. Soda. Vs. Pop, previously and previously-er). Cultural borders often appear as food and drink choices, like sweet tea, forms of alcohol, or BBQ sauce. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 24, 2012 - 61 comments

The sun continues rising

The ruins of empire: Asia's emergence from western imperialism Moreover, a narcissistic history – one obsessed with western ideals, achievements, failures and challenges – can only retard a useful understanding of the world today. For most people in Europe and America, the history of the present is still largely defined by victories in the second world war and the long standoff with Soviet communism, even though the central event of the modern era, for a majority of the world's population, is the intellectual and political awakening of Asia and its emergence, still incomplete, from the ruins of both Asian and European empires. The much-heralded shift of power from the west to the east may or may not happen. But only neo-imperialist dead-enders will deny that we have edged closer to the cosmopolitan future the first generation of modern Asian thinkers, writers and leaders dreamed of – in which people from different parts of the world meet as equals rather than as masters and slaves, and no one needs to shoot elephants to confirm their supremacy.
posted by infini on Jul 29, 2012 - 19 comments

Australia Day

It's a day of high jinx, high revelry and high people in Australia; a day when a large and vocal majority come together to "celebrate what's great" about this country. But what is the meaning of all this fanfare? What is the true origin of this passionately marked day of facepaint and binge drinking? Is everyone in Australia so keen on this particular anniversary? To get to bottom of these questions, and more, join your amiable host Robert Foster [previously] as he conducts a high-octane, high-frequency satellite link-up with a representative of the Mainstream Australian media: multi-Logie award-winning broadcaster, entertainer, emu-wrangler and true blue Aussie, Kenneth Oathcarn. Rap News Episode 11: Australia Day
WARNING: contains adult Australian vernacular - viewer discretion is strongly advised.
posted by finite on Jan 25, 2012 - 12 comments

"Colonial Africa" themed wedding

An English couple weds in a Colonial Africa themed wedding in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.
posted by illenion on Jul 12, 2011 - 212 comments

"Our Shooter's A Military Man"

Emergency is a webcomic about pre-independence Kenya. Start with the first issue. [more inside]
posted by squishles on Jan 27, 2011 - 7 comments

Nollywood

Nigeria's film industry produces 50 films a week. "Nigerian films are as popular abroad as they are at home. Ivorian rebels in the bush stop fighting when a shipment of DVDs arrives from Lagos. Zambian mothers say their children talk with accents learnt from Nigerian television. When the president of Sierra Leone asked Genevieve Nnaji, a Lagosian screen goddess, to join him on the campaign trail he attracted record crowds at rallies. Millions of Africans watch Nigerian films every day, many more than see American fare. And yet Africans have mixed feelings about Nollywood."
posted by artof.mulata on Dec 29, 2010 - 10 comments

Language, culture, society and the frameworks used to define experiential reality; living a good life, pathways of decolonization

An internationally recognized Kanien'kehaka (Mohwak) intellectual and political advisor, Taiaiake Alfred is well known for his incisive critiques and groundbreaking work in the fields of Indigenous governance and political philosophy. In the past, Taiaiake has served as an advisor on land and governance and cultural restoration issues for many indigenous governments and organizations, and he has authored several important books including Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom and Peace, Power, Righteousness. Currently, Taiaiake serves as a Professor of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria. Recorded March 23, 2009 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, University of Victoria Professor of Indigenous Governance; a broad, deep, and beautiful discussion of pathways toward the future for indigenous people, Gerald Taiaiake Alfred talks about the “Resurgence of Traditional Ways of Being: Indigenous Paths of Action and Freedom” [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Oct 26, 2010 - 14 comments

Australian history through objects

Objects Through Time tells the story of immigration and the changing ethnic diversity of New South Wales, Australia through "movable heritage" - that is, artifacts and objects with historical resonance. While almost ignoring 50,000 years of aboriginal occupation, the site does a nice job of both familiar topics through a fresh lens (e.g., Captain Cook's "secret instructions"), but also takes pains to look at those lesser known topics which may be more accessible through material culture than through texts. [more inside]
posted by Rumple on Sep 14, 2010 - 7 comments

The storm in a designer teacup

Bruce Nussbaum kicked off a minor hubbub in designa circles this week with his provocative article "Is Humanitarian Design the new Imperialism?" which led to this response by Frogdesign's Robert Fabricant "In Defense of Design Imperialism" and WorldChanging's Alex Steffen's "The Problem with Design: Imperialism or thinking too small?" and finally a whole slew of blog posts, opinions and commentary artfully collated here by the editors of Design Observer. But the question still remains unanswered...
posted by infini on Jul 17, 2010 - 85 comments

In To Africa

A Glimpse of the World
All across Africa, new tracks are being laid, highways built, ports deepened, commercial contracts signed -- all on an unprecedented scale, and led by China, whose appetite for commodities seems insatiable. Do China's grand designs promise the transformation, at last, of a star-crossed continent? Or merely its exploitation? The author travels deep into the heart of Africa, searching for answers. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 26, 2010 - 20 comments

Latin American Science

History of Science in Latin America and the Caribbean [flash required] – the history of science from a Latin American perspective.
posted by tellurian on Sep 2, 2009 - 6 comments

Isla del encanto?

With all the dust that's been* riled up by Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor (previously), everyone is suddenly taking an interest in Puerto Rico. A basic question that may come up is why we're there in the first place. Understanding that, we can see how the complicated relationship has played out between Puerto Rico, the US, and, most recently, the United Nations. Although the UN has urged the US to take steps towards establishing Puerto Rico's sovereignty, referendums held on the island have overwhelmingly preferred the status quo and the US has been indifferent at best. But independence activists, after a twenty-year decline, may be on the rise. The island's current governor, Luis Fortuño, is pro-statehood. But the whole issue has taken a back seat since plans have been made to fire 30,000 government workers, privatize some public services, and sell some the the government's US$3.2 billion debt. [more inside]
posted by krikkit261 on Jun 10, 2009 - 26 comments

Nothing To Do With Wonder Woman

"Percy Harrison Fawcett ... convinced himself, based on a mix of archival research, deduction and clairvoyance, that a large undiscovered city lay hidden somewhere in the Amazon" Greg Grandin of The Nation talks about the allure of the Amazon in history and the repeated attempts made to domesticate, colonize, control, or explore it. previous discussion of failed Amazon ventures here ( via )
posted by The Whelk on Mar 31, 2009 - 21 comments

Daewoo to Buy Madagascar

Korea blog the Marmot's Hole reports on the crisis in Madagascar: Madagascar’s defense minister has resigned after security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters Saturday (in late January), killing 28. More than 100 have been killed since anti-government protests began two weeks ago. And what may have been the impetus for the protests? The final straw for many was the mooted plan to lease one million acres in the south of the country to the Korean firm Daewoo for intensive farming. Malagasy people have deep ties with their land and this was seen by many as a betrayal by their president. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Mar 15, 2009 - 18 comments

Britain's torture of Obama's grandfather

The Mau Mau rebellion against British rule in Kenya lasted from 1952 to 1960. Although there were atrocities on both sides, there has been a movement in Kenya to claim compensation from the British government for their actions. Obama's grandfather took part in the uprising (some have labelled him an "insurgent") and was captured and brutally tortured by the British. [more inside]
posted by jonesor on Dec 3, 2008 - 21 comments

China Colonizing Africa With Dire Consequences for Africans

China is making a concerted effort to colonize Africa with dire consequences for Africans. In protest to China's involvement in Darfur's genocide, Steven Spielberg has resigned as Artistic Director of the Beijing Olympics.
posted by MetaMan on Jul 19, 2008 - 98 comments

Terrorism or fearmongering?

Tame Iti, Maori activist, is no stranger to controversy - with his full facial moko he has a face you won't soon forget. But is he a terrorist? Recently, the New Zealand Police force carried out a series of "raids" against a "training camp" in the north island, in the first use of the Terrorism Suppression Act, legislated in 2002. The act itself is not without it's critics but the country seems divided about the raids. Deluded extremists? Harmless Activist? or Real Threat? Some have claimed the raids are politically motivated, enacted by a police force with a declining public image. The whole case is racially loaded [more inside]
posted by Dillonlikescookies on Oct 16, 2007 - 17 comments

Regime change for the Big Orange.

Hear our demands: give us back New York. Just think of the possibilities! Join the struggle. Or else.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Apr 1, 2007 - 35 comments

Child migrants

A moving, four-part audio documentary tells the story of as many as 150,000 children of the British poor, sent to populate Australia, Canada, and other colonies with "good, white stock".
posted by serazin on Feb 1, 2007 - 5 comments

This will end badly

Compassionate Slavery. A representative of the World Trade Organization proposes foreign corporate "stewardship" of workers in Africa from the moment they are hired until they die, describing it as "the best available solution to African poverty, and the inevitable result of free-market theory".
posted by Pastabagel on Nov 14, 2006 - 24 comments

Echoes of the past.

Democratic presidential candidate rails against US imperialism. "The platform . . . condemns the experiment in imperialism as an inexcusable blunder, which has involved us in enormous expense, brought us weakness instead of strength, and laid our nation open to the charge of abandoning the fundamental principles of a republic."
A prominent American author who initially supported the conflict, changed his mind, calling it "a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater.” The US is “the kind of World Power . . . that a prairie-dog village is . . . it is the duty of our Government to stand sentinel, with solemn mien, and lifted nose, and curved paws, on top of our little World-Power mound.”
posted by insomnia_lj on Mar 20, 2006 - 25 comments

Must France stay in Algeria

It all comes down do one question: Must France stay in Algeria? “If the answer is yes,” he says, “then you must accept the consequences.”
Gillo Pontecorvo's "The Battle of Algiers", now out on a Criterion dvd, is a film of quiet, overwhelming power. The mix of subjective and documentary techniques holds the viewer's trust so authoritatively that many scenes come close to sneaking out of the mental "movies I saw" box to mix with the viewer's own memories. No matter how complicated or fragmented the action becomes, Pontecorvo gets the pace, tone and rhythm exactly right, filling the screen with eloquent details.
(Last year, Pontecorvo's masterpiece was discussed here, too. More inside)
posted by matteo on Nov 3, 2004 - 9 comments

B'Tselem's Map of Jewish Settlements in the West Bank

B'Tselem's Map of Jewish Settlements in the West Bank is an incredible graphic. It'sa 612 KB jpeg but the PDF, which is 1,609 KB has even more amazing detail. Here is the directory for all their images and maps. As you can see, it is quite comprehensive. Here is the Full Fence Mag in English, for instance. Again, the PDF is even more detailed. Here is the summary of B'Tselem's May 2002 report Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank. The report is to the summary as the PDF is to the jpeg.
B'Tselem is The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.   Warning: While the pages linked are in English, the site itself is bi-lingual, so expect many a prompt for a Hebrew text download.
posted by y2karl on Sep 3, 2004 - 20 comments

Anti-British Feeling In The United States

Kick A Brit In The Nuts: We've heard enough about anti-Americanism. What about anti-British feeling? Check out the USian website. Is there still a lingering, post-colonial resentment in the U.S., Australia and South Africa? Why not, apparently, in Canada or New Zealand? Is it anti-British, i.e. including the Scots and the Welsh, or just anti-English? Finally, is Usian the best collective noun for citizens of the U.S.A.? Will American eventually become politically incorrect, even though no one calls a Canadian an American? Sorry about so many questions. Me confused European!
posted by MiguelCardoso on Sep 16, 2003 - 64 comments

Post-colonial African blues

Getting The Hell Out Of Africa: An excellent article by R.W. Johnson describes the forces now driving out many African whites and quietly despairs. Post-colonial blues are sad and riddled with guilt and lost hopes. How far does collective guilt impinge on the individual? What if there is no guilt at all? What is the white man and woman's place in 21st Century Africa? I wonder whether it isn't still too early to think clearly about the many delicate issues involved. But then an all-black Africa wouldn't be Africa. Would it?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jun 25, 2003 - 18 comments

Human Zoos and Don'ts

In the late 19th and early 20th century, at a time that might be considered the height of colonial exploitation, the regrettable spectacle of human zoos swept through America and Europe. Two of the most popular victims of these ethnological exhibits were Ota Benga, a four-foot-eleven African pygmy with filed teeth, who was successfully (and fraudulently) billed as a wild cannibal, and Saartjie Baartman, a Khoisan slave woman who was exhibited naked in the streets of Paris and London for the public to examine her so-called 'Hottentot apron'.
posted by dgaicun on Dec 9, 2002 - 49 comments

Africa.

Africa. Whether you think of it as The Heart Of Darkness, the Dark Continent, or as an ecological laboratory, Africa is ultimately home to us all. But Sub-Saharan Africa is in peril of spiraling into chaos: the scourge of AIDS, near-continuous unrest, and a lamentable inability of most African countries to maintain anything like a modern civil society are precursors to what might become a humanitarian catastrophe unlike anything we have ever witnessed. Do we still blame the ghosts of colonialism for this, or is it time for Africans to take the responsibility for their own problems?
posted by mrmanley on Dec 6, 2002 - 35 comments

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