In September 2017, the publication an article in the journal Third World Quarterly raised considerable scandal, with many academics asking for the article to be retracted, due to its controversial argument and apparent flaws in the peer review process that led to the publication. Here you have the article’s abstract:
The case for colonialism
For the last 100 years, Western colonialism has had a bad name. It is high time to question this orthodoxy. Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found, using realistic measures of those concepts. The countries that embraced their colonial inheritance, by and large, did better than those that spurned it. Anti-colonial ideology imposed grave harms on subject peoples and continues to thwart sustained development and a fruitful encounter with modernity in many places. Colonialism can be recovered by weak and fragile states today in three ways: by reclaiming colonial modes of governance; by recolonising some areas; and by creating new Western colonies from scratch.
Do you agree that a “case of colonialism” can be made? If not, how can the views of the authors be challenged using sound arguments and historical evidence? Write a short response to the author of the article. Use what you have learned in class to problematize/challenge the author’s views. You can address 1) the effects of colonial rule per se 2) the long term legacies of colonial rule in areas such as statebuilding, democracy, gender etc. 3) current experiences of alien rule, such as international trusteeships, and their record.
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