by Thomas Benjamin and Dennis R. Hidalgo

Western colonialism has engendered anticolonialism from the beginning of the age of European expansion. All empires, in fact, have provoked local and indigenous defiance, backlashes, and resistance throughout human history. The conquest, domination, exploitation, and rule of neighboring and distant peoples and their lands by a powerful and often alien polity, by their very nature, has time and again produced many different kinds of challenges, opposition, and violence.

A Protest Against Globalization, Colonialism, and the United States. An antiglobalization protestor marches in Paris in November 2003 during the annual European Social Forum.

A Protest Against Globalization, Colonialism, and the United States. An antiglobalization protestor marches in Paris in November 2003 during the annual European Social Forum. © Antoine Serra/in Visu/Corbis. Reproduced by Permission.

Beginning in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the overseas colonies of western Europe met resistance, and created resistance, by the native peoples in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific. Indigenous opposition and resistance, however, were rarely a simple matter of non-Europeans rejecting European governance, order, or culture. Overseas imperialism and colonialism also produced a tradition of intellectual critique, criticism, and condemnation within the West itself. Western anticolonialism was based upon various and evolving objections, stemming from moral, religious, humanitarian, economic, and political concerns and interests.

The immigrant settlers of Europe’s overseas colonies in time developed their own anticolonial critiques that led, in the Americas most particularly, to resistance, rebellion, and revolutions creating independent states. Anticolonialism contributed to, and was a product of, nationalism and the struggles to create new identities for the peoples of Europe’s overseas colonies. Indeed, true anticolonialism—that is, the theoretical and active resistance to colonial rule with the objective of overthrowing imperial control and establishing independent, national states—became nearly indistinguishable from nationalism in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia by the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

There are a number of entries devoted to anticolonialism and indigenous and settler nationalist and independence movements in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific in this encyclopedia. There are, as well, several entries that describe and analyze Western thought regarding colonialism. This entry, as a result, does not retrace all of these historical developments, nor does it reconsider the history or historiography of anticolonial thought. Although this entry presents no all-embracing theory to explain anticolonialism, it does identify, describe, and classify the broad patterns of anti-Western anticolonialism of the past five hundred years in an effort to translate an extraordinarily complex historical phenomenon into an understandable and useful analysis.

Although anticolonial thought and action has existed for many centuries, indeed, for millennia, the concept “anticolonialism” is quite recent. The word colonialism did not appear in an English dictionary until the mid-nineteenth century. Although theorists in the past have emphasized the difference between colonialism and imperialism, writers and even historians today often use these concepts interchangeably. Following the lead of political scientist David Abernethy, empireis defined as a state (metropole) that dominates and legally possesses one or more territories beyond its boundaries (colonies). Imperialism refers to the process of expansion and conquest necessary in the construction of an empire. The territories seized, dominated, and possessed by the imperial state are colonies. “Colonialism,” writes Abernethy, “is the set of formal policies, informal practices, and ideologies employed by a metropole to retain control of a colony and to benefit from control” (2000, p. 22). Anticolonialism is a broad concept that includes every kind of opposition—from political thought to popular violence—against imperialism and colonialism.

Defiance, opposition, and resistance to European expansion, conquest, and colonization by indigenous communities, organized groups, disparate “mobs,” states and empires, and slaves took different forms and sought different outcomes. The most significant and widespread kinds of indigenous resistance over the five centuries of Western colonialism were the following:

  1. Preexisting indigenous polities, states, and empires used violence to defend their people, land, autonomy, and power against Western expansion.
  2. Popular nativist uprisings were often violent reactions to the interference by, or imposition of, Western colonists, institutions, and customs, which often came in the form of militant or missionary Christianity.
  3. African and Creole slaves revolted against, primarily, the plantation and the master class.
  4. In all colonies, protest uprisings and movements appeared to highlight colonial injustice, and often specific abuses and impositions, in order to provoke concessions, reform, and improvements. These ameliorative protest uprisings and movements challenged colonial regimes but did not attempt to destroy or defeat them.
  5. State builders, often nationalists or nationalist movements, organized violence against colonial regimes to defeat them and create new states governed by leaders from the majority indigenous population.
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla

Posada, José Guadalupe (1852-1913) – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs

When historians examine specific uprisings, revolts, rebellions, and insurrections, the artificial boundaries of these categories begin to bend and collapse. The Hidalgo Revolt (1810–1811) in central Mexico was a popular nativist uprising against “whites” and the wealthy, but it was also a genuinely anticolonial—that is, antiSpanish—rebellion intended to establish Spanish American and popular self-government in Mexico, if not an independent nation-state in time. There were, of course, many more kinds of indigenous resistance to Western colonialism, both violent and nonviolent, than the five described above. These five forms of resistance, however, represent the basic models that dominated the non-Western responses to Western colonialism.

In most parts of the world, the expansion of European empires came into direct conflict with existing indigenous states and empires. The Spanish defeat of the armies of the Inca Empire and the occupation of the imperial capital of Cuzco in 1536 was the beginning, not the end, of serious organized resistance to Spanish encroachment in the central Andes. Less than a year later, a massive Inca rebellion besieged the Spaniards in Cuzco and attacked them in Lima. Although the siege was broken, in 1538 the defiant Inca leader Manco Inca had two armies in the field and had organized local rebellions across the Andes. The Inca army in the northern Sierra fought the Spaniards for eight years. Manco Inca and his successors retreated to the remote eastern Andean site of Vilcabamba and defended the restored neo-Inca state until 1572.

In southern Africa, the expansionist Zulu kingdom and empire came into conflict with Dutch colonists (Boers), and then the British colonial state, in the nineteenth century. For more than fifty years the Zulu fought the Boers and the British until their defeat and “conquest” in 1879. The Zulu, nevertheless, rose in rebellion in 1906.

A quite distinct and more widespread form of resistance was nativist uprisings, popular indigenous reactions against colonial exploitation and the imposition of Western culture, religion, and governance. The Tzeltal Revolt of 1712, a Maya uprising against the Spanish in southern Mexico, aimed to kill or drive out of the province all Spaniards, mestizos, and mulattos and establish a new Indian Catholic society and kingdom. The Indian Revolt of 1857 in India and the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 were popular explosions of violence against Christian missionaries, local converts and collaborators, and “foreign devils” in general.

Slave revolts in the Atlantic world from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century—violent uprisings by enslaved Africans for many centuries and, later, by Creole AfricanAmericans—attacked one of the most important economic institutions and social systems erected by Western colonialism. In the numerous assaults against the plantation system and its masters, and against the degrading, exploitive, and violent slave system itself, African and Creole slaves attacked colonialism or colonial rule indirectly and inadvertently. Rebel slaves used violence to respond to violence and injustice. Rebels sought revenge, escape, return to Africa, the creation of a new society, and, occasionally, the extermination of the slave-owners and their like.

Wolof slaves revolted against the Spanish in Hispaniola in 1521. Across the Atlantic, a slave revolt beginning around 1544 in the Portuguese island colony of São Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea produced a settlement of free Africans who continued to fight the Portuguese. These Angolares (originally, slaves exported from Angola) raided plantations and burned fields and sugar mills, and in 1574 attacked and largely destroyed the city of São Tomé In 1595 a leader named Amador led a slave army of five thousand men and women that burned or destroyed some seventy sugar plantations on the island.

Over the next four hundred years, there were many hundreds of major slave revolts and insurrections in the Americas. The massive slave insurrection that began in 1791 in France’s richest colony, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) became transformed into an organized military campaign led by the ex-slave Toussaint Louverture (1743–1803) that defeated Spanish, British, and French armies. In 1804 the black generals established the independent nation-state of Haiti, the second new state in the Americas and the first modern state ever created by a slave insurrection.

Ameliorative protest uprisings and movements employed violence against the colonial regime or its officials, but also nonviolent methods of protest and resistance, such as demonstrations, riots, strikes, petitions, and more. Many, if not most, of the village uprisings in colonial Mexico were provoked by specific abuses or perceived threats and ended when colonial officials promised to act upon the grievances of villagers. As William B. Taylor, a historian of colonial Mexico, notes, community outrage was directed against local officials, the tax collector, or the parish priest. “Villagers in revolt generally did not make the connection between their grievances and the colonial system as a whole” (1979, p. 134).

In the Gold Coast, the British colony in West Africa, the Aborigines’ Rights Protective Society (ARPS) was formed in the 1890s to appeal to, and it was hoped to influence, British public opinion against the colonial authorities on the spot. The colonial government began a program to transform property rights and relations. The ARPS, formed by traditional chiefs working with African lawyers educated in Britain, organized the first colonywide protest and sent a delegation to London that succeeded in getting legislation that protected their land rights.

In the wake of the French conquest of Algeria in the 1830s, the Muslim Sufi order of the Qadiriyya in western Algeria provided the religious and political legitimacy for a resistance movement. In 1834 ‘Abd al-Qadir (1808–1883) became the head of the order and fought tribal authorities and the French to expand his authority. Within three years, the French recognized ‘Abd al-Qadir’s authority and the sovereignty of the Qadiriyya state over two-thirds of Algeria. In the 1840s conflict with the French—that is, with the more technologically advanced French army—led to the defeat and surrender of ‘Abd al-Qadir in 1847.

Depiction of the Battle of Omdurman (1898).

Depiction of the Battle of Omdurman (1898). Richard Caton Woodville (1856–1927)

In the Egyptian colony of Sudan, the Mahdi (a messianic Muslim leader) Muhammad ibn-Abdallah began a campaign in the 1880s to create an independent theocratic state. The campaign took advantage of Egypt’s turmoil and weakness in the face of French and then British intermeddling. In 1883 the forces of the Mahdi destroyed the ten-thousand-strong Egyptian army. General George Gordon (1833–1885) went to Khartoum, Sudan, to evacuate Egyptians, but was besieged and killed in 1885. The middle Nile Valley was controlled by the Mahdist state, thereafter, it seemed, for more than a decade. In 1898 an Anglo-Egyptian army invaded the Sudan and met the Mahdist army at Omdurman on the banks of the Nile River. The British forces, armed with Maxim (machine) guns, repeating rifles, and gunboats, killed and wounded tens of thousands of Mahdist dervishes. After the five-hour battle, only forty-eight British soldiers were killed. The Mahdist state was overthrown as the British Empire took control of Sudan.

Scene from the Egyptian Revolution of 1919. Image from Egyptian History website.

Scene from the Egyptian Revolution of 1919. Image from Egyptian History website.

Anticolonialist nationalist revolts of the twentieth century were remarkably successful. A nationalist Egyptian uprising in 1919, followed by mass demonstrations, prodded the British to grant independence in 1922. Within three months of the assignment of the mandate of Iraq by the League of Nations to Britain 1919, the “Great Arab” insurrection in the new country began. The Arabs of Iraq had reasons of their own to oppose British colonialism, but the Communist International (or Comintern, a Soviet-led revolutionary organization), trying out its anticolonial legs, employed propaganda in an attempt to add fuel to the fire: “In your country there are eighty-thousand English soldiers who plunder and rob, who kill you and violate your wives!” (quoted in Kiernan 1998, p. 191). Over the next seven years, the British occupation faced not only Arab resistance but also Kurdish insurrection, which began in 1922. At the end of 1927, Britain recognized the independence of Iraq under the sovereignty of King Faisal (1885–1933) and in 1932 Iraq was admitted to the League of Nations.

Ho Chi MinhIndochina (today Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) was not brought under effective French colonial rule until the 1880s and 1890s. However, at the Paris Peace Conference (1919–1920), which established the terms of peace after World War I ended in 1918, Ho Chi Minh (1890–1969) and other Vietnamese nationalists were attracted by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson’s (1856–1924) call for national self-determination and the possibility they might negotiate some degree of self- government and autonomy with the Great Powers. The Vietnamese spokesmen, like those from India, Egypt, Senegal, and other colonies, were ignored.

Back in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh and other nationalists formed the Communist Party in 1925; the party organized an uprising in 1930. The repression that followed kept order until a revolt erupted in 1940. After this uprising was crushed, Ho Chi Minh and other nationalists in 1941 established a united front of various parties and resistance groups called the Vietminh. At the conclusion of World War II (1939–1945), following the Japanese surrender in Hanoi, the Vietminh declared the independence of Vietnam. The French, however, unwilling to give up control of the colony, sent an army to Vietnam and fought the Vietminh from 1946 until 1954, when a garrison of sixteen thousand French and African soldiers at Dien Bien Phu surrendered to a superior Vietminh force. In that same year, a FrenchChinese agreement, accepted by the Geneva Conference on the Far East (1954), divided Vietnam at the seventeenth parallel. The Communist Vietminh government took control of the northern section and established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. France then granted independence to South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

These five distinct kinds of indigenous resistance to Western colonialism disguise a social complexity that characterized the establishment and maintenance of colonialism itself. Colonialism was not something that was imposed from outside or that operated with the collusion of forces inside; it was a combination of both developments. Anticolonialism, in a similar way, was resistance to the outside imposition, as well as a contestation of political authority, among indigenous leaders, groups, regions, and classes within a colony.

The Indian Revolt, or Great Rebellion, of 1857 to 1859 began as a mutiny of Indian soldiers orsepoys who served the British East India Company. The sepoys of the Bengal Army protested their pay and conditions. Once British rule began to waver in the north, towns, artisans, and peasants rose up in rebellion to restore, at least symbolically, the Mughal Empire. The British defeated the rebellion in large measure because large sections of the Indian army, the Ghurkas and Sikhs in particular, remained loyal. When Delhi fell to “British” forces, most of those forces were Indian.

The Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 was both an anti-Manchu and an anti-Western rebellion. “Boxers,” a secret society, were Han Chinese nationalists who opposed the “Manchu” Qing regime and foreigners, particularly missionaries and businessmen, who supported the regime.

Table 1 provides a list of important anticolonial rebellions and slave revolts of the past five hundred years. It suggests the great geographical diversity and temporal persistence of anticolonial struggles around the world. This list, however, is far from definitive and complete. Scholars of colonized peoples, furthermore, have emphasized that peasants, slaves, women, and other relatively powerless groups have employed “weapons of the weak”—that is, everyday forms of resistance, such as shirking, theft, sabotage, arson, and flight—to resist, recoup, or survive colonialism. While these “quiet” and often clandestine forms of resistance have rarely entered the history books, they have, according to James C. Scott (1985), constituted the greatest part of peasant politics.

The long and bloody history of resistance to Western colonialism that is suggested by the names and dates in Table 1 influenced Western political and social thought from the sixteenth century to the present. Prior to the mid-eighteenth century, European encounters with other peoples and lands prompted philosophical debates about the nature of humans and the moral responsibility of Christian monarchs and colonizers to the “barbarians” and “savages” they encountered, conquered, and ruled. A number of sixteenth-century Europeans, such as Antonio de Montesinos, Thomas More (1478–1535), Desiderius Erasmus (ca. 1466–1536), Bartolomé de las Casas (1474–1566), Alonzo de Zorita (1512–1585), Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592), Philippe de Mornay (1549–1623), and José de Acosta (1539–1600), opposed war and violent expansion, and in particular criticized Spanish colonial excesses and abusive policies, but they never rejected the imperial project. Some French Protestants, and more English and Dutch Protestant critics, seized upon the discourse of the Spanish critics and created the “Black Legend,” an exaggerated reprimand of Spanish colonialism.

Not all western European writers in the seventeenth century, however, were anti-Spanish, and very few criticized, let alone opposed, their own nation’s imperial projects. A number of French Catholic philosophers and missionaries in the seventeenth century praised Spanish attempts to legislate protections on behalf of Native Americans in their New World kingdoms. By the 1660s, the English dramatist John Dryden (1631–1700) romanticized the Spanish conquest of Mexico in his play The Indian Emperor (1665).

By the mid to late eighteenth century, a number of prominent European and American thinkers and politicians not only criticized the abuses and excesses of Western colonialism, but for the first time challenged “the idea that Europeans had any right to subjugate, colonize, and ‘civilize’ the rest of the world” (Muthu, 2003, p. 1). Such Enlightenment philosophers and writers as François-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire (1694–1778), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), Denis

Table 1. Non-European rebellions, resistance movements and slave revolts

Table 1. Non-European rebellions, resistance movements and slave revolts The Gale Group.

Table 1. Non-European rebellions, resistance movements and slave revolts
Date Leadership/People Event
Phase 1: Expansion, 1415–1773
1490s Hispaniola (Sp.) Taino Chieftain’s Revolts
1521 Hispaniola (Sp.) Mexico (Sp.) Wolofs: Slave Revolt
1540s Mexico (Sp.) The Mixtó War
1520s–1540s Yucatan (Sp.) Yucatec Maya Resistance
1540s–1550s Brail (Por.) Potiguar, Caeté & Tupinambá: Resistance and Wars
1550s–1600 Northern Mexico (Sp.) The Chichimeca War
1567 Bahia, Brazil (Por.) Indian Slave Revolt
1595 São Tomé(Por.) Amador: Slave Revolt
1622 Virginia (Br.) Powhatan Confederation Attack
1637 Connecticut (Br.) Pequot War
1673 Jamaica (Br.) Slave Revolt
1680–1692 New Mexico (Sp.) Pope: Pueblo Rebellion
1712 Chiapas (Sp.) Tzeltal Rebellion: Maya Revolt
1731 Louisiana (Fr.) Samba: Slave Revolt
1733 St. Johns (Dm.) Slave Revolt
1734–1738 Jamaica (Br.) Cudjoe: Chief of Trelawny Town: First Maroon War
1739 South Carolina (Br.) Stono Rebellion: Slave Revolt
1742–1750s Peru (Sp.) Juan Santos Atahualpa
1760 Jamaica (Br.) Tacky’s Revolt: Slave Revolt
1761 Yucatan (Sp.) Canek: Maya Uprising
1763–1766 North America (Br.) Pontiac’s Rebellion
Phase 2: Contraction, 1775–1824
1777 Upper Peru (Sp.) Tomás Katari: Aymaras
1780–1783 Peru-Upper Peru (Sp.) José Gabriel Condorcanqui (Tupac Amaru II Rebellion)
1791–1804 Saint Domingue (Fr.) Toussaint L’Ouverture: Slave Rebellion
1795 New Granada (Sp.) Slave Revolt
1795 Demerara (Da.) Slave Revolt
1795–1796 Jamaica (Br.) Second Maroon War
1810–1811 Central Mexico (Sp.) Miguel Hidalgo: Popular Uprising
1811–1815 Mexico (Sp.) José María Morelos: Continuation of the HidalgoUprising
1816 Barbados (Br.) Slave Revolt
1823 Demerara (Br.) Slave Revolt
Phase 3: Expansion, 1824–1912
1825–1830 East Indies (Dt.) Prince Dipangara: Java War
1831 Jamaica (Br.) Slave Revolt
1831 Virginia (US.) Nat Turner: Slave Revolt
1832–1847 Algeria (Fr.) Abd el Kader: War of Resistance
1835 Brazil (Por.) African Muslim Slave Revolt
1838 South Africa (Br.) First Zulu War
1843–1847 New Zealand (Br.) First Maori War
1857–1859 India (Br.) The Indian Mutiny
1865–1872 New Zealand (Br.) Second Maori War
1860–1890 North America (US.) Sitting Bull & Crazy Horse: Sioux Wars
1862–1872 North America (US.) Cochise: Apache War
1865 Jamaica (Br.) Morant Bay Rebellion
1871 Algeria (Fr.) Kabyle Revolt
1879 South Africa (Br.) Second Zulu War
1882–1885 Sudan (Egpt/Br.) The Mahdi: Islamic Revolt and War for Independence
1891–1894 German East Africa Mkwawa Rebellion
1895 Madagascar (Por.) Red Shawl Uprising
1896 Ethopia (Ind.) Italian Defeat at Adowa
1896–1897 Southern Rhodesia (Br.) Shona and Ndebele Rebellion
1899–1900 India (Br.) Birsa Rising
1900 China (Ind.) The Boxer Rebellion
1899–1902 Philippines (US.) Emilio Aguinaldo: Philippine Insurgency
1899–1920 Somaliland (Br.) Muhammad Abullah Hassad: Resistance Movement
1899–1905 Somaliland (It.) Muhammad Abullah Hassad
1904–1907 South-West Africa (Gr.) (Nambia) Nama & Herro Revolt: resistance to German settlers
1905–1906 East Africa (Ger.) (Tanganyika) Maji Maji: Popular Uprising
1906 South Africa (Br.) (Natal) Zulu Revolt
1908, 1912, 1918, 1925 Panama (Pro.) Social and Political “Unrest”: US. Military Intervention
1912–1918 Libya (Fr.) Sanussi Sheikhs
Table 1. Non-European rebellions, resistance movements and slave revolts [CONT]

Table 1. Non-European rebellions, resistance movements and slave revolts [CONT]

 This table is based on Table 13.1, “Colonial Rebellions by Indigenous or Slave Populations,” in David B. Abernethy, The Dynamics of Global Dominance: European Overseas Empires, 1415–1980 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 308-309. Using Abernethy’s template, data from other sources have been added to this table: See C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780–1914 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004); Jeremy Black, Europe and the World, 1650–1840 (London: Routledge, 2002); Chambers Dictionary of World History (Edinburgh: Chambers, 2005); Seymour Drescher and Stanley L. Engerman, eds., A Historical Guide to World Slavery (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Susan Schroeder, ed., Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in Colonial New Spain (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998). The Gale Group. 
Table 1. Non-European rebellions, resistance movements and slave revolts [CONT]
Date Leadership/People Event
Abbreviations: Br. British Colony, Dn. Danish, Dt. Dutch, Fr. French, Ger. German, Ind. Independent, Por. Portuguese, Pro. Protectorate, Ru. Russia, Sp. Spanish, US. United States, USSR. Union of Socialist Soviet Republics.
Sources: This table is based on Table 13.1, “Colonial Rebellions by Indigenous or Slave Populations,” in David B. Abernethy, The Dynamics of Global Dominance: European Overseas Empires, 1415–1980 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 308-309. Using Abernethy’s template, data from other sources have been added to this table: See C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780–1914 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004); Jeremy Black, Europe and the World, 1650–1840 (London: Routledge, 2002);Chambers Dictionary of World History (Edinburgh: Chambers, 2005); Seymour Drescher and Stanley L. Engerman, eds., A Historical Guide to World Slavery (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Susan Schroeder, ed., Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in Colonial New Spain (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998).
Phase 4: Unstabe Equilibrium, 1914–1939
1915 Nysaland John Chilembwe
1920 Mesopotamia (Br.) ‘The Great Iraqi Revolt’
1921–26 Morocco (Sp.) Abd el-Krim: Berbers’ Rif War
1925–26 Morocco (Fr.) Rif War against the French
1922–31 Libya (Fr.) Sanussi Sheikhs
1930–31 Vietnam (Fr.) VNQDD: Yen Bay Uprising
1930–32 Burma (Br.) Saya San
1930s–48 Palestine (Br.) Arab and Jewish Revolts
Phase 5: Contraction, 1940-Present
1945–49 East Indies (Dt.) Independence War
1946–54 Vietnam (Fr.) Ho Chi Minh: Independence War
1947–60 Madagascar (Por.) Independence Rebellion
1948–56 Kenya (Br.) Mau Mau Rebellion: Kikuyu People
1954–61 Algeria (Fr.) FLN: War for Independence
1961–75 Angola (Por.) Independence War
1962–75 Mozambique (Por.) War for Independence led by FRELIMO
1963–75 Guinea-Bissau (Por.) Amilcar Cabral: Independence War
1972–79 Rhodesia (Ind.) Robert Mugabe: Civil War
1979–1989 Afghanistan (Ind.) Anti-USSR Insurgency
1994–Present Chechnya (Ru.) Anti-Russian War
2003–Present Iraq (Ind.) Anti-United States & Coalition Insurgency

Diderot (1713–1784), Abbé Guillaume-Thomas Raynal (1713–1796), Richard Price (1723–1791), Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Joseph Priestly (1733–1804), Thomas Paine (1737–1809), Marquis de Condorcet (1743–1794), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803), and others rejected imperialism and colonialism for a number of different reasons. For Diderot, European imperialism had been a disaster for non-European peoples in terms of war, oppression, and slavery and had, in addition, corrupted Europe itself. Many of these anti-imperialist Enlightenment writers opposed European imperialism and colonialism on the basis of the idea that all the world’s different peoples were human and therefore deserved respect and fair treatment. Not only did these thinkers accept the concept of shared humanity, they shared the idea that non-Europeans were peoples of culture (as were Europeans), not savages or “natural” humans, and that their cultures were not necessarily better or worse than the oppressive, corrupt, and violent societies of Europe.

Thomas Jefferson, the American philosophe, wrote in the Declaration of Independence in 1776 “that all men are created equal,” and as a consequence governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Jefferson’s shattering of the moral underpinning of colonialism was complemented by Alexander Hamilton’s (1755/57–1804) American anticolonialism expressed in The Federalist over a decade later:

The world may politically, as well as geographically, be divided into four parts, each having a distinct set of interests. Unhappily for the other three, Europe, by her arms and by her negotiations, by force and by fraud, has, in different degrees, extended her dominion over them all. Africa, Asia, and America, have successively felt her domination. The superiority she has long maintained has tempted her to plume herself as the Mistress of the World, and to consider the rest of mankind as created for her benefit. (Hamilton, 1787)

This state of affairs, according to Hamilton, will no longer be tolerated. “Let Americans disdain to be the instruments of European greatness!”

Not all, or even most, Enlightenment philosophers and writers, of course, opposed imperialism and colonialism. Eighteenth-century political thought was complex and even contradictory regarding certain issues. Antiimperial and anticolonial writings, like the antislavery tracts of the eighteenth century, were profoundly novel and uniquely Western. Both intellectual critiques were founded upon centuries of Western thought and, in particular, nearly three centuries of observing, listening to, and writing about non-Europeans. Antislavery arguments, political campaigns, and diplomatic and military actions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries led to the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade and the emancipation of all bondsmen in the Americas. The anti-imperial and anticolonial discourse of the eighteenth century, on the other hand, while undoubtedly significant over the long term, was followed by a new wave of European imperial expansion and annexation in the nineteenth century. The great political thinkers of the nineteenth century—conservatives, liberals, and radicals—generally accepted the arguments on behalf of imperialism.

Even Karl Marx (1818–1883), who argued that Western colonies were often set up in rich and well-populated countries for the specific purposes of plunder, thus providing Europe with “primitive” or “original” accumulation of wealth and capital, could not deny the historical necessity and advantage of colonialism. “In actual history,” Marx wrote in 1867, “it is a notorious fact that conquest, enslavement, robbery, murder, in short, force, play the greatest part” in this accumulation (1867/1990, p. 874). As was true for many of his contemporaries, however, Marx viewed European colonialism as an indispensable element of world progress. Colonialism was an important modernizing force, noted Marx, part of “the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode” (1867/1990, pp. 915-916).

Marx’s twentieth-century intellectual heirs—Marxists, communists, neo-Marxists, dependency and world-systems analysts, postcolonialists, and others—had little difficulty condemning imperialism and colonialism. Karl Kautsky (1854–1938), Rosa Luxemburg (1870–1919), and V. I. Lenin (1870–1924) in the early twentieth century redirected “Marxist” thought against capitalist imperialism and colonialism. In 1920 Lenin’s Comintern in Moscow offered a systematic program for global decolonization.

Liberal anticolonial principles were as influential during the twentieth century as Marxist ones. In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed his “Fourteen Points” in a message to the U.S. Congress as a plan to end World War I. In his fourteenth point, Wilson suggested the creation of an association of nations to facilitate the sovereignty and independence of all nations based upon self-determination. The Fourteen Points encouraged a number of colonial leaders, including Ho Chi Minh, to attend the Paris Peace Conference and present petitions for autonomy and independence. The Atlantic Charter, a declaration of principles issued by U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945) and British prime minister Winston Churchill (1874–1965) in 1941, echoed Wilson’s Fourteen Points and called for the rights of self-determination, self-government, and free speech for all peoples.

Anticolonial leaders and movements in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere during the twentieth century drew upon elements of both liberal and Marxist anticolonial thought. Anticolonial movements generally spoke the rhetoric of liberalism (freedom, self-determination, self-government, individual rights, and so on) when discussing politics, and the rhetoric of Marxism (equality, economic development, social rights, and so on) when discussing social and economic problems. Twentieth-century anticolonial thought was also saturated by the development of nationalism and the use of history to help create or invent national identities. The great anticolonial movements of the century, it is not surprising to note, were nationalist movements: the African National Congress, the Indian National Congress, the Conference of Nationalist Organizations of the Portuguese Colonies, the National Congress of British West Africa, and others.

In the past, historians have argued that the anticolonial movements of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East—of the so-called third world—adopted the liberal and Marxist anticolonial critiques, the ideas and forms of nationalism, and even rational, narrative history from the West. There is little doubt that there was substantial borrowing. As more and more non-Western historians are exploring their national histories, however, they are learning that their form of anticolonialism was not simply a “derivative discourse.” Indian historian Partha Chatterjee argues that as colonized, Anglicized, Bengali intellectuals were schooled in Western statecraft and economics, they also worked to create through schools, art, novels, and theater an Indian aesthetic sphere that was distinctively Indian. “The bilingual intelligentsia,” writes Chatterjee, “came to think of its own language as belonging to that inner domain of cultural identity, from which the colonial intruder had to be kept out” (1993, p. 7).

Other historians have charged that anticolonialism, or at least the history of anticolonialist struggles, has focused too much on elites and intellectuals. Amílcar Cabral (1924–1973), leader of the independence movement of Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands, in the late 1960s and the early 1970s realized that genuine anticolonialism is the “cultural resistance of the people, who when they are subjected to political domination and economic exploitation find that their own culture acts as a bulwark in preserving their identity” (1973, p.61).

Anticolonialism, in violent actions and in formal thought, and in the hands, pens, and movements of non-Europeans as well as Europeans and Americans, has a history that is long, complex, and still being debated and written. There are many interesting questions but few easy answers.


Abernethy, David B. The Dynamics of Global Dominance: European Overseas Empires, 1415–1980. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000.

Barshay, Andrew E. “The Sciences of Modernity in a Disparate World.” In The Cambridge History of Science; Vol. 7: The Modern Social Sciences, edited by Theodore M. Porter and Dorothy Ross, 407-412. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Bayly, C. A. The Birth of the Modern World, 1870–1914: Global Connections and Comparisons. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

Black, Jeremy. Europe and the World, 1650–1830. London: Routledge, 2002.

Cabral, Amílcar. Return to the Source: Selected Speeches By Amílcar Cabral. New York: Monthly Review Press and Africa Information Service, 1973.

Chatterjee, Partha. The Nation and its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993.

Curtin, Philip D. The World and the West: The European Challenge and the Overseas Response in the Age of Empire. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Genovese, Eugene D. From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1979.

Hamilton, Alexander. The Federalist No. 11: “The Utility of the Union in Respect to Commercial Relations and a Navy.” 1787. Available from the Library of Congress at .

Hart, Jonathan. Comparing Empires: European Colonialism from Portuguese Expansion to the Spanish-American War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Hart, Jonathan. Contesting Empires: Opposition, Promotion, and Slavery. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Kiernan, V. G. Colonial Empires and Armies, 1815–1960. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1998.

Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. 1 (1867). Translated by Ben Fowkes. London: Penguin, 1990.

Muthu, Sankar. Enlightenment Against Empire. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003.

Schroeder, Susan, ed. Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in New Spain. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998.

Scott, James C. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985.

Scott, James C. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.

Taylor, William B. Drinking, Homicide, and Rebellion in Colonial Mexican Villages. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1979.

Wesseling, H. L. The European Colonial Empires, 1815–1919. Translated by Diane Webb. Harlow, U.K.: Pearson Longman, 2004.

Source Citation   (MLA 7th Edition) 

Benjamin, Thomas, and Dennis Hidalgo. “Anticolonialism.” Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism since 1450. Ed. Thomas Benjamin. Vol. 1. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 57-65. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Theses and Dissertations– Bibliography of the 1824 migration to Haiti





I thought about putting a list of theses and dissertations related to my book, In Search of an American Dream. Corrections and additions are more than welcome. I will come back to it and perhaps add a few links, etc.





Theses and Dissertations


Allen, William Ezra. “Sugar and Coffee: A History of Settler Agriculture in Nineteenth-Century Liberia.” Ph.D., Florida International University, 2002.


Ball, Erica Louise. “From Elevation to Uplift: Gender, Citizenship and Northern Black Political Culture on the Eve of the Civil War.” Ph.D., City University of New York, 2002.


Bonner, Donna Maria. “Garifuna Town/Caribbean Nation/Latin American State: Identity and Prejudice in Belize.” Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1999.


Brown, Jarrett Hugh. “Black Masculinities as Marronage: Claude Mckay’s Representation of Black Male Subjectivities in Metropolitan Spaces.” Ph.D., The College of William and Mary, 2011.


Bulthuis, Kyle Timothy. “Four Steeples over the City Streets: Trinity Episcopal, St. Philip’s Episcopal, John Street Methodist, and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches in New York City, 1760–1840.” Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2007.


Burnham, Thorald M. “Immigration and Marriage in the Making of Post-Independence Haiti.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2006.


Cameron, Christopher Alain. “To Plead Our Own Cause: African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement, 1630–1835.” Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010.


Carter, Ralph Donald. “Black American or African: The Response of New York City Blacks to African Colonization, 1817-1841.”  Dissertation, 1974.


Crozier, Karen Denise. “Pedagogies of Empowerment: Towards Institutional Change in a Local Black Church.” Ph.D., Claremont School of Theology, 2006.


Cryderman, Kevin. “Ghostly Spectators of History: Collective Identity, Regulative Frameworks and the Idiosyncratic Subject.” Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2009.


Curtis, Lesley Shannon. “Utopian (Post)Colonies: Rewriting Race and Gender after the Haitian Revolution.” Ph.D., Duke University, 2011.


Dain, Bruce Russell. “A Hideous Monster of the Mind: American Race Theory, 1787-1859.” Ph.D., Princeton University, 1996.


Daut, Marlene Leydy. “Science of Desire: Race and Representations of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1790-1865.” Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2009.


Davies, John. “Class, Culture, and Color: Black Saint-Dominguan Refugees and African-American Communities in the Early Republic.” Ph.D., University of Delaware, 2008.


de Briffault, E. Christian. “The Haitian Revolution, 1791–1803. Race, Slavery, and the Balance of Power: A Comparative Analysis.” D.A., St. John’s University (New York), 2004.


De Vidas, Albert. “The Foreign Relations of Haiti in Hemispheric Affairs from Independence to Occupation, 1804-1915.” Book; Archival Material, NYU, 1971.


DeFay, Jason Bradley. “Identity Matters: Immigration and the Social Construction of Identity in Garifuna Los Angeles.” Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2004.


Den Hartog, Jonathan J. “”Patriotism and Piety”: Orthodox Religion and Federalist Political Culture.” Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2006.


Diemer, Andrew Keith. “Black Nativism: African American Politics, Nationalism and Citizenship in Baltimore and Philadelphia, 1817 to 1863.” Ph.D., Temple University, 2011.


Dowdy, Calenthia S. “Youth, Music, and Agency: Undoing Race, Poverty and Violence in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.” 3498194, American University, 2012.


Dyck, David Wayne. “The Missionary Church in the Dominican Republic.” Dissertation, 1975.


Edmondson, Philip N. “The St. Domingue Legacy in Black Activist and Antislavery Writings in the United States, 1791–1862.” Dissertation, 2004.


Egea Fernandez-Montesinos, Alberto. “La Construccion Del Imaginario Literario Andaluz: Entre La Imagi-Nacion Folclorica Y Las Margi-Naciones Del Sur.” Ph.D., Emory University, 2000.


Fanning, Sara Connors. “Haiti and the U.S.: African American Emigration and the Recognition Debate.” Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 2008.


Fellows, Kristen R. “African Americans from “Back Yonder”: The Historical Archaeology of the Formation, Maintenance, and Dissolution of the American Enclave in Samana, Dominican Republic.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013.


Flemming, Tracy K. “Negro: Travel and the Pan-African Imagination During the Nineteenth Century.” Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2010.


Fleszar, Mark J. “The Atlantic Legacies of Zephaniah Kingsley: Benevolence, Bondage, and Proslavery Fictions in the Age of Emancipation.” Ph.D., Georgia State University, 2013.


Franks, Julie Cheryl. “Transforming Property: Landholding and Political Rights in the Dominican Sugar Region, 1880-1930.” Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1997.


Fuste, Jose I. “Possible Republics: Tracing the ‘Entanglements’ of Race and Nation in Afro-Latina/O Caribbean Thought and Activism, 1870–1930.” Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2012.


Gaffield, Julia. “”So Many Schemes in Agitation”: The Haitian State and the Atlantic World.” Ph.D., Duke University, 2012.


Garcia, Armand. “Jose Marti and the Global Dimensions of Late Nineteenth-Century Cuban Nation Building.” Ph.D., Washington State University, 2006.


Glenn, James Hogan. “Andrew Johnson and the Dominican Republic.” Creighton University, 1967.


Gonzalez, Johnhenry. “The War on Sugar: Forced Labor, Commodity Production and the Origins of the Haitian Peasantry, 1791–1843.” Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2012.


Greene, Ousmane Kirumu. “Against Wind and Tide: African Americans’ Response to the Colonization Movement and Emigration, 1770–1865.” Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2007.


Grivno, Max L. “”There Slavery Cannot Dwell”: Agriculture and Labor in Northern Maryland, 1790–1860.” Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2007.


Hanks, Iyelli Ichile. “Black Magic Woman: Towards a Theory of Africana Women’s Resistance.” Ph.D., Howard University, 2011.


Head, David. “Sailing for Spanish America: The Atlantic Geopolitics of Foreign Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic.” Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2010.


Hetrick, Matthew J. “African American Colonization and Identity, 1780-1925.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013.


Hidalgo, Dennis Ricardo. “From North America to Hispaniola: First Free Black Emigration and Settlements in Hispaniola.” Ph.D., Central Michigan University, 2003.


Hudson, Linda Sybert. “Jane Mcmanus Storm Cazneau (1807-1878): A Biography.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 1999.


Jackson, James O’Dell, III. “The Origins of Pan-African Nationalism: Afro-American and Haytian Relations.” Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1976.


Jones, Christina Violeta. “Revolution and Reaction: Santo Domingo During the Haitian Revolution and Beyond, 1791–1844.” Ph.D., Howard University, 2008.


Kaisary, Philip James. “The Literary Impact of the Haitian Revolution.” University of Warwick, 2008.


Kaussen, Valerie Mae. “Romancing the Peasant: History and Revolution in the Modern Haitian Novel.” Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, 2000.


Kwon, Yun Kyoung. “Ending Slavery, Narrating Emancipation: Revolutionary Legacies in the French Antislavery Debate and “Silencing the Haitian Revolution,” 1814–48.” Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2012.


Leung, Ka Yee. “Embodied Cultural Cognition: How Culture Is Carried by Our Bodily Experiences?” Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.


Lovit, Alex. ““The Bounds of Habitation”: The Geography of the American Colonization Society.” University of Michigan, 2011.


Malka, Adam C. “The Haitian Evolution: Emigration and Diasporan Consciousness in Nineteenth Century America.” University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2005.


Márquez Macías, Rosario. “La Emigración Española a América, 1765-1824.” Universidad de Oviedo, Servicio de Publicaciones, 1995.


Matijasic, Thomas David. “Conservative Reform in the West: The African Colonization Movement in Ohio 1826-1839 ” Dissertation, 1982.


Matthews, Gelien. “Slave Rebellions in the Discourse of British Anti-Slavery.” University of Hull, 2002.


McCarthy, Timothy Patrick. “A Culture of Dissent: American Abolitionism and the Ordeal of Equality.” Ph.D., Columbia University, 2006.


McDaniel, William Caleb. “Our Country Is the World: Radical American Abolitionists Abroad.” Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, 2006.


Menely, Tobias. “Cultivated Sympathies: Human Sentiments and Animal Subjects in the Long Eighteenth Century.” Ph.D., Indiana University, 2006.


Mills, Brandon. “Exporting the Racial Republic: African Colonization, National Citizenship, and the Transformation of U.S. Expansion, 1776–1864.” Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011.


Mongey, Vanessa. “Cosmopolitan Republics and Itinerant Patriots: The Gulf of Mexico in the Age of Revolutions (1780s–1830s).” Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2010.


Morales, Edgardo A Pérez. “Itineraries of Freedom Revolutionary Travels and Slave Emancipation in Colombia and the Greater Caribbean. 1789-‐1830.” University of Michigan, 2013.


Morales, JosÈ. “The Hispaniola Diaspora, 1791-1850 Puerto Rico, Cuba, Louisiana, and Other Host Societies.” 1987.


Moulton, Amber D. “Marriage Extraordinary: Interracial Marriage and the Politics of Family in Antebellum Massachusetts.” Ph.D., Harvard University, 2011.


Myers, Amrita Chakrabarti. “Negotiating Women: Black Women and the Politics of Freedom in Charleston, South Carolina, 1790-1860.” Rutgers University, 2005.


Nessler, Graham Townsend. “A Failed Emancipation? The Struggle for Freedom in Hispaniola During the Haitian Revolution, 1789–1809.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2011.


Nwankwo, Ifeoma Chinwe Kiddoe. “Cosmopolitan Consciousness: Inter-American Engagements in the Scripting of African-American and Caribbean Identities.” Duke University, 1999.


Oliver, Albert G. “The Protest and Attitudes of Blacks Towards the American Colonization Society and the Concepts of Emigration and Colonization in Africa 1817 – 1865.” Dissertation, 1978.


Ozuna, Ana. “Reclaiming Blackness through the Literary Figure of the Maroon in Dominican Literature.” Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2009.


Page, Sebastian Nicholas. “The American Civil War and Black Colonization.” D.Phil., University of Oxford (United Kingdom), 2012.


Pamphile Miller, Chrislaine. “”‘Blessed Are the Peacemakers”: African American Emigration to Haiti, 1816-1826.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013.


Peña, Julissa. ““Yo Soy Negro, Pero Negro Blanco:” Hispanicity, Antihaitianismo and Genocide in the Dominican Republic.” Wesleyan University, 2012.


Phillips, William M. “Nightmares of Anarchy and Dreams of Revolution in English and American Literature, 1870-1910.” Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1996.


Pierce, Jennifer J. “Discourses of the Dispossessed : Saint-Domingue Colonists on Race, Revolution and Empire, 1789-1825.” 2005.


Piggush, Yvette Renee. “Governing Imagination: American Social Romanticism, 1790–1840.” Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2007.


Polgar, Paul J. “Standard Bearers of Liberty and Equality: Reinterpreting the Origins of American Abolitionism.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013.


Ramlagan, Michelle N. “(Re)Placing Nation: Postcolonial Women’s Contestations of Spatial Discourse.” Ph.D., University of Miami, 2011.


Riley, Padraig Griffin. “Northern Republicans and Southern Slavery: Democracy in the Age of Jefferson, 1800–1819.” Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2007.


Rivas, Christine D. “Power, Race, Class and Gender in Colonial Santo Domingo: An Analysis of Spanish Dominican Marital Patterns in the Archbishopric of Santo Domingo, 1701–1801.” Ph.D., Carleton University (Canada), 2008.


Roberts, Neil Douglas. “Freedom as Marronage: The Dialectic of Slavery and Freedom in Arendt, Pettit, Rousseau, Douglass, and the Haitian Revolution.” University of Chicago, Department of Political Science, 2007.


Rodriguez, Nestor E. “Configuraciones Y Desfiguraciones De Lo Nacional En La Literatura Dominicana Contemporanea.” Ph.D., Emory University, 2003.


Sacks, Dan. “The Historical Traditions of Nat Turner.” 2008.


Sagas, Ernesto. “Antihaitianismo in the Dominican Republic.” 1993.


Salt, Karen N. “The Haitian Question.” Purdue University, 2011.


Scallet, Daniel. “”This Inglorious War”: The Second Seminole War, the Ad Hoc Origins of American Imperialism, and the Silence of Slavery.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2011.


Schoeppner, Michael Alan. “Navigating the Dangerous Atlantic: Racial Quarantines, Black Sailors and United States Constitutionalism.” UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, 2010.


Scruggs, Dalila. “”The Love of Liberty Has Brought Us Here”: The American Colonization Society and the Imaging of African-American Settlers in Liberia.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2010.


Sesay, Chernoh Momodu, Jr. “Freemasons of Color: Prince Hall, Revolutionary Black Boston, and the Origins of Black Freemasonry, 1770–1807.” Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2006.


Shabaka, Segun. “An Afrocentric Analysis of the 19th Century African-American Migration to Haiti: A Quest for the Self-Determining Community.” Ph.D., Temple University, 2001.


Smith, Eleanor Valerie. “Mate Selection as an Indicator of Ethnic Identity and Maintenance: A Case Analysis of the “Immigrants” in Samana, Dominican Republic (Blacks, Afro-American).” Ph.D., University of Florida, 1986.


Smith, Reiland Rabaka. “Africana Critical Theory: From W. E. B. Du Bois and C. L. R. James’s Discourse on Domination and Liberation to Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral’s Dialectics of Decolonization.” Ph.D., Temple University, 2001.


Stringer, Rozanne McGrew. “Hybrid Zones: Representations of Race in Late Nineteenth-Century French Visual Culture.” Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2011.


Tagliamonte, Sali Anna. “A Matter of Time: Past Temporal Reference Verbal Structures in Samana English and the Ex-Slave Recordings.” Ph.D., University of Ottawa (Canada), 1991.


Tillman, Ellen D. “Imperialism Revised: Military, Society, and Us Occupation in the Dominican Republic, 1880-1924.” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011.


Torbett, David James. “Theology and Slavery: Charles Hodge and Horace Bushnell on the Slavery Question.” Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education, 2002.


Torres Casillas, Pablo Samuel. “Los Cronistas De La Americanizacion: Representacion Y Discurso Colonial En Puerto Rico (1898–1932).” Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (Puerto Rico), 2013.


Treudley, Mary Bosworth. “The United States and Santo Domingo, 1789-1866.” 1916.


Twa, Lindsay Jean. “Troubling Island: The Imagining and Imaging of Haiti by African-American Artists, 1915–1940.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2006.


Van Sickle, Eugene S. “A Transnational Vision: John H. B. Latrobe and Maryland’s African Colonization Movement.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2005.


Walker, James A. . “Present Accounted For: Prosody and Aspect in Early African American English.” University of Ottawa, 2000.


Walton-Hanley, Jennifer A. “Reversing the Middle Passage : The American Colonization Society and Race Relations, 1816-1964.” [s.n.], 2009.


Walton-Hanley, Jennifer A. “Reversing the Middle Passage: The American Colonization Society and Race Relations, 1816–1964.” Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 2009.


Weir, Donna Maxine. “Beyond Binaries: Creolized Forms of Resistance in African-American and Caribbean Literatures.” Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2000.


Wirzbicki, Peter. “Black Intellectuals, White Abolitionists, and Revolutionary Transcendentalists: Creating the Radical Intellectual Tradition in Antebellum Boston.” Ph.D., New York University, 2012.


Woodcock, Lowell. “Islands of Inequality: The Environmental History of Tobago and the Crisis of Development and Globalisation in the Caribbean 1763–2007.” University of Sussex, 2010.


Yarema, Allan E. “The American Colonization Society : An Avenue to Freedom?” University Press of America, 2006.


Younger, Karen Virginia Fisher. ““Africa Stretches Forth Her Hands Unto You”: Female Colonization Supporters in the Antebellum United States.” The Pennsylvania State University, 2006.




An island or not?

San Juan edicifios

When is an island surely an island? In Puerto Rico is common to hear people living in San Juan and adjacent suburbs referring to the rest of the country as “the island.” The implication is that San Juan’s metro region is not a physical part of the island of Puerto Rico, but it is instead linked to the United States, the American continent, or perhaps, to the world—as if the rest of the island is not. It further implies that the metro region, with its modern buildings, large professional workforce, and vibrant cultural life to which the elite and foreign visitors regularly attend, cannot possibly be an island. There seems to be a long history behind this split. To the urban-obsessed Spanish colonists, strategic port cities like San Juan stood at the crux of a complex network of communication that connected the colonies to Cadiz, Seville and ultimately, Madrid. The closer you were to the ports where ships brought news, products and instructions from the metropole, the closer you were to power. It was a matter of the empire assigning value to geography and this, in turn, determining power relationships. Circumstances have not changed much today. Yet, notwithstanding tensions between urban and rural populations, this reference to the rest of the island, to what is beyond the metro area as the proper island is a genuine state of mind that imagines space and power in relation to distance from the metropole.


Indeed, an island does not need to be a piece of land completely surrounded by water to be called an island. In other words, an island does not have to display all the physical traits of an island to be such. It simply needs to be its image, something resembling an island. The Random House Dictionary (2013) suggests this as one of its definitions for the term island. And the geo-political history of the Peninsula of Samaná, in the Dominican Republic, seems to confirm this idea. Samaná history also helps explain the epistemological assumption that those in lower ranks of power need to be controlled. It is the erotic pull that draws control over exotic islands emitting their naturally rebellious charm. An island is, thus, the erotized fresh and vivacious female requiring domesticity.

John Thomson, “Haiti, Hispaniola or St. Domingo,”

For most of the modern period, the Samaná Peninsula has been in an ambiguous category: an undefined status between an island and a peninsula. Today we know that it is a peninsula linked on the ground to the rest of the island of Hispaniola, the second largest in the Caribbean Sea. But that is not how it always was.

24x36 Poster; Map Of Hispaniola Haiti Dominican Republic 1767; Antique Reprint

Historical documents are to blame for our current uncertainty of the region’s real physical status in the past. They often refer to Samaná as an island, and historical maps frequently show it as a separated piece of land, but sometimes not. The pattern with most documents seems to point to a change after the mid 19th century. Historians are now trying to determine the exact last time Samaná was referred to as an island. The idea is to find what may have changed its geographical status; why it is no longer an island? It seems that geological or other natural changes may have lifted up, or dried up the “estéros” or swamps that stood between Samaná and the rest of Hispaniola. Was it the 1824 earthquake? Could it have been the new farming and irrigating methods extracting water from the Yuna? One thing is sure, that the present-day mangrove swamps of Maria Trinidad Sanchez, along the Rincón River’s estuary, is what is left of a larger wetland isolating Samaná and covering the neck from Bahia Escocesa to Bahia de Samaná.

24x36 Poster; Map Of Hispaniola Haiti Dominican Republic 1762; Antique Reprint

My scholarly interest goes beyond simply searching for the “event” that changed Samaná from an island to a peninsula. The reports we have from historical records show a persistent ambiguity about the nature of this region. It is very probable, as some historians have pointed out, that Samaná’s enigma resulted from occasional natural changes. At different times, the Yuna and Rincón estuaries at the neck may have flooded the area making passage through it almost impossible (in fact, a few of the colonial stories point exactly to this kind of experience). It may also have been that the region may have finally risen above the sea level after 1842, making land-access to Samaná easier.

Yet, what is most fascinating to me is to see how and when Samaná is presented as an island, and when is not. Its physical ambiguity, being sometimes accessible through land and sometimes not, lends Samaná to imaginative manipulation. Since you could never be completely sure about what it was (an island or a peninsula), you may call it whatever you felt it was right at the moment. So, looking at the contexts of these references to Samaná may offer us an insight about past geo-political perceptions of the regions.

My argument is that the rhetorical process of making Samaná an island or peninsula, in writing or in drawing, reveals at least two things. First, calling it an island or not is a matter of convenience. Claims for ownership would impact this perception, of course. Second, the perceived physical distance of Samaná in the minds of the authors and cartographers. If the region was seen as easily reachable, then, there is no mention of it as being an island: the distance to Samaná from Puerto Plata as opposed to the distance from Santo Domingo or Port-au-Prince.

Constitution Hayti Samana

This document is a portion of the 1805 Haytian constitution, also known as the Dessalines Constitution (Julia Gaffield made an interesting discovery about this documentHere is her blog). As mentioned at the bottom of the piece featured above, Samaná is not only considered part of Hayti, but it is included as an island.

At this time, Hayti claimed the entire archipelago of Hispaniola–not only the major island, but also all the smaller islands, islets and cays near its coastline. But this was also a time for regrouping and consolidating the gains made with independence of 1804. Haytian leaders could not yet enforce their claim over the eastern side– or more accurately, they could not yet liberate the island’s eastern side from slavery and European colonial yoke (French émigrés in Samaná still owned enslaved Haitians). The Spanish Santo Domingo was still under the control of some obstinate French soldiers led by Louis Marie Ferrand, who had arrived with Leclerc in 1802, and survived the resounding defeat at the hands of the united Haytian forces.

Not only did Samaná appear far from Port-au-Prince, but Haytian claim for it was only in name. It had no soliders there yet. And there was no other practical way of reaching this roadless region from the Haytian capital (which was at its exact opposite), but through water, the same way you reached an island.

Late 18th Century French naturalists wrote extensively about the natural wonders of Samaná. This was at a time when French expansionists impulses were checked by the Spanish control of Hispaniola’s larger eastern region. The case was different in Samaná since here the Spanish had but a precarious hold. So, the French writers’ focus of attention on this region shows more than the region’s wonders. It reveals what they thought was within their reach of controlling. The Samaná region, island or not, was begging to be controlled. I see no reason why these perceptions of geography would not have influenced Haytian leaders in 1805.

REVIEWS: Modernity Challenged, or how I learned to love others

English: Coat of arms of Cuba. Español: Escudo...

Coat of arms of Mexico. Español: Escudo Nacion...

Coat of arms of Mexico. Español: Escudo Nacional de México. Français : Armoiries du Mexique. 日本語: メキシコの国章。 Română: Stema Mexicului. Русский: Герб Мексики. Svenska: Mexikos statsvapen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Modernity (Photo credit: brian glanz)

Geoffrey Fox <> and Lorrin Thomas
<> have indulged us with two fine reviews:

1- Fox: “Frustrated Bourbons vs. Urban Reality in Old Mexico

2- Thomas: “Against A U.S.-Dominated Modernity

The theme of modernity, be it in Mexico, Cuba, or the United States, ties Fox and Thomas’ reviews together. Though one more than the other, both allude to the need of revising our interpretations of European modernity and to value those opposing it.  The power of the supposedly un-modern to frustrate aggressive Bourbon reforms may reveal more than just an incompetent colonial bureaucracy. Similarly, the intricate visions of de-nationalized, but racialized wandering dissident authors may help us appreciate a universal thirst for justice, betterment and order, a prerogative (seemingly) previously claimed by modernity.


Picture you as a sophisticated and street-wise Mexica healer walking
purposely on the “wrong side of town” in Bourbon “modern” Mexico City,
while exuding the distinctive aroma of traditional herbs– an
assortment of long cherished greens, which by now have grown to
include others from Africa (thanks to the importation of African
captives) and Asia (made available through the Manila Galleon). You
have made a name by resisting the medical “modern” bleed-treatment of
pious European-trained physicians in overcrowded colonial hospitals,
and perhaps by surviving a few close encounters with the inquisition.


Travel now ahead in time, but only for about a century. Picture you
again as a person of color, but this time fortunate enough to write
and travel to Cuba and the Harlem at a time when lynching was common,
states and provinces were passing laws forbidding interracial
marriages, and science seems to confirm ideas of the gradual
extinctions of non-White people. In your travels, as well as in your
writings, you oppose this new version of “modernity”: the USAmerican
“modernity” (thanks to Brian Owensby for the term). This is, in fact,
a neo-euro modernity, not that different from the Bourbon’s that
cannibalizes other states’ sovereignties and attempts to impose a
global “scientist” social order with racial difference at its
hierarchical social core. Your writing, not unlike the shamanic
practice in your previous incarnation as a Mexica healer opposing
modern Bourbon reforms, envisions a radically different world-order
that de-centers race and nations, and makes better claim for human
equality than what the European modern liberalism has done yet. Who
are you? And why should historians write about you?


In a seminal article about modernity, Richard Wolin admits the
profound failings of European modernity as a historical paradigm while
also arguing for its “benefit.” (1) The blessing is what he calls,
“cultural reflexivity,” or the ability to use a second order to
critically examine the first one. In other words, the euro-modernity
project, despite all of its deficiencies, has a trait, a device, if
you like, that allows for self-criticism through the appreciation of
the Other (i.e., Protestant Reformation, Enlightenment critique,
Romantic view of the exotic).


Latin American historians are perhaps more familiar with this idea
(than most other historians) through the studies of Bartolomé de las
Casas, called often the first “modern” (of many things). But
tragically, we are also well-versed with the problems in this rosy
view of pious compassion, and, even more terrifying, with the plethora
of “modern” followers of Gines de Sepulveda. Take for example Domingo
Faustino Sarmiento’s push for an uncompromising nationalist modernity,
a decidedly neo-euro modernity. Perhaps in desperation, American
patriot-nationalists like Sarmiento sought functional order and
validity from civilized Europe and the USA. Many Latin American
positivists would later follow the unfortunate natural logic of
evolutionism and scientific racialism. In their national projects, the
traditional, non-modern order would not be assimilated, not even
treated kindly, but extricated and expunged, to give way to a more
advanced, robust and brighter future where capitalist forms of
production were favored, and patriarchy and whiteness were once again
(if not more viciously) enthroned. This horrid image gives some
validity to Homi Bhabha’s argument that euro-modernity’s most serious
problem is its inability to assimilate or deal fairly with traditional
(ancient) practices.  Thus, after all, self-criticism might not be a
particularly strong trait of euro-modernity.


What are we left with, then? Don’t forget yet to give credit to
Emanuel Kant’s most sanguine interpretation of euro-modernity, which
asserts that euro-modern individuals are modern because they transcend
their parochial cosmos (perhaps an audacious depiction considering his
virulent racism). This enlargement of compassion, in fact, fueled many
Romantic reforms (including abolitionism). However, the existence of
this positive side to euro-modernity is not in question, but rather
its uniqueness (exceptionalism) and perhaps its comparative strength
or importance in the mix. The other side of Kant’s coin, in clear view
to euro-thinkers only after the rude awakening of both WWs, is better
expressed in the foucauldian grim articulation of power as a
historical point of inquiry (a grimmer and more totalizing turn in
thought from “class struggle”). Daniel Brunsetter puts it grislier in
coining the term “othercide:” euro-modernity’s tendency to kill the
Other. (2) Here, Europe’s modernity left us again naked and with
little room for love (bummer).


But then, from the ashes of a nihilist postmodernism, which found all
meta-histories, as well as all purposes of history simply distasteful
and useless, have risen a more clearly defined oppositional
scholarship, busy trying to decipher the ugly post-colonial reality
and searching for signs of origins other than euro’s pasts. It is the
Age of Heroines and Heroes all over again, but from humbler origins (a
theme long popular): the rise of the margins? From this utterly honest
political scholarship we hear clamors, like that of Dilip Gaonkar,
which entreat us to stop our obsession with European “modernity,” and
start listening to other modernities. From this paradigm, modernity is
not the monopoly of Europe anymore, but it is perhaps the universally
human impulse to find and negotiate order—it just happens throughout
history somewhat differently in time and space. (3) In fact, Sarmiento
could have easily written _Facundo_ in ancient Mesopotamia (_Epic of
Gilgamesh_). His consideration of Enkidu would have certainly
differed, however, from his treatment of the dispossessed
American-poor, Amerindian and Black people. And the questions we would
have asked would have been, how and why?


So, the anti-Bourbons and anti-USAmericans in these reviews may be
suggesting alternative modernities, perhaps a prodding for us to
follow similar tracks and look for modernities (as opposed to a single
modernity) all around and throughout the historical record.


1. Richard Wolin, ““Modernity”: The Peregrinations of a Contested
Historiographical Concept,” _The American Historical Review_ 116, no.
3 (2011): 741-751.
2. Daniel R. Brunsetter, _Tensions of Modernity: Las Casas and His
Legacy in the French Enlightenment_, (Routledge, 2012).
3. Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, ed. _Alternative modernities_ Vol. 12,
no. 3. (Duke University Press Books, 2001).

Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution – Simon Schama – Google Books

Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution – Simon Schama – Google Books.

Front Cover Schama, a well-known art historian, jumped ships to write a highly evocative and detailed history that should be central to the Black Atlantic. He did so after his popular work on A History of Britain, which should have given him the research background he needed to have written this work. It is arguably a history that only a British scholar could have written, and thus, a much needed one against the blinding American patriotic narrative. We should expect that his critics are not a few–we will get to that later, and mostly from the United States’ side.

I regret not having read it before.

In a way, this is a “British Atlantic History” done in reverse to what has been happening from the United States shores, which has emphasized the position of the former British North American colonies (i.e., 13 colonies) within the broader context of the English-speaking Atlantic. Schama, instead, raises the voices of those who has been writing about Blacks outside of the traditional U.S. patriotic paradigm by showing, more evocative than most, how for Blacks the rhetoric of freedom was clearer from the British than from the U.S. Patriots’ side. In doing so, he is able to help revise U.S. Black History.

Using tragedy to promote dependency

I wrote the post below in response to an attempt to use Camacho’s death for partisan purposes. The original post I read appeared in the otherwise admirable blog “Repeating Islands.” But it had first come from, written by Tim Padgett

“I am surprised to see such a partisan and pro-colonial (and ahistorical) post in this blog. The pro-statehood movement on the island has been on an evangelical-like impetus that ignores the facts for the “positive” vision.

The main reason Puerto Rico, as well as much of Latin America, has sunk into what it seems as social disarray (as seen in the surge of violence) is in fact because of its colonial status and the neo-liberal policies affecting the entire region. Adding Puerto Rico to the integral political structure of the colonial master (statehood) would not only miss the goal of producing a solution to the problems affecting the region, but it would simply be impossible.

Understanding the nature of nation-building and nationalism would help explain why the U.S. would find it impossible to assimilate the island as an equal. There are plenty of historical examples that would also highlight the foolishness of this idea. France in the Caribbean is perhaps the most salient one, where the colonial territories have been integral and full members of the French political apparatus (unlike Puerto Rico’s “commonwealth” status, which by the way, it reads radically different in the Spanish version).

And yet, the French “Overseas Departments” have not been nor will be in the same social or political level as the rest of France. They are rather dependencies “well treated,” or better yet, “people hanging from the borders of the more progressive nation that is France” (which happens to thrive at the historical expenses of their colonial possessions). No wonder the French have not accepted them as real social equals.

The U.S. seems farther behind the French in admitting this possibility with Puerto Rico–even less of accepting Puerto Ricans as full members of their society (in the continental U.S., they are considered “immigrants” in the process of becoming “Whites” as the Irish and Italians once were, if they are willing to shed away most of their cultural traits and join the “melting-pot”). So, there are enough evidences showing the final destination of the “statehood” pipe-dream.

Puerto Rico has a long history of reactionary and pro-colonial support, and this post seems to follow in such a tradition (this thought also relates to plantation owners in Cuba who sought union with the U.S., and discredited Dominican caudillos who wanted the U.S. to re-colonize their country in the 19th Century).

Yet, there are also traditions of more genuinely native and more creative lines of thinking that put a premium on emancipation, collaboration and fair equality rather than on pernicious social hierarchies. I suggest that we tap on these latter traditions, improve on them and rethink our future more brightly than joining a cause of futile begging for acceptance.”

Postcolonial Ecofeminism (Robert J. C. Young)

1863_world_map_You would not come to this class to read and learn about what you would normally get from standard media. So, the title of Monday’s discussion should not be a complete surprise. Its newness may require that you would read and meditate about these issues more carefully than you would with more familiar topics. These types of topics, nevertheless, would surely help you appreciate the human experience on the other side of nationalism.
battle-algiersYou already know that in this context postcoloniality means the people’s ambivalent experience and subordinate position even after independence from a colonial power. In other words, it is that state in which a former colony has nominal sovereignty because the former master (or new foreign ones) has not left entirely or has taken on new forms of domination. The struggle for freedom, thus, continues, not so much by pushing the foreign away, but in redefining the social structures that continues to promote inequality and subordination, which colonialism donated to the new nation (“inherited from colonialism”).

But what do ecology and feminism have to do with postcoloniality?

morroRobert J. C. Young’s challenge in chapter 5 is simply asking us to appreciate the perspective of the women who struggled against colonial and later postcolonial domination in India and other parts of Asia and Africa. Their experience is not totally transferable to other postcolonial female experiences because each group had faced different set of trials and had had different types of needs. Rather, it is the overarching theme of resisting a modern patriarchal nationalism that puts them together in the same crowd.

iron-ladies-The section titled “Gender Politics in India” illustrates how notions about traditional roles for women are hard to reject. Even Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the great reformer who appropriated ‘feminized’ modes of struggle, came at times to reinforce, instead of rejecting, conventional Hindu and puritanical Victorian concepts of women and femininity. Young vindicated Gandhi, though, by showing that he genuinely realized that women’s politics was more radical than most nationalism. It argued for equitable relations between men and women, sustainable connections to the land, and a life-style and medicine that encourage collective health. These are the contributions of postcolonial women and their politics.

Medeiros Murmuring CoastIn “Gender and Modernity” Young threw us several ideas about modernity that could easily mystify us. On the one hand, he wrote that technology and a politics of egalitarianism defines modernity. On the other, he asserted that (mythical) cultural nationalists and their obsession for a fabled past, where women stayed at home and were submissive, is all part of modernity. But his more interesting contribution, by far, was that there are several types of modernities, that there are different types of Third World modern experiences, and that even the West represent a diversity of modernities (think about how different is New Zeeland from the U.S.). The best explanation of modernity, however, is Young’s, and it appears in this section: the interaction of the West with the Rest.

Kongo Astronauts presents Postcolonial Dilemna Track #03 (Unended) – A psychotronic Film from DR Congo (2014) – Curated by SPARCK in collaboration with Kongo Astronauts for FUSE 37-2/Speculation.

Kongo Astronauts presents Postcolonial Dilemna Track #03 (Unended) – A psychotronic Film from DR Congo (2014) – Curated by SPARCK in collaboration with Kongo Astronauts for FUSE 37-2/Speculation.

Women’s struggle for equality and sustainability is the epitome of the postcolonial predicament according to the section “Women’s Movement after Independence.” While nationalist movements sought desperately to present a unified face during the conflicts against the direct colonial rule, after independence, the same nationalists (i.e., Religious nationalism) who preached equality and freedom tried relegating women to submission. Since the role of women actually degenerated with the “nation,” postcolonial feminism had been at the forefront of a “politics of egalitarianism that supports diversity rather than the cultural uniformity demanded for nationalism.” (99)

The section “Feminism and ecology” shows how “macho” nationalism continued with the same colonial politics of exploitation. It reinforced the same old social hierarchy; it exploited workers, women and the environment. Like the colonial government, the new nations colonized forests and minds in responses to market-oriented and scientific notions of the time. This brought deforestation and desertification to local economies and otherwise clean ecosystems.

All of this colonization was for the short-term commercial values of the marketplace, “trying to control nature just as patriarchy tries to control women.” (102) Women, however, because of their experience as cultivators and family enablers possessed repositories of knowledges about balances in nature and the effects of ecological disruptions. It is no wonder, then, that it were women activists who began the Chipko (tree huggers) movement and developed a philosophy of politics that resisted centralization, corruption and exploitation. Instead, they promoted justice, self-sufficiency, and empowerment of local knowledges.


In the section “What makes postcolonial feminism ‘postcolonial’?,” Young asked if postcolonial feminism amounted to a separate strand within postcolonial thought. His answer was simply no. In this section, Young addressed the malleability of postcolonial theory by explaining how feminism is at its core, and thus inseparable. It is also applicable to a wide variety of politics, and even though they might not include obvious gender perspectives, they all work from the same paradigm: the pursuit of collective justice and equality. These struggles may be waged inside the nation or in exile, as the examples of Radia Nasraoui and Gisèle Halimi shows.

Men of the Untouchables Caste, Holding their Daughters - Poodalur 1946In the last section, “The untouchables: caste,” Young readily admitted that the postcolonial struggle is not limited to the legacy of the colonies. There are older vices that plagued modern society. In the Indian example, we see the caste system, which is much older than the British colonial government. The plight of the Dalits is its most explicit case injustice. “A quarter of the Indian population is made of such Dalits.” And they do most of the menial jobs and live segregated from the rest, with little access to anything we normally see as good from modernity.

In class, I want you to think seriously about the meaning of feminism and its opposite, namely, patriarchalism. How women’s social position as historically close to the land and responsible for sustaining families shaped their politics differently to that of men.

You should also ponder over the dark side of macho-nationalism, its insistence on cultural uniformity. Most importantly, I expect you to deliberate on the reasons and causes of nationalisms continuing with the same unfair hierarchies imposed by colonial rules, and with the exploitations inaugurated by the colonial masters.

How do you fit Young in Benedict Anderson’s frame of thought? What parts correspond, even if slightly, and what elements are diametrically apart?

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