Making a World after Empire — 2010

The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives

Edited by Christopher J. Lee

“Readers interested in Bandung can do no better than consult the volume of essays edited by Christopher Lee, Making a World After Empire.

Pankaj Mishra, author of From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia

“This important collection of essays points to a phenomenon that has been lost in the common assumption of a worldwide movement from colonial empires to nation-states: the richer imagination of people in those empires and their quest for alternative modes of political connection.”

Frederick Cooper — author of Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History

“(Making a World after Empire) is a welcome addition to the literature on the Bandung Conference.”

Tan See Seng — Comparativ

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In April 1955, twenty-nine countries from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East came together for a diplomatic conference in Bandung, Indonesia, intending to define the direction of the postcolonial world. Representing approximately two-thirds of the world’s population, the Bandung conference occurred during a key moment of transition in the mid-twentieth century—amid the global wave of decolonization that took place after the Second World War and the nascent establishment of a new cold war world order in its wake. Participants such as Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Zhou Enlai of China, and Ahmed Sukarno of Indonesia seized this occasion to attempt the creation of a political alternative to the dual threats of Western neocolonialism and the cold war interventionism of the United States and the Soviet Union.

The essays in this volume explore the diverse repercussions of this event, tracing the diplomatic, intellectual, and sociocultural histories that have emanated from it. Making a World after Empire consequently addresses the complex intersection of postcolonial history and cold war history and speaks to contemporary discussions of Afro-Asianism, empire, and decolonization, thus reestablishing the conference's importance in twentieth-century global history.

Contributors: Michael Adas, Laura Bier, James R. Brennan, G. Thomas Burgess, Antoinette Burton, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Julian Go, Christopher J. Lee, Jamie Monson, Jeremy Prestholdt, Denis M. Tull


Christopher J. Lee is a Lecturer in the Department of International Relations and at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Table of Contents

  • Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Contributors
  • Introduction
    Between a Moment and an Era:
    The Origins and Afterlives of Bandung
    Christopher J. Lee
  • Part One
    Framings: Concepts, Politics, History
  • Chapter One
    The Legacies of Bandung:
    Decolonization and the Politics of Culture
    Dipesh Chakrabarty
  • Chapter Two
    Contested Hegemony: The Great War and the Afro-Asian Assault on the Civilizing Mission
    Michael Adas
  • Chapter Three
    Modeling States and Sovereignty: Postcolonial Constitutions in Asia and Africa
    Julian Go
  • Part Two
    Alignments and Nonalignments: Movements, Projects, Outcomes
  • Chapter Four
    Feminism, Solidarity, and Identity in the Age of Bandung: Third World Women in the Egyptian Women’s Press
    Laura Bier
  • Chapter Five
    Radio Cairo and the Decolonization of East Africa, 1953–64
    James R. Brennan
  • Chapter Six
    Mao in Zanzibar: Nationalism, Discipline, and the (De)Construction of Afro-Asian Solidarities
    G. Thomas Burgess
  • Chapter Seven
    Working Ahead of Time: Labor and Modernization during the Construction of the TAZARA Railway, 1968–86
    Jamie Monson
  • Chapter Eight
    Tricontinentalism in Question: The Cold War Politics of Alex La Guma and the African National Congress
    Christopher J. Lee
  • Part Three
    The Present: Predicaments, Practices, Speculation
  • Chapter Nine
    China’s Engagement with Africa: Scope, Significance, and Consequences
    Denis M. Tull
  • Chapter Ten
    Superpower Osama: Symbolic Discourse in the Indian Ocean Region after the Cold War
    Jeremy Prestholdt
  • Epilogue
    The Sodalities of Bandung:
    Toward a Critical 21st-century History
    Antoinette Burton
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index
  • Winner of the 2010 Ali Sastroamidjojo Award
  • An AfricaFocus 2011 New & Notable Book
  • A Choice Significant University Press Title for Undergraduates, 2010–11
Cover of 'Making a World after Empire'

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