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Britain, France and the Decolonization of Africa

Future Imperfect?

Looking at decolonization in the conditional tense, this volume teases out the complex and uncertain ends of British and French empire in Africa during the period of ‘late colonial shift’ after 1945. Rather than view decolonization as an inevitable process, the contributors together explore the crucial historical moments in which change was negotiated, compromises were made, and debates were staged. Three core themes guide the analysis: development, contingency and entanglement. The chapters consider the ways in which decolonization was governed and moderated by concerns about development and profit. A complementary focus on contingency allows deeper consideration of how colonial powers planned for ‘colonial futures’, and how divergent voices greeted the end of empire. Thinking about entanglements likewise stresses both the connections that existed between the British and French empires in Africa, and those that endured beyond the formal transfer of power.

254 pages | 6 1/5 x 9 1/4

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Table of Contents

"Introduction: development, contingency and entanglement:
decolonization in the conditional
Andrew W. M. Smith and Chris Jeppesen

Section 1 Development

1. Nation, state and agency: evolving historiographies of African
Michael Collins

2. ‘The winds of change are blowing economically’:
the Labour Party and British overseas development,
Charlotte Lydia Riley

3. ‘Oil will set us free’: the hydrocarbon industry and the
Algerian decolonization process
Marta Musso

Section 2 Contingency

4. Future imperfect: colonial futures, contingencies and the
end of French empire
Andrew W. M. Smith

5. The dynamics of anti-apartheid: international solidarity,
human rights and decolonization
Robert Skinner

Section 3 Entanglement

6. ‘A worthwhile career for a man who is not entirely
self-seeking’: service, duty and the Colonial Service
during decolonization
Chris Jeppesen

7. Protecting empire from without: francophone African migrant
workers, British West Africa and French efforts to maintain
power in Africa, 1945–1960
Joanna Warson

Conclusion: the conditional as a category
Chris Jeppesen and Andrew W. M. Smith

Afterword: Achilles and the tortoise: the tortoise’s view of late
colonialism and decolonization
Martin Shipway


Select bibliography

Index "

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