Cold War Assemblages: Decolonization to Digital, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Cold War Assemblages

Decolonization to Digital, 1st Edition

By Bhakti Shringarpure


206 pages

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Hardback: 9780367196943
pub: 2019-04-03
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This book bridges the gap between the simultaneously unfolding histories of postcoloniality and the forty-five-year ideological and geopolitical rivalry between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Not only did the superpowers rely upon the decolonizing world to further imperial agendas, but the postcolony itself was shaped, epistemologically and materially, by Cold War discourses, policies, narratives, and paradigms. Ruptures and appropriated trajectories in the postcolonial world can be attributed to the ways in which the Cold War became the afterlife of European colonialism. Through a speculative assemblage, this book connects the dots, deftly taking the reader from Frantz Fanon to Aaron Swartz, and from assassinations in the Third World to American multiculturalism. Whether the Cold War subverted the dream of decolonization or created a compromised cultural sphere, this book makes those rich palimpsests visible.


"Bhakti Shringarpure's book is a necessary intervention in the intellectual history of the Cold War and the postcolony. In showing that these histories cannot be separated, Shringarpure also shows how both are 'embedded in futures to come.' Anyone interested in political violence, revolutionary time, radicalism and political theory must reckon with Shringarpure's analysis."

— Sean Jacobs, The New School and "Africa is a Country"

"Shringarpure goes beneath the skin of postcolonialism and finds the Cold War. Here is the brutality of colonial violence - the harsh use of the stick, surely, but also the enforcement of starvation. Her book slips through the minds of major thinkers of decolonization, finding so much about them that has been set aside by the narrower concerns of North Atlantic postcolonial studies. This is criticism with a foot deeply sunk into the mud of the South."

— Vijay Prashad, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

"This is an important rethinking of postcolonial studies today. Shringarpure’s provocative book underscores the urgency of bringing together studies of colonialism with studies of the Cold War, and offers a compelling methodology for doing this work. Clearly written and bold, Cold War Assemblages questions widely-touted figures and approaches from Gandhi to close reading and 'openness' in the digital realm, and offers in the place of depoliticized reading and teaching strategies a 'red thread' that ties together the US-American university landscape and culture industry with the historical and on-going impacts of colonialism and Cold War violence in the Global South."

— Kerry Bystrom, Associate Professor of English and Human Rights and Associate Dean of the College at Bard College Berlin, A Liberal Arts University

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cold War Assemblages

1. Epistemic Bifurcations: Fanon, Gandhi, and the Failure of Theory

2. Dying Before Their Time: Lumumba, Cabral, and Sankara

3. Cold War Disciplinarity: Postcolonial Studies and Its Discontents

4. The Cold War Paradigm: A Trajectory of Literary Canons

Epilogue: The Postcolony Is a Cold War Ruin

About the Author

Bhakti Shringarpure is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Connecticut and editor-in-chief of Warscapes magazine.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Cultures of the Global Cold War

Routledge Studies in Cultures of the Global Cold War aims to invigorate research on the Cold War beyond the US-USSR bipolar framework, to focus on what is now called the Global South - Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. These sites have both been impacted by, and have transformed in turn, the global engagement of the Cold War and its cultural and political discourses. Moreover, the series focuses on cultural production in these regions to understand how ideological battles intertwined with direct violence in the Cold War’s "hot zones." The series invites monographs and edited collections that historicize and trace genealogies of the conceptual tools and methodologies informing current debates stemming from the Cold War period.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please contact the Series Editors, Monica Popescu (, Katherine Zien ( and Sandeep Banerjee (sandeep.banerjee

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century