Colonialism  book cover
1st Edition


ISBN 9781405846301
Published August 23, 2007 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

Europe’s rapacious hunger for other people’s lands is one of the key shaping forces of our contemporary world.  Everything is touched by our colonial past, from the way we see the world to the food we eat. Our contemporary preoccupations and ills – from globalization to humanitarian intervention to international terrorism – have colonialism somewhere in their genetic make-up.

The character and policies of contemporary international organizations – from the United Nations to the European Union - have also been deeply affected by the colonial inheritance of their members, whether as perpetrators or “victims”. 

Weaving together the complex strands of history and politics into one compact narrative, this book addresses the key theories of colonialism, examining them against contemporary realities. It goes on to looks at how the different policies of colonisers have had profoundly contradictory effects on the way different empires ended in the 20th century. These endings in turn affected the entire nature of modern day international relations. It also exposes the moral ambiguities of colonialism and the hypocrisies, which underlay colonial policies in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Table of Contents

1. European colonialism before the 'new imperialism'.  2. The 'new imperialism': colonialism to the First World War.  3. The interwar years: colonialism in question.  4. European 'cultures' of colonial rule.  5. Colonialism after the Second World War: the cold war and the United Nations.  6. Decolonization and neocolonialism.  7. The many faces of post-colonialism



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Norrie MacQueen is a senior lecturer in international relations at the University of Dundee. He has lived, worked and travelled extensively throughout the colonial and post-colonial world. He is the author of many books including The Decolonization of Portuguese Africa (1997) and Peacekeeping and the International System (2006).


"Colonialism is that rare book of historical synthesis, which combines a solid empirical base with a well-informed framework of analysis.  MacQueen's volume will serve as a clear and jargon-free introduction to that which is a most fundamental aspect of the construction of the modern European world."

Patrick Chabal, Kings College London, UK