We have seen the awakening of national consciousness in peoples who have for centuries lived in dependence upon some other power... In different places it takes different forms, but it is happening everywhere. The wind of change is blowing and whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact. We must all accept it as a fact, and our national policies must take account of it.
—Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of Great Britain
Address to the Parliament of South Africa (1960)

Small nations are like indecently dressed women. They tempt the evil-minded.
—Julius K. Nyerere, President of Tanzania (1964)

AT THE END of the Second World War much of the world was controlled, either directly or indirectly, by European overseas empires. The steady dismantling of these empires during the latter half of the twentieth century was one of the greatest political developments in modern history and it remains one of the most controversial. For many citizens of the colonizing states it represented a sad finale to their country's days as a world power, but for colonized peoples it was often the long-awaited day of national liberation and the first step into a hopeful but uncertain future as an independent nation. Yet the path from empire to independence varied greatly from one case to another. In some instances it was a peaceful and smooth transfer of power while in others it came only after bloody and chaotic conflict. Some newly independent states saw a strong and cohesive national identity emerge from (or perhaps despite) the colonial experience. However in others, the formerly colonized societies divided bitterly along ethnic, tribal, and religious lines. Many of the world's most seemingly intractable political problems in our own time have resulted from the process of decolonization.

This reading-intensive colloquium takes a comparative approach and focuses on the causes and consequences of decolonization, primarily in Africa and Asia. The study of decolonization is a relatively new and exciting field for historians, and this course will introduce students to some of the leading research as well as to postcolonial literature and critical theory. Course readings will be drawn from a wide range of historical scholarship and literature that address the political, cultural, social, economic and psychological dimensions of decolonization and its lessons and legacies in our own time.

David Campion
Pamplin Associate Professor of History
Miller 409 | MSC 41

Lewis & Clark College
0615 SW Palatine Hill Road
Portland, Oregon 97219 USA

Tel: 503.768.7435
Fax: 503.768.7418
Email: campion@lclark.edu

Class Hours:
MW 3:00-4:30
Miller 319

Office Hours:
MWF 10:15-12:15
(or by appointment)
Miller 409

Course Requirements

Schedule of Classes

Assignment Guidelines

Decolonization in Film

Prof. Campion's Other Courses

Top (left to right):
The Battle of Algiers, 1966 © Criterion
Sikh refugees during the partition of India and Pakistan, 1947 © Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Julius Nyerere after the constitutional conference ending British rule and confirming independence for Tanzania, 1961 © Bettmann/CORBIS
The Rt. Hon. Chris Patten, Last Governor of Hong Kong, 30 June 1997 © BBC
Kikuyu detainees during the Kenya Emergency, Nairobi, April 1954 © Popperfoto/Retrofile

Bottom (left to right):
Handover Ceremony, Hong Kong Convention Center, 1 July 1997 © Popperfoto/Reuters
Pied Noir boy in Algiers, March 1962 © Getty Images
Union Jack lowered after the death of King Fuad, Cairo Citadel, 1936 © Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II on a state visit to Ghana, 1961 © UPI/Bettmann/Corbis
Mau Mau suspect in the detention center at Thomson's Falls District, Kenya, January 1953 © Getty Images

Created by campion@lclark.edu | Updated February 2016