Michael Goebel

Anti-Imperial Metropolis

Interwar Paris and the Seeds of Third World Nationalism

Cambridge University Press 2015

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Michael Goebel‘s Anti-Imperial Metropolis: Interwar Paris and the Seeds of Third World Nationalism (Cambridge University Press, 2015) thinks globally while focusing on the local,...

Michael Goebel‘s Anti-Imperial Metropolis: Interwar Paris and the Seeds of Third World Nationalism (Cambridge University Press, 2015) thinks globally while focusing on the local, everyday histories of non-Europeans in Paris in the 1920s and 30s. Examining the myriad ways that Paris functioned as a hatchery or clearinghouse for the development of anti-imperial ideas and movements, the book argues that the social history of migration is central to any understanding of the political and intellectual histories of nationalism, from the interwar years through the period of decolonizations that followed the Second World War.

Anti-Imperial Metropolis traces the experiences and statuses of different categories of non-Europeans in the city, groups identified variously as French citizens, colonial subjects, and foreigners. Interested in how non-European students, workers, and activists from various parts of the globe met and interacted in Paris, the book details how politicization happened when it did, and how differences between communities revealed crucial inconsistencies and contradictions in the ideological underpinnings and workings of imperialism itself. Moving from the private worlds of non-Europeans as they lived day-to-day in the city, to the work of mutual aid associations, to the impact these communities and their exchanges could have on international diplomacy, the book reveals much about the imbrication of culture and politics. Drawing on a wealth of archival material from several countries, Anti-Imperial Metropolis offers readers new perspective on Paris’ interwar past while making a significant contribution to the transnational history of empires and their undoings.

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