Florian WagnerJul 7, 2022
Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982
Cambridge University Press 2022
Today I talked to Florian Wagner about his new book Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982 (Cambridge UP, 2022).
From its founding in 1893, to its decline in the 1970s, the International Colonial Institute (ICI) was one of the most powerful nongovernmental actors on the colonial scene. Styling itself a reformist institution, the ICI applied the tools of transnational scientific exchange to “rationalize” the practice of colonial rule. As part of this reformist project, members of the ICI mobilized progressive ideas in ways that built broad political consensus across Europe while also furthering inequality, exploitation, and segregation in the Global South, even beyond the end of formal empire. Tracing the long history of the ICI reveals fundamental continuities, argues Florian Wagner, that colonialist narratives of change obscure.
Elisa Prosperetti is an Assistant Professor in International History at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. Her research focuses on the connected histories of education and development in postcolonial West Africa. Contact her at here.