Musab YounisNov 13, 2023
On the Scale of the World
The Formation of Black Anticolonial Thought
University of California Press 2022
On the Scale of the World: The Formation of Black Anticolonial Thought (U California Press, 2022) examines the reverberations of anticolonial ideas that spread across the Atlantic between the two world wars. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Black intellectuals in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean established theories of colonialism and racism as structures that must be understood, and resisted, on a global scale. In this richly textured book, Musab Younis gathers the work of writers and poets, journalists and editors, historians and political theorists whose insights speak urgently to contemporary movements for liberation.
Bringing together literary and political texts from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, France, the United States, and elsewhere, Younis excavates a vibrant and understudied tradition of international political thought. From the British and French colonial occupations of West Africa to the struggles of African Americans, the hypocrisy of French promises of 'assimilation, ' and the many-sided attacks on the sovereignties of Haiti, Liberia, and Ethiopia, On the Scale of the World shows how racialized imperialism provoked critical responses across the interwar Black Atlantic. By transcending the boundaries of any single imperial system, these counternarratives of global order enabled new ways of thinking about race, nation, and empire.
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.