Empire, Colony, Genocide

Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History

Edited by A. Dirk Moses
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 502
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  • Book Info
    Empire, Colony, Genocide
    Book Description:

    In 1944, Raphael Lemkin coined the term "genocide" to describe a foreign occupation that destroyed or permanently crippled a subject population. In this tradition,Empire, Colony, Genocideembeds genocide in the epochal geopolitical transformations of the past 500 years: the European colonization of the globe, the rise and fall of the continental land empires, violent decolonization, and the formation of nation states. It thereby challenges the customary focus on twentieth-century mass crimes and shows that genocide and "ethnic cleansing" have been intrinsic to imperial expansion. The complexity of the colonial encounter is reflected in the contrast between the insurgent identities and genocidal strategies that subaltern peoples sometimes developed to expel the occupiers, and those local elites and creole groups that the occupiers sought to co-opt. Presenting case studies on the Americas, Australia, Africa, Asia, the Ottoman Empire, Imperial Russia, and the Nazi "Third Reich," leading authorities examine the colonial dimension of the genocide concept as well as the imperial systems and discourses that enabled conquest.Empire, Colony, Genocideis a world history of genocide that highlights what Lemkin called "the role of the human group and its tribulations."

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-214-0
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Section I: Intellectual History and Conceptual Questions
    • Chapter 1 Empire, Colony, Genocide: Keywords and the Philosophy of History
      (pp. 3-54)
      A. Dirk Moses

      Empire,” “colony,” and “genocide” are keywords particularly laden with controversial connotations. Few are the societies that were not once part of empires, whether its core or periphery. Few are the societies that are not the product of a colonization process, whether haphazard or planned. Many are the genocides that have marked imperial conquest through the ages. What is more, the first two of these terms are generally viewed through the lens of their nineteenth and twentieth century relatives, imperialism and colonialism, words of implicit opprobrium because they connote European domination of the non-European world. Imperialism was coined in the middle...

    • Chapter 2 Anticolonialism in Western Political Thought: The Colonial Origins of the Concept of Genocide
      (pp. 55-80)
      Andrew Fitzmaurice

      Most chapters in this book are concerned by the degree to which the term “genocide,” coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944 and adopted by the United Nations in 1948, can be used to understand the devastation wrought by colonization over the past five hundred years.¹ This chapter will invert that question: that is, it will show that Lemkin’s understanding of genocide developed out of a critique of colonization that had its origins in the sixteenth century and was sustained by successive generations of writers on natural and human rights.

      In order to understand that the concept of genocide is itself...

    • Chapter 3 Are Settler-Colonies Inherently Genocidal? Re-reading Lemkin
      (pp. 81-101)
      John Docker

      In this chapter, I will explore the conjoining of genocide and colonialism in the writings of Raphael Lemkin, the brilliant Polish-Jewish jurist (1900–1959). I will highlight three aspects of his thought: First, that the concept of genocide as created by Lemkin offers the groundwork for the delineation and discussion of different kinds of genocide in history—for example, genocide as episode or genocide as a more extended process. Second, that Lemkin’s concept of genocide links settler-colonies and genocide in a constitutive and inherent relationship. Finally, that Lemkin, in his published work, but more powerfully in his unpublished manuscripts, developed...

    • Chapter 4 Structure and Event: Settler Colonialism, Time, and the Question of Genocide
      (pp. 102-132)
      Patrick Wolfe

      Introducing his first collection in this series, Dirk Moses had favorable things to say about the term “logic of elimination,” which I coined some years ago to express the essential characteristic of the settler-colonial project.¹ I offered this term, rather than “genocide,” to mark both the specificity of settler colonialism and its positive dimensions, in particular the multifarious procedures whereby settler-colonial societies have sought to eliminate the problem of indigenous heteronomy through the biocultural assimilation of indigenous peoples. Whatever else one may wish to say about this approach, it does seem to beg the question of genocide. Thus Moses took...

    • Chapter 5 “Crime Without a Name”: Colonialism and the Case for “Indigenocide”
      (pp. 133-147)
      Raymond Evans

      The “composite mathematician” Nicolaus Bourbaki, in developing a range of theorems across some two-dozen volumes of theÉléments de Mathematique, invented a symbol that has the appearance of a large, bold ‘Z’ with rounded corners—rather like a roadside warning sign. It is inserted helpfully into texts to denote points at which argument becomes potentially slippery or contentious. This symbol is called atournant dangereux:a precarious corner in the evolution of an argument’s logic. At noisy meetings of the Bourbakis (as the French mathematicians engaged upon the grand project were called) it was common for speakers, enunciating faulty theorems,...

    • Chapter 6 Colonialism and Genocides: Notes for the Analysis of a Settler Archive
      (pp. 148-161)
      Lorenzo Veracini

      In this chapter I propose to consider a Western settler consciousness as a discursive and ideological practice utilizing a “settler archive” that was constituted through numerous passages of political, religious, and colonial histories during the last five centuries. Whereas the archeology of a number of other types of colonial imagination has been approached authoritatively already, the settler consciousness of the European gaze has yet to find its Edward Said. This archive—constantly tested, updated, added to, in progress, and continuously transforming through time—was (and is) readily available to be mobilized in different contexts and for different objectives.¹ I propose...

    • Chapter 7 Biopower and Modern Genocide
      (pp. 162-180)
      Dan Stone

      Two striking quotations—from Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben—provide my starting point. They illustrate the “biopolitical approach,” that is to say, they emphasize the need to understand genocide as a result of the modern state’s control over the life and death of its citizens:

      The existence in question is no longer the juridical existence of sovereignty; at stake is the biological existence of a population. If genocide is indeed the dream of modern powers, this is not because of a recent return of the ancient right to kill; it is because power is situated and exercised at the level...

  5. Section II: Empire, Colonization, and Genocide
    • Chapter 8 Empires, Native Peoples, and Genocide
      (pp. 183-204)
      Mark Levene

      Any serious attempt to understand genocide in its broadest dimensions across time and space cannot but involve questions about the origins of violence.¹ This, however, might lead to a broader question still, one arguably encapsulated in the recent plea by A. Dirk Moses that scholars in the field need to “try to imagine genocides of modernity as part of a single process rather than merely in comparative (and competitive) terms.”² Moses’s point is an extremely provocative one, not least because in posing that there might be asingle process,he almost at one fell swoop challenges an overriding wisdom that...

    • Chapter 9 Serial Colonialism and Genocide in Nineteenth-Century Cambodia
      (pp. 205-228)
      Ben Kiernan

      Most genocidal regimes display not only racial or religious hatreds, but other ideological preoccupations as well. Genocidal thinking usually includes expansionist or irredentist territorial demands, an agrarian ideology vaunting supposedly superior land use, and a cult of antiquity envisaging return to a pristine era of ethnic purity, military superiority, or cultural dominance. This combination of ethnic and agrarian visions with military and territorial ambitions makes colonial conquest a common context for genocide.¹ In Cambodia’s case, colonialism and genocide are multiply intertwined. In the two centuries before the Khmer Rouge genocide of 1975–79, the country suffered four colonial conquests of...

    • Chapter 10 Genocide in Tasmania: The History of an Idea
      (pp. 229-252)
      Ann Curthoys

      It is a paradox of world history that while Tasmania, one of Australia’s six states and an island to the south of the Australian mainland, has long and frequently been cited internationally as having witnessed a clear-cut case of genocide, such a characterization is rarely adopted within Australia. The aim of this chapter is to elucidate how this came to be so. In the course of attempting to historicize and explain this paradox, I will explore the complex history of ideas about the rapid decline of indigenous populations in the wake of colonization, and the ways these ideas have been...

    • Chapter 11 “The aborigines . . . were never annihilated, and still they are becoming extinct”: Settler Imperialism and Genocide in Nineteenth-century America and Australia
      (pp. 253-270)
      Norbert Finzsch

      Genocides in modern history tend to be perceived as chronologically limited occurrences that punctuate time, rather than as repetitive and enduring processes. They paradigmatically culminate in historicaleventslike the holocaust of 1941–1945 or the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey between 1915 and 1918, which have a plot and are narratable in a successive manner.² Although it is intuitive to perceive genocides in this way, it fails to grasp the implications of far-reaching policies and practices that operate below the threshold of public perception and political debate, but that may be no less genocidal than spectacular eruptions of...

    • Chapter 12 Navigating the Cultural Encounter: Blackfoot Religious Resistance in Canada (c. 1870–1930)
      (pp. 271-295)
      Blanca Tovías

      The Blackfoot Confederacy comprised an alliance of of three First Nations, that occupied both sides of the future Canadian-US border zone and shared a common language and culture.¹ Dominating a vast territory with their combined strength and their adoption of the horse and firearms in the first half of the eighteenth century, the Blackfoot, like other Native peoples of the Great Plains, relied on the buffalo for their survival. Each summer, “when the saskatoons were ripe in the thickets along the river,” the bands of each tribe camped together, hunted buffalo, and prepared for the most important ceremony of their...

    • Chapter 13 From Conquest to Genocide: Colonial Rule in German Southwest Africa and German East Africa
      (pp. 296-324)
      Dominik J. Schaller

      The German colonial enterprise faced a deep crisis in 1907. Major revolts had seriously threatened colonial rule in German Southwest Africa (GSWA; present-day Namibia) and German East Africa (GEA; present-day Tanzania). The German state had to mobilize vast resources to suppress these uprisings, including the deployment of more than 14,000 German soldiers in GSWA alone. The human costs of the wars in the two colonies were also high. Whereas about 1,500 German soldiers lost their lives, about 60,000 Herero, 10,000 Nama and up to 250,000 Ngoni, Ngindo, Matumbi, and members of other ethnic groups were either directly killed or starved...

    • Chapter 14 Internal Colonization, Inter-imperial Conflict and the Armenian Genocide
      (pp. 325-342)
      Donald Bloxham

      The “colonization” of the title does not refer to the extension and consolidation of Turkic settlement in the region of Anatolia—the area that forms most of the modern Republic of Turkey and most of the focus of this study. This is a modern story, taking as its point of departure the given fact of the existence of Ottomania as the last in a long line of Middle Eastern imperia (dominated at various times by Christians, Muslims, and rulers of neither faith), not seeking to question the bases or legitimacy of Ottoman rule as established in the late medieval and...

    • Chapter 15 Genocidal Impulses and Fantasies in Imperial Russia
      (pp. 343-371)
      Robert Geraci

      Raphael Lemkin, who coined the word genocide, defined it as follows in his 1944 bookAxis Rule in Occupied Europe: “Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killing of all the members of the nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aimed at destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.” Component actions of such a plan, Lemkin wrote, would be those that pursue “the disintegration of the political and social institutions,...

    • Chapter 16 Colonialism and Genocide in Nazi-occupied Poland and Ukraine
      (pp. 372-400)
      David Furber and Wendy Lower

      In early 1940, SS chief Heinrich Himmler rode through occupied Poland with his friend, the Nazi poet laureate Hanns Johst. Asserting that the Vavel, the centuries-long seat of Polish kings, was a product of Germany’s civilizing work in Poland, Johst disparaged Poland with standard colonial rhetoric: “The Poles are not a state-building people. They lack the most basic prerequisites. I drove with the Reichsführer-SS up and down that land. A country with so little sense for artful landscape planning, which cannot even deal with the style of a village, has no claim to any sort of independent political status within...

  6. Section III: Subaltern Genocide
    • Chapter 17 Genocide from Below: The Great Rebellion of 1780–82 in the Southern Andes
      (pp. 403-423)
      David Cahill

      In the late eighteenth century, mass rebellion swept like a firestorm throughout southern Peru and Bolivia, with secondary outbreaks ignited in Argentina and northwards as far as Venezuela.¹ The rebellion was long in coming. It followed nearly two decades of mounting protest revolts in the highlands and more serious urban insurrections. Those open, violent protests were directed generally against the deleterious consequences for colonial subjects of the Bourbon reform program after c. 1740 that aimed at a root-and-branch restructuring of the empire, and specifically against the heavy-handed and venal implementation of successive reforms by provincial governors and their local allies....

    • Chapter 18 The Brief Genocide of Eurasians in Indonesia, 1945/46
      (pp. 424-439)
      Robert Cribb

      During the closing months of 1945 and the first months of 1946, a small and little-known genocide took place in Indonesia. The victims were members of Indonesia’s mixed-race Eurasian community, the perpetrators were ethnic Indonesian nationalists, and the context was the difficult aftermath of the Japanese occupation of the Netherlands Indies that included the declaration of Indonesian independence in August 1945 and attempts by the Dutch to restore the colonial authority of the Netherlands Indies. The genocide was one of history’s small number of genocides directed against a settler community at a time of dramatic political change. They were part...

    • Chapter 19 Savages, Subjects, and Sovereigns: Conjunctions of Modernity, Genocide, and Colonialism
      (pp. 440-460)
      Alexander Hinton

      The savage. The subject. The sovereign. These notions mark significant contours in the conjunction of genocide and colonialism. We have “savages,” such as the Taino of Española, who are excluded as subjects and hunted down by colonial powers like “rabid” animals. We have “savages” who are marked for transformation into colonial “subjects”—like so many Native American tribes and the Aborigines—and, in the process, lose their lives, family members, and distinctive traditions. And we have colonial “subjects” who aspire for sovereignty and, upon attaining it, turn back upon their own newly perceived “subjects” and engage in mass murder—frequently...

  7. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 461-472)
  8. Contributors
    (pp. 473-478)
  9. Index
    (pp. 479-492)