It is impossible to write about the end of the European empires without giving some consideration to the emergence of anti-colonial ideas in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Yet the first thing which aspiring students of anti-colonialism are likely to notice is the absence of a general text devoted to the subject. Although at one time this historiographical oversight could be ascribed to the reluctance of modern historians to engage in large projects devoted to abstract political concepts, we are now awash with semi-popular investigations of notions such as internationalism, global government, environmentalism, human rights and the Third World. Vijay Prashad’s study of this last phenomenon comes closest to offering a broad overview of the non-European response to the decline of European imperialism . Perhaps the negative connotations of the terminology play a part in explaining this omission, and the corollary neglect of non-alignment and the Non-Aligned Movement, whose history overlaps that of anti-colonialism, offers some corroboration for this supposition. There are difficulties in analysing a movement which is defined by what it is against, particularly when the concept against which it is defined is as large in scope and as contested as colonialism or imperialism.
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