Seminar by Alanna O’Malley: “Undetermined Self-Determination: The Afterlives of Global South Anti-colonial Solidarity at the United Nations” | 京都大学 東南アジア地域研究研究所


Seminar by Alanna O’Malley: “Undetermined Self-Determination: The Afterlives of Global South Anti-colonial Solidarity at the United Nations”

Title: Undetermined Self-Determination: The Afterlives of Global South Anti-colonial Solidarity at the United Nations

Speaker: Alanna O’Malley is Associate Professor of International History at Leiden University in The Netherlands and an expert in the United Nations, the Global South and the history of international relations. She is Principal Investigator of the project: “Challenging the Liberal World Order from Within, the Invisible History of the United Nations and the Global South,” funded by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council.

Yuan Zhou is a Research Associate at Graduate School of Law, Kobe University. He specializes in international relations and political communication, focusing on China. His work has been published or is forthcoming in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Chinese Political Science, Social Science Computer Review, Asian Journal of Communication, Journal of Human Rights, among others. He holds a PhD in political science from Kobe University.
Tomoko Takahashi is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University. In the field of International Relations, she studies international institutions from the perspective of states, and especially focuses on China and the Global South. She holds a PhD from the University of Tokyo.

Abstract: During the 1950s and early 1960s, the campaign for decolonization is often regarded as having reached its zenith, largely due to the solidarity between the Global South actorswho drove the process forward. What was remarkable about the solidarity of these actors was that from Africa to South America to South-East Asia, nationalist leaders and international advocates consolidated their different visions of world order, and conceptions of sovereignty into a cohesive campaign at the United Nations. This paper asks, what happened to those variegated visions of Global South sovereignty which had under-written and driven decolonization, after political sovereignty had been achieved? It will probe the afterlives of self-determination which delivered quite different fates than those envisioned by anti-colonial actors and point to the conceptual limits and political parameters of sovereignty after political decolonization. Traditional histories of decolonization, largely emphasizing the North-South binary, tend to focus on how post-colonial actors across the Global South sought to challenge the vestiges of empire and policies & practices of perceived neo-colonialism through bilateral relationships or the politics of solidarity. This paper will examine how, through the Special Committee on Decolonization (Committee of 24), disaggregated experiences of sovereignty were translated into different practices of managing self-determination. Implicit in these developments, was a critique of the status quo which has historically been cast as a binary North-South struggle. However, these debates had significant implications for territories remaining under colonial rule, for internal conflicts around self-determination as well as thevast matrix of post-colonial relations. This paper will analyze and how between actors of the Global South, new political dynamics, power struggles, and ultimately hierarchies of inclusion and exclusion evolved.

Contact: Tomoko Takahashi (takahashi-t [at]