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Anti-Imperial Metropolis
Interwar Paris and the Seeds of Third World Nationalism


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Part of Global and International History

  • Date Published: February 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107421356

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About the Authors
  • This book traces the spread of a global anti-imperialism from the vantage point of Paris between the two World Wars, where countless future leaders of Third World countries spent formative stints. Exploring the local social context in which these emergent activists moved, the study delves into assassination plots allegedly hatched by Chinese students, demonstrations by Latin American nationalists, and the everyday lives of Algerian, Senegalese and Vietnamese workers. On the basis of police reports and other primary sources, the book foregrounds the role of migration and interaction as driving forces enabling challenges to the imperial world order, weaving together the stories of peoples of three continents. Drawing on the scholarship of twentieth-century imperial, international and global history as well as migration, race and ethnicity in France, it ultimately proposes a new understanding of the roots of the Third World idea.

    • Based on the reports of undercover police agents
    • Traces previously unknown global connections and trajectories of activists
    • Delves deeply into the social world of activists
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    • Winner, 2016 Jerry Bentley Prize in World History, American Historical Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Anti-Imperial Metropolis will reorient the way we think about the global intellectual and political history of decolonization and nationalism, and deserves to be essential reading in both undergraduate and graduate courses on modern international affairs. Michael Goebel's thought-provoking account of the role played by migrant intellectuals from diverse regions of the world living in interwar Paris in creating the post-imperial imagination of the world order helps us better understand the curious links among nationalism, internationalism, and social history of immigration to Europe from the colonies. This is indeed one of the best books I have read in recent times.' Cemil Aydin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    'Michael Goebel's masterful study on anticolonial activities of migrant groups in Paris during the interwar period is an outstanding contribution to the field of global history and to the historiography of decolonization. It is the first book that analyzes the complexity of a major city that became a hub of global anti-imperial consciousness and a crossroad of global migrations. It very nicely links the 'local' with the 'global' beyond abstract statements, but with rich empirical material.' Andreas Eckert, Humboldt University Berlin

    'In this fascinating and well-researched study of non-Western expatriates in Paris between the wars, Michael Goebel combines meticulous social history with several broad claims about the significance of this experience … Anti-Imperial Metropolis is an excellent book that builds upon the work of scholars like Jennifer Boittin and Marilyn Levine to create a masterful portrait of a unique time and place … Michael Goebel crafts an engaging portrait of a diverse group of workers and intellectuals from many different shores who developed in Paris visions of their own nations and futures that would reshape the world in the mid-twentieth century. Anyone interested in the transnational history of the modern world will find this an intriguing and at times provocative study.' Tyler Stovall , H-Soz-u-Kult

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107421356
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 22 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Surveying the crossroads of the world: Paris at the intersection of global migrations
    2. Building communities: everyday ethnicity and popular culture
    3. Lovers, husbands, fathers, workers, and soldiers: private life and work
    4. Learning and imparting lessons in anti-imperialism: students in the Latin Quarter
    5. The clearinghouse of world politics: international relations and colonialism
    6. Communist intermediaries: the French Left, the Comintern, and anti-imperialists
    7. A revolutionary lingua franca: anti-imperialism, civic rights, and the republican ethos
    8. Vernacularizing nationalism: an outcome foretold?

  • Author

    Michael Goebel, Freie Universität Berlin
    Michael Goebel is a historian of modern Latin America in its global connections. He is currently Professor of Latin American and Global History at Freie Universität Berlin.


    • Winner, 2016 Jerry Bentley Prize in World History, American Historical Association

Interview with Michael Goebel for his new book Anti-Imperial Metropolis

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