SPACE, IDENTITY AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY: NEGOTIATING DECOLONIZATION IN THE UNITED NATIONS
Korzeniewicz, Roberto P
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Beginning with the colonial and imperial encounters that constitute the early, conflict-ridden moments of trans-territorial contact, this research is interested in the relationship between gender, race, and shifting transnational power relationships. Bringing together work from Sociology, Women's Studies, and Postcolonial Studies, it is interested in the following questions. How are modern constructions of gender and race forged in transnational--colonial as well as 'postcolonial'--processes? How did they emerge in and contribute to such processes during the colonial era? Specifically, how did they shape colonialist constructions of space, identity and international community? How has this relationship shifted with legal decolonization? First, it offers a theory regarding these questions in the European colonial era, the theory of kinship. This theory posits that the colonialist construction of space, identity and international community historically relied on a trope of kinship, which operated by constructing the colonies as 'children' and the metropoles as 'parents.' Even more, kinship actually helped to constitute colonial notions of race (i.e., 'childlike natives') and gender (i.e., 'the lack of the nuclear household in African society as evidence of cultural immaturity'). In this manner, kinship helped to define colonized others as children, thereby to deny the subjectivity of these others (particularly their spatial and identity claims), and thus to ultimately build hierarchical structures of international community. Combining discourse and comparative historical methods of analysis, this work explores how colonialists and anti-colonialists renegotiate transnational power relationships within the debates on decolonization in the United Nations from 1946-1960. It argues that while colonialists continued to use the trope of kinship to legitimate the status quo, anti-colonialists insisted that the colonies had 'grown up' and that continuing colonialism was a humiliation that emasculated fully adult men. Thus, anti-colonialists attempted to reorder global power relationships by renegotiating the kinship trope. In other words, to the politics of paternalism, they responded with the politics of masculinity. Ultimately, then, the complex, shifting, politics of race relied on a politics of gender/sexuality, both of which were central to the changing contours of international community in the mid-20th century.