Using historical and anthropological analysis, in Post-Colonial Nations in Historical and Cultural Context, Dmitri M. Bondarenko examines nation-building in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. He examines the nation and state as concepts and how these are changing globally, particularly in regard to the idea that the fundamental characteristic of a nation is a culturally homogeneous community. This feature became a cornerstone of the concept of the nation at its formation in the West by the end of the eighteenth century, but post-colonial migration flows from the Global South to the Global North are increasing multi-culturalism in the North. In contrast, liberated states of Asia and Africa have been multi-cultural from earlier on as they inherited the colonial borders in which typically many peoples were united. Throughout the book, Bondarenko argues that this history of multi-culturalism is an advantage to development in the Global South and that it’s necessary to depart from the classical, Western concept of the nation to simultaneously support citizen unity while preserving cultural diversity.
Dmitri M. Bondarenko is director of the International Center of Anthropology at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE University).
Chapter 1. The Nation and Modernity
Chapter 2. Colonialism – Post-colonialism – Nations
Chapter 3. Post-colonial Nations in Historical and Cultural Context: Three Cases
Chapter 4. Nation-Building in Post-colonial Countries in Historical and Cultural Context of Our Time
About the Author
A brilliant translation of an original book that will continue to provoke the set of initial conversations, while retaining the permanence of the arguments of the African nation state, and the applicability of notions on state, nation and culture. This is a gem.
In this ambitious book, Bondarenko masterfully draws on perspectives from anthropology, history, and political science to examine the ways that postcolonial states have attempted, in a remarkably short period of time, to become nations. Drawing on his field experience in three neighboring African countries, he deftly and insightfully analyzes how their different precolonial and colonial pasts along with the decisions of postcolonial political leaders have generated contrasting trajectories, some more successful than others, of nation building. This should be essential reading for scholars and students of the new nations of Asia and Africa.