Marc-William Palen (University of Exeter)


Course Description
Drawing on cutting-edge interdisciplinary scholarship surrounding the “global city” and anti-colonial networks, this course explores how urban spaces became contested centres of anti-colonialism.
Students will critically examine how metropoles around the world have acted as hubs for global anti- colonial networks between the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. Students will investigate the tensions within global cities, which often acted as both imperial metropoles and as centres of anti-colonial dissent, as they expanded and evolved between the age of high imperialism to Decolonization.

Key concepts to be explored include urban studies, anti-imperialism, Pan-Africanism, Pan-Asianism, Non-Alignment, the NIEO, international socialism, globalization, and economic development. In seminars, we will first examine the key theories and historiographical controversies surrounding the “global city” and anti-colonialism in an age of unprecedented globalization and imperial expansion. We will then take a comparative approach in subsequent seminars through a series of case studies selected from the Bibliography, which students will be encouraged to expand upon for their essays and group presentations.

Learning outcomes
This course takes a comparative approach to give students improved insights into the how cities can be understood as global urban spaces of imperial power and its discontents. The course will help students to think critically through comparative analysis. It will also improve their writing and communication skills.

Teaching methods
The course will be taught through a combination of lectures, group discussion of weekly readings, and small-group exercises.

Teaching Assessment
Students submit one essay (2,000 words). The essay will count for 50 per cent of the overall course assessment. There will be penalties for late submission without a valid excuse. The tutor will provide a list of questions; alternative questions may be possible, but only in consultation with the tutor.

Each student will also participate in a group seminar presentation. Group presentations are peer assessed and are moderated by the tutor. In other words, fellow students take a leading role in evaluating the quality of the work presented, the tutor’s role being to ensure that this is done equitably between individuals and groups. The group presentation mark received amounts to 50 per cent of a student’s overall course mark. Groups may find it useful to allocate distinct sections of the presentation to specific group members.


Bibliography/Recommended Reading

Selections from some of the following (Theory/Historiography)
Simon Curtis, Global Cities and Global Order (2016)
Diane E. Davis, “Cities in Global Context: A Brief Intellectual History,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29 (2005): 92-109.
Babacar M’Baye, Black Cosmopolitanism and Anticolonialism (2017).
Faranak Miraftab, Neema Kudva, eds., Cities of the Global South Reader (2015). Xuefei Ren, Roger Keil, eds., The Globalizing Cities Reader (2018).
A. K. Sandoval-Strausz, Nancy H. Kwak, eds., Making Cities Global: The Transnational Turn in Urban History (2018).
Goran Therborn, Cities of Power: The Urban, the National, the Popular, the Global (2021)
Theodore Hermann Von Laue, The Global City: Freedom, Power, and Necessity in the Age of World Revolutions (1969).

Case Studies
Select case studies from the below list will be explored in seminars. Students will also be encouraged to build upon and/or look beyond the case studies below for their essays and presentations.

Jeffrey James Byrne, Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order (2016).

Su Lin Lewis, Carolien Stolte, “Other Bandungs: Afro-Asian Internationalisms in the Early Cold War,” Journal of World History 30 (2019): 1-19.
Gerard McCann, “Where was the Afro in Afro-Asian Solidarity?: Africa's 'Bandung Moment' in 1950s Asia,”
Journal of World History 30 (2019): 89-123.
Andrew Phillips, “Beyond Bandung: The 1955 Asian-African Conference and Its Legacies for International Order,” Australian Journal of International Affairs 70 (2016): 329-341
Sinderpal Singh, “From Delhi to Bandung: Nehru, ‘Indian-ness’ and ‘Pan-Asian-ness,’” South Asia 34 (2011): 51-64

Barrington S. Edwards, “W. E. B. Du Bois Between Worlds: Berlin, Empirical Social Research, and the Race Question,” Du Bois Review 3 (Sept. 2006): 395-424.
Douglas T. McGetchin, “Asian Anti-Imperialism and Leftist Antagonism in Weimar Germany,” in Joanne Cho, et al., eds., Transcultural Encounters Between Germany and India (2013).
Fredrik Petersson, “Hub of the Anti-Imperialist Movement: The League Against Imperialism and Berlin, 1927-1933,” International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 16 (2014): 49-71.

Preshant Kidambi, “Nationalism and the City in Colonial India: Bombay, c. 1890-1940,” Journal of Urban History 38 (2012): 950-967.

Daniel Laqua, The Age of Internationalism and Belgium, 1880-1930 (2015).
Michele Louro et al., eds., The League Against Imperialism: Lives and Afterlives (2020).
Fredrik Petersson, “‘A Man of the World’. Encounters and Articulations of Anti-Imperialism as Cosmopolitanism,” Twentieth Century Communism 10 (2016)

James Mark, et al., ed., Socialism Goes Global: The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the Age of Decolonization (2022).

Barbara B. Crane, “The Politics of Bucharest: Population, Development, and the New International Economic Order,” Population and Development Review 1 (1975): 87-114.
Corina Dobos, “‘For a more just world’: population and politics at the World Population Conference, Bucharest 1974,” Romanian Journal of Population Studies 9 (2015): 152-164.

Buenos Ares
Steven Hyland, Jr., “A Sacred Duty: Nationalist and Anti-Imperialist Activisms in Buenos Aires, 1916- 1930,” Journal of Urban History 46 (2020): 1317-1340.

Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (2007) Chapter 3, “President Wilson Arrives in Cairo.”
C. Alison McIntosh and Jason L. Finkle, “The Cairo Conference on Population and Development: A New Paradigm?,” Population and Development Review 21 (1995): 223-260.

Manu Goswami, Producing India: From Colonial Economy to National Space (2004).
Kris Manjapara, Age of Entanglement: German and Indian Intellectuals Across Empire (2014).

Kate O’Malley, Ireland, India and Empire: Indo-Irish Radical Connections, 1919-64 (2017).

Hong Kong
Peter Hamilton, Made in Hong Kong: Transpacific Networks and a New History of Globalization (2021). Lu Yan, Crossed Paths: Labor Activism and Colonial Governance in Hong Kong, 1938-1958 (2019).

Tim Harper, Underground Asia: Global Revolutionaries and the Assault on Empire (2020).
Doreen Lee, “Styling the Revolution: Masculinities, Youth, and Street Politics in Jakarta, Indonesia,” Journal of Urban History 37 (2011): 933-951.

Stephen Howe, Anticolonialism in British Politics: The Left and the End of Empire, 1918-1964 (1993).
Winston James, “Letters from London in Black and Red: Claude McKay, Marcus Garvey and the Negro World,” History Workshop Journal 85 (2018): 281-293.
Marc Matera, Black London: The Imperial Metropolis and Decolonization in the Twentieth Century (2015). Nicholas Owen, The British Left and India: Metropolitan Anti-Imperialism, 1885-1947 (2007)
Jonathan Schneer, “Anti-Imperial London: The Pan-African Conference of 1900,” in Felix Driver and David Gilbert, eds., Imperial Cities (2017): 254-267.
Neelam Srivastava, “A Partisan Press: Sylvia Pankhurst, British Anti-colonialism and the Crisis of Empire,” in
Italian Colonialism and Resistances to Empire, 1930-1970 (2018).

Mexico City
Roland Burke, “Competing for the Last Utopia?: The NIEO, Human Rights, and the World Conference for the International Women’s Year, Mexico City, June 1975,” Humanity 6 (2015): 47-61.
Christy Thornton, “A Mexican International Economic Order? Tracing the Hidden Roots of the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States,” Humanity 9 (2018): 389-421.

Tim Harper, Underground Asia: Global Revolutionaries and the Assault on Empire (2020).

New York City
Jennifer Guglielmo, Living the Revolution: Italian Women’s Resistance and Radicalism in New York City, 1880-1945 (2010).
Stuart A. Kallen, Marcus Garvey and the Back to Africa Movement (2006).
Neelam Srivastava, “Harlem’s Ethiopia: Literary Pan-Africanism and the Italian Invasion,” Italian Colonialism and Resistances to Empire, 1930-1970 (2018).
Ronald J. Stephens and Adam Ewing, eds., Global Garveyism (2019)

Jennifer Anne Boittin, Colonial Metropolis: The Urban Grounds of Anti-Imperialism and Feminism in Interwar Paris (2010).
Michael Fabre, From Harlem to Paris: Black American Writers in France, 1840-1980 (1993).
Michael Goebel, Anti-Imperial Metropolis: Interwar Paris and the Seeds of Third World Nationalism (2015).
J. Ayo Langley, “Pan Africanism in Paris, 1924-1936,” Journal of Modern African Studies 7 (1969): 69-94.
Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (2007).

Wonsik Jeong, “The Urban Development Politics of Seoul as a Colonial City,” Journal of Urban History
27 (2001): 158-177.
Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (2007) Chapter 6 “Seizing the Moment in Seoul.”

Tim Harper, Underground Asia: Global Revolutionaries and the Assault on Empire (2020).

Arang Keshavarzian, Ali Mirsepassi, eds., Global 1979: Geographies and Histories of the Iranian Revolution (2021).

Alex Finn Macartney, “The Japanese New Left, the Vietnam War, and Anti-Imperial Protest,” in Alexander Sedlmaier, ed., Protest in the Vietnam War Era (2022): 235-261.
Saskia Sassen, The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo (1991).

Federico Ferretti, “Anti-Colonialism in Italy in the Age of Empire (1875-1914),”
Guido Panvini, “Third Worldism in Italy,” in S. Berger and C. Cornelissen, eds., Marxist Historical Cultures and Social Movements During the Cold War (2019): 289-308.
Antonino Scalia, “The Manifold Partisan: Anti-Fascism, Anti-Imperialism, and Leftist Internationalism in Italy, 1964-76,” Radical History Review 138 (2020): 11-38.
Neelam Srivastava, “Anti-Colonialism and the Italian Left: Resistances to the Fascist Invasion of Ethiopia,”
International Journal of Post-Colonial Studies 8 (2006): 413-429.
Neelam Srivastava, “Italian Anti-colonialism and the Ethiopian War,” “Internationalism and Third-Worldism in Postwar Italy,” and “African Decolonization and the Resistance Aesthetics of Pontecorvo, Orsini and Pirelli,” in Italian Colonialism and Resistances to Empire, 1930-1970 (2018).
Petra Terhoeven, “The Hour of the Gun: Anti-Imperialist Struggle as the New Left’s Hope of Salvation in Germany and Italy,” in S. Berger and C. Cornelissen, eds., Marxist Historical Cultures and Social Movements During the Cold War (2019): 257-287.


Last updated: May 11, 2023


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