An article based on my PhD work has just been published online by the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. My PhD work is quite different from my current research. This article looks at why there was so little violent resistance to British impositions in colonial Zambia by drawing on the ideas of Michel Foucault and analyses inspired by his work. The official abstract reads thusly:
British colonial rule in Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries straddled a contradiction between promoting radical social transformation and maintaining political order. This article explores the relationship between changing techniques of rule and the stability of rule; in particular, the proletarianization and dispossession of African populations and production of an extractive economy in colonial Zambia. The 1920s saw the transition from charter rule by the British South Africa Company to the Colonial Office and the end of widespread rural unrest. Using archival and secondary sources, two key interventions marked a new mode of governing and spatial reorganization of power are examined: indirect rule through Native authorities and the constitution of Native reserves. These interventions sought to rework the political landscape and align relations between men and things in ways that furthered the aims of both extractive capitalism and colonial rule. The consequences and limitations of these new forms of intervention are examined by bringing together Marxist ideas of dispossession and the contradictions of colonial rule and Foucault’s work on governmental power. In the final sections, a wider set of relations and processes beyond the state that worked to produce economic forms of subjectivity are explored, before arguing that the hallmark of techniques of rule that became widespread in British colonial sub-Saharan Africa is that they stabilized dispossession and worked to resolve central contradictions of colonial rule
If this sounds like your cup of tea, or you’d like to read that translated into Chinese and Spanish, you can download the article here or, if you don’t have access to this journal, you can find a pre-press version of the text in my university’s online repository here.