Gordian Knot: Apartheid and the Unmaking of the Liberal World Order

Gordian Knot: Apartheid and the Unmaking of the Liberal World Order

by Ryan M. Irwin

Hardcover(New Edition)

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Writing more than one hundred years ago, African American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois speculated that the great dilemma of the twentieth century would be the problem of "the color line." Nowhere was the dilemma of racial discrimination more entrenched-and more complex-than South Africa.

Gordian Knot examines South Africa's freedom struggle in the years surrounding African decolonization, using the global apartheid debate to explore the way new nation-states changed the international community during the mid-twentieth century. At the highpoint of decolonization, South Africa's problems shaped a transnational conversation about nationhood. Arguments about racial justice, which crested as Europe relinquished imperial control of Africa and the Caribbean, elided a deeper contest over the meaning of sovereignty, territoriality, and development.

Based on research in African, American, and European archives, Gordian Knot advances a bold new interpretation about African decolonization's relationship to American power. In so doing, it promises to shed light on U.S. foreign relations with the Third World and recast understandings of the fate of liberal internationalism after World War II.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199855612
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 09/07/2012
Series: Oxford Studies in International History
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Ryan M. Irwin is Assistant Professor of History at the University at Albany-SUNY and was previously Associate Director of International Security Studies at Yale University.

Table of Contents


Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: Opening the Curtain
Part One Winds of Change
1. Architects and Earthquakes
2. Defining the Debate
3. Africa for the Africans

Part Two White Redoubt
4. Halls of Justice
5. The Status Quo
6. Looking Outward
Conclusion: Toward a New Order

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