The Empires Who Came in from the Cold: Cold War and Decolonization

Jason C. Parker, professor of history at Texas A & M University, gave a lecture at the Library of Congress as part of the National History Center’s Fifth International Seminar on Decolonization.

The lecture, entitled “The Empires Who Came in from the Cold: Cold War and Decolonization” focused on the overlapping timelines of postwar decolonization and the Cold War, with the former starting earlier and culminating as the latter entered its final phase, create a fascinating interrelationship.

Decolonization entailed not just the transfer of political and juridical sovereignty but also an intellectual and cultural process that dethroned European assertions and affirmed nationalist self-rule. The ultimate dimensions of the decolonization process make it a larger and longer-running twentieth-century story than that of the superpower conflict.

Jason Parker is associate professor of history at Texas A&M University. His research centers on the interplay of the Cold War and decolonization in U.S. relations with the “Third World.” He is the author of Brother’s Keeper: The United States, Race, and Empire in the British Caribbean, 1937-1962 (Oxford, 2008), which received the 2009 Bernath Book Award from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.  This lecture is presented in conjunction with the National History Center’s Decolonization Seminar. The four-week seminar held at the Library brings together international scholars to examine various dimensions of decolonization, primarily 20th-century transitions from colonies to nations in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. The seminar, supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is cosponsored by the American Historical Association and the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.

Listen to the podcast of Professor Parker’s lecture by pressing play.

Or, click to watch a webcast of Professor Parker’s lecture.