Imperialism and Human Rights : Colonial Discourses of Rights and Liberties in African History
In this seminal study, Bonny Ibhawoh investigates the links between European imperialism and human rights discourses in African history. Using British-colonized Nigeria as a case study, he examines how diverse interest groups within colonial society deployed the language of rights and liberties to serve varied socioeconomic and political ends. Ibhawoh challenges the linear progressivism that dominates human rights scholarship by arguing that, in the colonial African context, rights discourses were not simple monolithic or progressive narratives. They served both to insulate and legitimize power just as much as they facilitated transformative processes. Drawing extensively on archival material, this book shows how the language of rights, like that of "civilization" and "modernity," became an important part of the discourses deployed to rationalize and legitimize empire.
- Hardback | 242 pages
- 156 x 230 x 22mm | 480.82g
- 16 Nov 2006
- State University of New York Press
- Albany, NY, United States
- Revised and Revised and Expanded ed.
- Total Illustrations: 0
"It is generally assumed that the present day human rights revolution began in 1948 with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While not taking direct issue with the importance of the UDHR, Ibhawoh very effectively shows how the language of rights had already been used (and misused) in British colonial practices in Nigeria. Fascinating and thought-provoking, this book has a great deal of relevance to the major human rights debates that are going on right now."
About Bonny Ibhawoh
Bonny Ibhawoh is Assistant Professor of History at McMaster University, Canada.