Democracy in the Age of Decolonization

Democracy in the Age of Decolonization

A discussion with Adom Getachew, Asst. Prof. Political Science, Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity, Univ. Chicago

Wednesday, October 26, 2022
12:00 PM (Pacific Time)

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The age of decolonization universalized democracy by delegitimizing alien rule and establishing self-determination as the basis of legitimate rule. Yet this triumph of democracy was at best ambiguous as the gap between the expectations and experiences of postcolonial democracy widened. This chapter explores one dimension of the globalization of democracy in the age of decolonization and its ambiguous legacies, through a consideration of the institutionalization of universal suffrage and electoral democracy in the postcolonial world. Through the example of Ghana, it tracks how the extension of suffrage and early instances of electoral politics helped overcome racial exclusion, but paradoxically enabled and entrenched ethnic identification.



Adom Getachew is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity and the College at the University of Chicago. She is a political theorist with research interests in the history of political thought, theories of race and empire, and postcolonial political theory. Her work focuses on the intellectual and political histories of Africa and the Caribbean. She is author of Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (2019) and co-editor with Jennifer Pitts of W. E. B. Du Bois: International Thought (2022). She is currently working on a second book on the intellectual origins and political practices of Garveyism—the black nationalist/pan-African movement, which had its height in the 1920s. Her public writing has appeared in Dissent, Foreign Affairs, the London Review of Books, the Nation, and the New York Times. She is on the faculty board of the Pozen Center for Human Rights and the Center for International Social Science Research, a fellow at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory and a faculty affiliate at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.



Kal Raustiala holds the Promise Institute Chair in Comparative and International Law at UCLA Law School and is a Professor at the UCLA International Institute, where he teaches in the Program on Global Studies. Since 2007 he has served as Director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations. From 2012-2015 he was UCLA’s Associate Vice Provost for International Studies and Faculty Director of the International Education Office. Professor Raustiala's research focuses on international law, international relations, and intellectual property. He is currently writing a biography of the late UN diplomat, civil rights figure, and UCLA alum Ralph Bunche for Oxford University Press.

Sponsor(s): Burkle Center for International Relations, African Studies Center, The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law