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Worldmaking after Empire$
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Adom Getachew

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179155

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179155.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 22 October 2019

The Counterrevolutionary Moment

The Counterrevolutionary Moment

Preserving Racial Hierarchy in the League of Nations

(p.37) Chapter Two The Counterrevolutionary Moment
Worldmaking after Empire

Adom Getachew

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the institutionalization of empire as unequal integration in the League of Nations. Recasting the Wilsonian moment as a counterrevolutionary episode, it argues that Woodrow Wilson and Jan Smuts excised the revolutionary implications of the Bolshevik right to self-determination and repurposed the principle to preserve racial hierarchy in the new international organization. In this appropriation, Wilson and Smuts effectively remade self-determination as a racially differentiated principle, which was fully compatible with imperial rule. The chapter charts the implications of their account of self-determination by examining Ethiopia's and Liberia's membership in the international organization. It argues that rather than protecting their sovereign equality, the inclusion of Ethiopia and Liberia created the conditions of their domination through a burdened and racialized membership where obligations were onerous and rights limited.

Keywords:   empire, unequal integration, League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson, Jan Smuts, self-determination, Ethiopia, Liberia, racial hierarchy

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