The Limits of Loyalty: Race, Resistance, and Collaboration in the Colonial World, 18401975

AHA Session 84
Friday, January 4, 2019: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Water Tower Parlor (Palmer House Hilton, Sixth Floor)
Tarak Barkawi, London School of Economics and Political Science
Tarak Barkawi, London School of Economics and Political Science

Session Abstract

This panel will explore the shifting loyalties of “imperial allies” amid the rise, high tide and decline of modern colonialism, from the Opium Wars to the collapse of Portuguese and U.S. imperialism in Africa and Southeast Asia in the mid-1970s. Drawing on four case studies of local collaboration with the British, French, Japanese and American empires, this panel will serve to deconstruct the simplistic binary of “collaboration” and “resistance” by highlighting indigenous agency and emphasizing constructions of loyalty as both dynamic and situational. Dr. Gary Chi-Hung Luk (Saskatchewan) will open the panel with an analysis of Chinese police forces in British-occupied zones during the First Opium War (1839-1842) to examine loyalty and collaboration before the rise of modern nationalism. Taking up this theme, Prof. Ji-Yeon Yuh (Northwestern) will explore the fluidity of loyalty through the oral histories of diasporic Korean men and women with close ties to militaries in Imperial Japan, the United States, and the newly created Korean nation-states. Nathan Grau (Harvard) will demonstrate how indigenous French auxiliaries in the Algerian War exploited colonial reforms to establish autonomous zones beyond the control of the French state. Concluding the panel, Matthew Kovac (Oxford) will show how imperial collaboration can sow the seeds of anti-colonial revolt by analyzing the case of Irish Republican Army guerrillas who were radicalized by their British military service in World War I. Tying up these threads of discussion, panel chair and commentator Prof. Tarak Barkawi (LSE) will respond to these papers in the context of his own work on the British Indian army in Burma and lead us into the Q&A.
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