Course Definitions


Definition:

Anti-imperialism refers to a political orientation and ideology that opposes the expansionist ambitions and domination of one state over others. It encompasses a range of perspectives and movements aimed at challenging and dismantling imperialist practices, power structures, and ideologies. Anti-imperialists critique the economic, cultural, and military interventions employed by powerful states to exert control over and exploit the resources of other countries. They advocate for self-determination, sovereignty, and equality in international relations, promoting solidarity among states and emphasising the importance of social justice, human rights, and decolonisation. Anti-imperialism seeks to challenge and transform the power imbalances inherent in imperialistic systems and foster a more just and equitable world order.

Definition:

Anti-colonialism is also an ideological and political movement that opposes the practice and legacy of colonialism. It encompasses a wide range of theories and strategies aimed at challenging the control, subjugation, and exploitation of colonised peoples by imperial powers. Anti-colonialists critique the unequal power dynamics, cultural erasure, economic exploitation, and systemic oppression inherent in colonial systems. They advocate for the liberation, self-determination, and empowerment of colonised states and indigenous communities. Anti-colonialism aims to dismantle colonial structures, challenge Eurocentric narratives, and foster social justice, cultural revitalisation, and decolonisation as essential components of a more equitable and inclusive world.

Definition:

Post-colonialism is an intellectual and theoretical framework that examines the social, cultural, economic, and political legacies of colonialism and its impact on colonised societies. It encompasses a diverse range of theories and perspectives that challenge the dominant narratives and power structures established during the colonial era. Post-colonialists critically analyse the effects of colonisation on identity formation, knowledge production, language, and literature, emphasising the voices and experiences of the colonised. They explore themes of hybridity, which refers to the blending of different cultural, social, and intellectual elements in the aftermath of colonisation. Hybridity highlights the complex and dynamic nature of cultural identities and the creative resistance strategies employed by colonised communities. Post-colonialism seeks to expose and dismantle enduring power imbalances and Eurocentric frameworks, aiming for a more inclusive and just global order.

Definition:

Nuclear Orientalism describes a conceptual framework and discourse influenced by Orientalism, a theory developed by the prominent Palestinian-American intellectual, literary critic, and postcolonial theorist, Edward Said (1935-2003), in his groundbreaking work ‘Orientalism’ (1978). Orientalism refers to a Western perspective that constructs and represents the ‘East’ as exotic, primitive, and inferior to the ‘West’. Nuclear Orientalism refers to the construction of nuclear technology and capabilities as symbols of power, progress, and superiority, primarily associated with Western nations. Nuclear Orientalism perpetuates a hierarchical and stereotypical portrayal of non-Western countries, often depicting them as backward, irrational, or dangerous in their pursuit of nuclear capabilities. It reinforces asymmetrical power dynamics and justifies intervention, control, and non-proliferation measures based on cultural and racial biases. Understanding nuclear Orientalism helps to critically analyse the geopolitical dynamics surrounding nuclear technologies and challenges essentialised notions of ‘Western’ and ‘non-Western’ perspectives on nuclear weapons.

Definition:

Nuclear colonialism refers to the interplay between nuclear technology, imperialism, and colonialism. It highlights the historical and ongoing relationships between nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and the legacies of colonialism. Nuclear colonialism encompasses the exploitation of colonised lands and indigenous communities for nuclear testing, uranium mining, and nuclear waste disposal. It underscores the disproportionate burden of environmental, health, and social impacts on marginalised and colonised communities. This framework exposes the intersectionality of power, race, and environmental justice, challenging the prevailing narrative of nuclear progress while calling for the recognition of colonial legacies and the equitable treatment of affected populations.

Definition:

Nuclear hegemony refers to the dominance and control exercised by a particular state or group of states over the global nuclear order, notably the US, the NPT nuclear-weapon states, and Western states within the US nuclear protectorate. It denotes a condition where a select few possess overwhelming military and political influence due to their possession of nuclear weapons. Nuclear hegemony involves the ability to shape international norms, deter potential adversaries, and exert significant control over non-nuclear states. It emphasises the asymmetrical power dynamics inherent in the global nuclear order and highlights the potential implications for disarmament efforts, proliferation risks, and the perpetuation of geopolitical imbalances in international relations.

Definition:

Third Worldism, or Third World Internationalism, refers to a political ideology and perspective that emerged after World War II during a period of escalating decolonisation. It has been both an ideology of the Third World and about the Third World. As an ideology of the Third World, it is closely associated with non-alignment and the Non-Aligned Movement that challenged the Cold War’s bipolar structure of global power. It emphasises the common struggles and shared interests of formerly colonised and economically marginalised nations, often referred to as the ‘Third World’ across Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the ‘internal colonies’ of the United States. Third Worldism critiques the dominant Western-centric capitalist system, highlighting the exploitation, dependency, and neo-colonialism faced by these countries. It advocates for solidarity, non-alignment, and collective self-determination, promoting alternative economic models, social justice, and decolonisation. Third Worldism seeks to address the unequal power relations and transform the international order towards a more equitable and inclusive global community. It includes an “analysis of racism as both a material and an ideological force endemic in processes of exploitation, expropriation, and dispossession, which connected and coordinated the struggles of all peoples for whom colour, and race were markers of oppression.”[1]

[1] Burden-Stelly, C., & Horne, G. (2022). Third World Internationalism and the Global Color Line. In D. Engerman, M. Friedman, & M. McAlister (Eds.), The Cambridge History of America and the World (The Cambridge History of America and the World, pp. 370-396). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108297554.018

Definition:

Pan-Africanism was an important precursor of Third Worldism. It is a socio-political and intellectual movement that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, advocating for the unity, liberation, and empowerment of people of African descent globally. It seeks to combat racial discrimination, colonialism, and economic exploitation, while promoting solidarity, self-determination, and cultural pride among African peoples. Pan-Africanism emphasises the historical connections, shared experiences, and common struggles of African communities worldwide. It aims to foster political, economic, and cultural cooperation, highlighting the importance of African agency, collective identity, and the pursuit of social justice. Pan-Africanism has played a vital role in shaping African liberation movements and post-colonial discourse.

Definition:

The relationship between power and knowledge/meaning is fundamental to understanding how societies function. Power influences the production, distribution, and validation of knowledge and meanings. Power shapes what is considered valid knowledge, whose perspectives are privileged, and what interpretations are accepted as authoritative. Those in positions of power have the ability to define and control the dominant narratives, shaping collective meanings and shaping social reality. At the same time, knowledge itself is a form of power, as it enables individuals and groups to exert influence, make informed decisions, and challenge existing power structures. Recognizing the interplay between power and knowledge/meaning helps unveil the dynamics of social control, inequality, and resistance, while emphasising the importance of critical inquiry and diverse perspectives in the pursuit of a more equitable and just society.

Definition:

Nuclearism refers to the belief system and policy orientation that supports the development, possession, and use of nuclear weapons as a means of national security, deterrence, or geopolitical influence. It encompasses the ideological, military, and technological frameworks that prioritise nuclear capabilities and doctrines as essential means of ‘security’. Nuclearism emphasises the maintenance and expansion of nuclear arsenals, nuclear deterrence strategies, and the pursuit of military dominance. On the other hand, anti-nuclearism is a movement and perspective that advocates for the abolition, non-proliferation, and disarmament of nuclear weapons. Anti-nuclearism challenges the inherent dangers, humanitarian concerns, and environmental risks associated with nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. It seeks to address the ethical, social, and geopolitical implications of nuclearism by promoting disarmament and prioritising human security and global cooperation over militarised approaches. Anti-nuclearism encompasses a wide range of activism, policy advocacy, and grassroots efforts aimed at creating a world without nuclear weapons.

Definition:

Posthumanism, variously influenced by poststructural, feminist, Indigenous, and other critical thought, critiques how the Western Enlightenment category of “human” has operated to render certain people “less-than-human” (such as women, colonized and racialized people, the poor, gender and sexual minorities, and so on) as well as to privilege the human over the “non-human,” including natural and technological worlds. Dedicated to breaking down the constructed hierarchical dichotomies between human and nature, mind and body, culture and nature, technology and nature, and human and technology, various strains of posthumanism challenge the anthropocentric notion of nature as inert by recognizing it as an animate actor while also recognizing human bodies are always entangled with technologies of all sorts. Through decentering the human to expand understandings of the more-than-world, it seeks to (re)develop more reciprocal, ethical, and life-affirming relationships among humans and between humans and non-humans.

Definition:

Environmental racism refers to the disproportionate proximity and greater exposure of (most often low-income) Indigenous, Black and other racialized nations and communities to polluting industries and other environmentally hazardous activities as a result of colonization, racism, and classism.  It also refers to the racialization of the environment, rendering it continuously exploitable. Environmental sexism pertains to the particular brunt that women bear, especially within racialized nations and communities, in terms of harms to their reproductive and sexual health and social reproductive responsibilities as a result not only of environmental degradation endangering the health of themselves, their families, and their communities, but also of the violence and particularly sexual violence associated with male-dominated extractive and polluting industries. It is also related to the feminization of the environment by patriarchal ideologies, additionally rendering it continuously exploitable in contrast to Indigenous cosmologies in which Mother Earth is revered.

Definition:

Environmental justice, a concept generated by those who have borne the brunt of environmental racism, sexism, classism, and colonization, holds that people of all cultures, nationalities, races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds should have fair and equitable protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to and voice in environmental and health decison-making. It particularly challenges corporate and governmental actions that despoil environments through extraction, pollution, and climate change-inducing practices which disproportionately endanger the health and safety of marginalized people and the self-determination of indigenous peoples and calls for enabling particularly those most affected by harms to the environment to lead the way in redressing them.


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