Jane Burbank, Frederick Cooper: Post-Imperial Possibilities: Eurasia, Eurafrica, Afroasia

Jane Burbank, Frederick Cooper: Post-Imperial Possibilities: Eurasia, Eurafrica, Afroasia

The book by Jane Burbank, Professor of History and Russian Slavic Studies at New York University, and Frederick Cooper, Professor of History at New York University, is a very special read, dealing with an increasingly popular topic such as the period after the dissolution of great empires and the reactions to it.

In the Post-Imperial Possibilities, historians Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper examine three large scale, transcontinental projects aimed at bringing together peoples from different regions to mitigate the imperial legacy of inequality. Eurasia, Eurafrica and Afroasia offered alternative routes out of empire in theory, if not in practise.

The book presents the theory of Eurasia, which was developed after the collapse of imperial Russia. In addition to the concept of Eurasia, the authors also use two new, less used concepts to understand imperial movements. These are EuroAfrica and Afroasia.

Eurafrica began as a design for collaborative European exploitation of Africa, but was transformed in the 1940s and 1950s into a project to include France's African territories in plans for European integration. The Afroasian movement wanted to replace the vertical relationship of colonizer and colonized with a horizontal relationship among former colonial territories that could challenge both the communist and capitalist worlds. Both Eurafrica and Afroasia floundered, victims of old and new vested interests. But Eurasia revived in the 1990s, when Russian intellectuals turned the theory's attack on Western hegemony into a recipe for the restoration of Russian imperial power. As both the system of supposedly sovereign states and the accumulated power of large economic and political institutions continue to frustrate projects to overcome inequalities of wealth and power, Burbank and Cooper's study of the political imagination examines wide-ranging concepts of social belonging and obligation that emerged after empire, and the reasons for their different fates.

The book is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to understand what is happening in the world after the collapse of the great empires.

Szabolcs Veres is a researcher at the Eurasia Center

Jane Burbank, Frederick Cooper: Post-Imperial Possibilities: Eurasia, Eurafrica, Afroasia

Publisher: ‎Princeton University Press

Publication date: 2023

ISBN: 978-0691250373

Pages: 320

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