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The Biafran War and Postcolonial Humanitarianism
Spectacles of Suffering

$36.99 (C)

Part of Human Rights in History

  • Date Published: March 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107530423

$ 36.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • In the summer of 1968, audiences around the globe were shocked when newspapers and television stations confronted them with photographs of starving children in the secessionist Republic of Biafra. This global concern fundamentally changed how the Nigerian Civil War was perceived: an African civil war that had been fought for one year without fostering any substantial interest from international publics became 'Biafra' - the epitome of humanitarian crisis. Based on archival research from North America, Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, this book is the first comprehensive study of the global history of the conflict. A major addition to the flourishing history of human rights and humanitarianism, it argues that the global moment 'Biafra' is closely linked to the ascendance of human rights, humanitarianism, and Holocaust memory in a postcolonial world. The conflict was a key episode for the re-structuring of the relations between the West and the Third World.

    • Proposes a new view of the history of human rights and humanitarianism by using the instruments of cultural, visual and conceptual history
    • Shows that the end of decolonization resulted in a structural transformation of global order and international relations
    • Uses a global historical approach to study human rights, helping readers to develop an understanding of human rights and humanitarianism as defining features of postcolonial global relations
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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107530423
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 21 b/w illus. 3 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Emergences of Biafra:
    1. The end of empire and the coming of postcolonial conflict
    2. The Biafran campaign for self-determination in a postcolonial world of states
    3. The transnational internationalization of the Biafran campaign
    Part II. Biafra on a Global Stage:
    4. Creating 'Biafra': the discovery of a civil war as humanitarian crisis
    5. 'Biafran Babies': humanitarian visions of postcolonial disaster
    6. Auschwitz in Africa? Biafra, Holocaust memory, and the language of rights
    7. Distant suffering and close concerns: Biafra and the Third World in the global Sixties
    Part III. The Ends and Afterlives of Biafra:
    8. Biafra, the internationalism of states and the question of genocide
    9. The end of Biafra, the end of the lobby
    10. The afterlives of Biafra.

  • Author

    Lasse Heerten, Freie Universität Berlin
    Lasse Heerten is currently head of the 'Imperial Gateway: Hamburg, the German Empire, and the Making of a Global Port' project, funded by the DFG (German Research Council) at the Freie Universität Berlin. He has previously served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Human Rights at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds graduate degrees from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, University of Oxford and the Freie Universität Berlin. His graduate studies were supported by a scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes).

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