New Book Revisits Global Call to End Colonialism

Book cover

In a collaborative effort with Luis Eslava of the University of Kent, Canterbury and Vasuki Nesiah of New York University, Oregon Law Professor Michael Fakhri edited Bandung, Global History, and International Law Critical Pasts and Pending Futures.

Following World War II, European empires and formal colonialism started to crumble. In 1955, while the United States and the USSR found themselves in a Cold War, twenty-nine newly-independent countries from Asia and Africa sent representatives to a conference in Bandung, Indonesia to strengthen their recently-won autonomy. It was an opportunity for approximately two-thirds of the world's population to work together, establish anti-imperial principles, and potentially transform the global political and legal order. Fakhri co-edited this collection which is the first legal study of the 1955 Bandung Conference. In it, forty leading international jurists examine the conference from several perspectives including international law, history, literature, cinema, and art. Though the conference was more than six decades ago, this book explores the impact it has had upon today’s global order and anti-imperial international law.

Of the Bandung Conference, Cambridge University Press states, “it became both an act of collective imagination and a practical political project for decolonization that inspired a range of social movements, diplomatic efforts, institutional experiments and heterodox visions of the history and future of the world.” 

Reviews of the book:

'This book is an incredibly rich tool to all those seeking to understand the paths towards the civilizational transitions needed to face the multiple crises of climate, food, poverty, and meaning. It should be of great interest to students and scholars in fields well beyond international law, including anthropology, geography, sociology, global studies, and cultural studies.' Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

'Until now, there has been no authoritative re-telling of the history of international law that de-centers the Westaphalian myth. Taking Bandung as its inspiration, this book critically engages the third world's resistance to the global north and examines the silences, blind spots and the underbelly of its decolonizing nationalism in re-writing and re-configuring mainstream accounts of the history of international law as well as its operative logics and normative commitments.' James Gathii, Loyola University, Chicago and Trade Policy Centre in Africa (TRAPCA), Arusha

'For some time now, the Bandung conference is regarded as an event whose significance has come to pass along with the spirit of anti-imperial resistance it once symbolized. This book challenges such an assessment not only by revisiting the contested history of the conference but by analyzing its legacy for a rethinking of the international legal order, its past and present.' Saba Mahmood, University of California, Berkeley

'The era of Bandung is over, and its spirit has dissipated. But that does not mean that the history that was made there is no longer relevant or that the spirit cannot be conjured to unimaginable feats in our present day. Bandung, Global History, and International Law mines that old history for nuggets that might inform our mapless present.' Vijay Prashad, Trinity College, Hartford

Fakhri is a renowned scholar in international food policy, the U.S. Farm Bill, TWAIL (Third World Approaches to International Law), and international economic law. Bandung, Global History, and International Law Critical Pasts and Pending Futures is his second book collaboration with Cambridge University Press, the first he has edited. He authored his first book, Sugar and the Making of International Trade Law (Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law), in 2014.