The Passionate Politics reading group will be meeting on Friday, February, 19th, at 18.00 in Room 212, UCL History Department, 26 Gordon Square.

We will be discussing Michael Goebel’s Anti-Imperial Metropolis: Interwar Paris and the Seeds of Third World Nationalism. More specifically – we will be looking at a more condensed version of the main arguments of the book, i.e. an article entitled The Capital of Men without a Country: Interwar Paris, Migration and the Global Spread of Anticolonial Nationalism.

Michael Goebel’s Anti-Imperial Metropolis deals with the question of why and how interwar Paris turned into a hatchery of later Third World nationalist leaders. Instead of treating the post-WWII spread of nationalism as a matter for intellectual history alone, he scrutinizes the local social context from which future activists emerged. The book thus stresses two important engines for the rise of anticolonialism: first, colonial-metropolitan migration, since it spotlighted the socio-legal differentials that sustained the imperial edifice; second, the diversity and discrepancies between different migratory groups in the same space, which encouraged learning curves and extrapolation from one case to another. The combination of these two factors, he argues, helped denaturalize the imperial order and thus kindled anticolonial nationalism.

Below is an interview with the author discussing his book: