Embedded or Exceptional? Apartheid and the International Politics of Racial Discrimination

  • My main argument here is that the story seen from the perspective of the influential year of 1962 reveals a very different historical context, with a different set of actors and a different trajectory and causalities regarding the human rights breakthrough, from those stories focusing on Western agency in the 1940s and the 1970s. It repositions the history of human rights in significant ways and makes apartheid and racial discrimination more crucial to the human rights story than has hitherto been acknowledged. It is also important to emphasize that the positions and arguments presented by countries from the Global South in these UN debates were richly nuanced. These nuances are important if we are to fully appreciate the dynamics during these years. Tanzania differed significantly from, for instance, Senegal in the way it envisaged the scope and applicability of international human rights law and investigatory measures. Tanzania wanted a sole focus on Southern Africa and not beyond; Senegal had a wider perspective. This should remind us that when we are imagining Africa as a historical-political space, we need to allow for diversity, individual histories and agency, aspects that cannot be adequately captured by labels such as ›The Third World‹, ›Global South‹ or indeed even ›Africa‹.

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Author:Steven L.B. Jensen
Parent Title (English):Zeithistorische Forschungen - Studies in Contemporary History
Publisher:ZZF – Centre for Contemporary History: Zeithistorische Forschungen
Place of publication:Potsdam
Document Type:Journal Article
Date of Publication (online):2016/06/06
Date of first Publication:2016/06/06
Release Date:2019/07/14
Volume Number:13
First Page:314
Last Page:323
ZZF Topic-Classification:Gewalt
Transnationale Geschichte
Friedens und Konfliktforschung
Global History
Internationale Organisationen
Internationale Beziehungen
Soziale Bewegungen
ZZF Chronological-Classification:1945-
ZZF Regional-Classification:regional übergreifend
Afrika / Afrika südlich der Sahara
Portal:Zeithistorische Forschungen
Zeithistorische Forschungen: Originalbeiträge:2 / 2016 Apartheid und Anti-Apartheid – Südafrika und Westeuropa
Licence (German):License LogoZZF - Clio Lizenz