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Global Urban History Project

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Zaib un Nisa Aziz
Basic Information
Yale University
PhD Candidate
46 Trumbull Street Floor 2

New Haven, CT  

Additional Information
About My Work
My dissertation, Nations Ascendant: The Global Struggle Against Empire and The Making Of Our World trace the origins of the story of a global struggle against empire by examining the impact of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and the call for proletarian internationalism on the colonial world, particularly in the British Empire. While much of the historiography on radical decolonization focuses on the 1960s and early 1970s, I argue that the roots of a revolutionary discourse against imperialism lie not in the rubble of the Second World War but in the enduring chaos of the First. I argue that Lenin’s political thought and the Communist International’s patronage provided a language for the universal case for self-determination and decolonization. The research for this project is conducted in over twenty-five archives spread around 10 cities. I work in English, German, French and Spanish, Urdu, Persian and working with translations from a number of Arabic, Dutch, Italian among others.
Using an array of sources from this multi-archival and multi-lingual approach, I show how this language permeated and travelled to the colonies, how it was interpreted by anti-colonial activists, how it mingled and related with a range of national, regional and workers political projects and how it led to the formation of a global imagined community of the colonized committed to global decolonization as well as global revolution. This radical generation of anti-colonialists combined the question of empire with the question of equality – making this discourse of decolonization radically different from earlier iterations in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Finally, I examine what happens to this language and this community when the promised revolution does not realize.
Article, “Songs of Sisterhood: Feminist Political Practice Between Empire and Internationalism”, Gender and History, Forthcoming

Review Article, “New Directions in Global Histories of Resistance”, Itinerario, Forthcoming

Book Review, Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent, By Priyamvada Gopal, London: Verso, 2020, Journal of Contemporary History, April 2021

Book Review, Policing Transnational Protest: Liberal Imperialism and the Surveillance of Anticolonialists in Europe, 1905-1945. By Daniel Brückenhaus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, December 2018

Article, “Passages from India: Indian Anti Colonial Activism in Exile 1905-1920”, Historical Research, 90: 404–421, January 2017.