Olivier Dabène (Dir.)

Amérique latine - L’Année politique is a publication by CERI-Sciences Po’s Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean (OPALC). The study extends the work presented on the Observatory’s website (www.sciencespo.fr/opalc) by offering tools for understanding a continent that is in the grip of deep transformations.

Observatoire politique de l’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes de Sciences Po

Amérique latine - L’Année politique is a publication by CERI-Sciences Po’s Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean (OPALC). The study extends the work presented on the Observatory’s website (www.sciencespo.fr/opalc) by offering tools for understanding a continent that is in the grip of deep transformations.

One of the most striking phenomena of China’s recent history is the singular life trajectory of the generation born in large metropolises between the end of the 1940s and the early 1950s. After having endured with full force their country’s upheavals and ruptures after 1949, the people of this generation occupy dominant positions in most sectors of social life today. Yet despite its importance, the history of this generation—who contributed to build what China is today—has not triggered much academic research. The seven life stories presented in this study provide information and a testimony that help understand how these people elaborate a discourse on their personal experience. Analysing this discourse makes it possible to grasp the connections between individual life paths and events as well as social determinations.

Anne de Tinguy (dir.)

Looking into Eurasia : the year in politics provides some keys to understand the events and phenomena that have left their imprint on a region that has undergone major mutation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991: the post-soviet space. With a cross-cutting approach that is no way claims to be exhaustive, this study seeks to identify the key drivers, the regional dynamics and the underlying issues at stake

Gilles Lepesant

One week before the third Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius on November 28-29, 2013, Ukraine suspended the preparation of an association agreement with the European Union, which had been under negotiation since 2007. When the agreement was finally signed in June 2014, President Yanukovych had fled the country under people’s pressure, and the integrity of Ukraine was challenged in the East by separatists and their Russian allies. These events came paradoxically at a time when the country's cohesion seemed stronger than in the 1990s. Far from being divided into two parts, Ukraine consists of the pieces of broken empires that all have good reasons to join in the state, as recent as this one may be. Indeed, its geography, electoral or economic, does not show a split between two blocks, but various lines of division that do not necessarily herald the breaking up of the state. Since the independence, this diversity had never been translated into new institutions: for several reasons, the reshaping of the centralized regime inherited from the Soviet era was deemed untimely by the country’s political forces. Presented as a priority by the members of the Parliament elected in 2014, the reform of territorial government is being implemented while Ukraine’s driving regions are either paralyzed or threatened by war.

Xiaohong Xiao-Planes

Documentary sources on the "first people's republic of china," running from the foundation of the new regime in 1949 to the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, have increased for the last three decades without receiving particular attention. It is as if, in the eyes of a majority, Chinese history had no existence or remained totally jeopardized by the controls it is subject to. This study aims to measure the importance and value of these new sources, in the most lucid and balanced way possible. To reach this, we must first remind very briefly the sources that served as basis for studies on Chinese political history (mostly from American universities), which have emerged since the fifties.

The idea that the colonial past keeps surfacing in contemporary political situations has been turned by some post(-)colonial theoreticians and militant writers into an irrefutable statement of fact. Yet this analytical stance is supported by little empirically grounded research. A host of creative new literature about modern age “colonial situations” indeed help us reach a better, more nuanced understanding of what colonial domination was all about. But they often fail to capture the vernacular, non-European historicity of the “colonial encounter”. In the case of Southeast Asia, local political societies were engaged in state-formation processes long before the arrival of the Europeans: In Insulindia and in Indochina, there actually existed local imperial societies, into which the European colonial order of things became embedded. Viewed from this perspective, the “colonial situation” was a moment in long-term Euro-Asiatic imperial histories that mixed together numerous and sometimes contradictory understandings of imperial power and prowess. Talking about imperial hegemonies hence might help us escape modernist analytical dead-ends.

The field of colonial studies has gone through tremendous theoretical upheavals in the past three decades. Yet something is still too often missing in the study of 17th, 18th and 19th century situations of colonial or imperial “encounter”, namely this vernacular domain of thought and actions that was kept out of reach of the colonizer’s power and knowledge tools, and that was not geared toward the (whether coerced or not) commercial, political or military interaction with the Europeans. Nevertheless, it is only by focusing on this vernacular (rather than “native” or “indigenous”) hors-champ of the colonial situation that one can achieve a better understanding of the multi-layered historicity of extraeuropean societies. This perspective indeed allows us to make sense of the “colonial moment” of these societies with regards not only to their encounter with Europe, but also to their own long-term ideological and political trajectories (trajectories that began long before the arrival of the Europeans and that never can be wholly equated with the effects and consequences of the latter). This research agenda moreover helps us to get back to a more nuanced and historically accurate view of the initial precariousness and “leopard-skin” style dissemination of European colonial power. Lastly, it enables us to get beyond the now dominant paradigm of the “indigenous appropriation of colonial/European modernity” and its old-fashioned utilitarian language of “native agency” by investigating the local, vernacular visions of the self and of history that were put to use in the tactical engagement with, or avoidance of, colonial rule.

Eric Anglès, Chris Hensley et Denis-Constant Martin

During the 70s three somewhat extraordinary phenomena occurred at the same time in Jamaica: the rise of rastafarianism, a syncretic sect, the establishment of reggae as a new style of popular music and the emergence of a political movement headed by one of the two strongest parties on the island, the People's National Party. While these three movements expressed themselves in different ways - and were never exclusively linked - they together came to represent an intense aspiration for change whether it be cultural, social, economic or political.Today Jamaicans have a different attitude to their history: for many dignity and pride have replaced a sense of alienation and self denigration. Yet the political system has not changed and the same social inequalities persist as twenty five years ago. Jamaica still wonders what its future could be. These collected papers analyze the factors that enabled the coming together of rastafarianism, reggae and political forces within Jamaica and examine recent developments in popular music in an attempt to better understand the extent of social transformation within Jamaica.

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