Bandung analysis

Recent academic articles

Summaries by Sarah Parker

Berger, Mark T. “After the Third World? History, Destiny and the Fate of Third Worldism.” Third World Quarterly. 25.1 (2004): p. 9-39

Mark Berger uses this article to look at the Third World movement in its initiation, development, and current form. As an attempt to challenge the east and west divide with that of north and south, Third Worldism is both beneficial and limited. Berger depicts its emergence out of anti-colonial nationalist and its idealized approach to a pre-colonial and socialist society, founded on Western ideals of modernization. He traces its peak in the 1970s and its decline in the 1980s, post-Cold War, amid global efforts of decolonization, and due to the incongruity of its utopian ideals. Berger argues that the changing geopolitical landscapes have made the Third World an irrelevant and overly-general category which groups many diverse and contradicting perspectives. He begins his argument with the analysis of the Bandung Conference as the manifestation of the beginning of the Third World. The culminating anti-colonial discussion encompassed the disapproval of Western European, Soviet, and American colonial and imperial powers. It also called for technological and cultural Afro-Asian relations within a conversation about human rights and self-determination to provide the foundation for further Third World political meetings, whether or not they enacting the same ideologies. Berger looks at The Great Leap Forward as the result of the Third Word on China’s international relations. India similarly becomes a point of contention between the political strategies of China, Britain, and the United States as Pakistan is in a similar position between the Soviet Union and the Middle East. Economic decline in Nehruvian socialist India threatens to heighten China’s power. Egypt’s convolution of socialism and industrialism link nationalism and industrialization to Third World efforts against neocolonialism. In the second generation of Bandung regimes, 1960s-1970s, Qaddafi and Castro figurehead a more radical and socialist Third World. They reject the bourgeois project of the movement’s initiation as the national liberation movement is exhausted with Zimbabwe. This generation focuses on developmental economics with the UN’s 1974 appeal for a restructuring of the global economic order to favour the Third World. The end of the Bandung era, 1980s-2000s, shows the failure of socialist internationalism and the Third World in intracontinental wars and US globalization efforts which did not enact their humanitarian and democratic goals. The Prime Minister of Malaysia became the voice of the Third World with an anti-Western argument grounded in racial international power relations. The movement is geopolitically reimagined and refocused onto the global inequalities represented by South Africa. Berger looks at contemporary theorists’ discussions of the Third World to show how this movement still informs issues of modernization and race due to its inherently progressive ideology of nationalism. However, the Third World and Bandung are frequently used as a legitimizing narrative in an irrelevant political sphere. Berger ultimately aims to use the history of the Third World to reimagine its participation in 21st century geopolitical discussions.

Burke, Roland. “’The Compelling Dialogue of Freedom’: Human Rights at the Bandung Conference.” Human Rights Quarterly. 28.4 (Nov., 2006): p. 947-965

Roland Burke herein discusses the issues of human rights prominent at the Bandung Conference over its publicized anti-colonial, and suspected anti-Western, dialogue of sovereignty. He argues that this humanitarian conversation has shaped the Third World. Burke finds that Bandung was the first positive expression of human rights issues as they were a large portion of the vocabulary of the conference, it founded later discussions at the UN, its anti-colonialism was based in human rights issues, and authoritarian developmentalism and cultural relativism were not yet impeding on the conversation. He does not argue that these discussions enacted solutions but rather that they were the product of a humanitarian forum. Original organizational discussions and counterarguments were cloaked in the language of human rights and 11 of 25 of the nations’ speeches spoke to human rights issues as its discussion constituted the majority of the conference’s dialogue. Mohammed Ali called human rights and self-determination the centre of the Asian-African global presence whereas Chinese obstructionism and general opposition focused more on their exclusion from the UN. Burke depicts the collaborative effort to have China sign an agreement which accepted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with which they were largely unfamiliar. The discussion of colonialism was surrounded by that of the nature of freedom, national self-determinism, and individual liberty. Soviet imperialism was challenged and the relationship between human rights and poverty was entered into the conversation about national priorities and modernization. The conference’s delegates found human rights issues to be largely authorized by Western nations and thereby imbued with colonial economies. Their resulting Final Communiqué highlight democracy in a manner which Burke works to compare with Western human rights documents.

Chakrabarty, Dipesh.Legacies of Bandung: Decolonisation and the Politics of Culture.” Economic and Political Weekly. 40.46 (Nov. 2005): p. 4812-4818

Dipesh Chakrabarty’s article looks at the politics of decolonization in the uncritical developmental lens of many independent Afro-Asian nations. He seeks a global and “deterritorialised” national identity within the discourse of post-structural, postmodern, and postcolonial difference.  Chakrabarty argues that these nations must acknowledge hybridity in their efforts to completely reject colonial cultures. To found his argument, he looks at anti-colonialism, as founded in colonized countries, and postcolonialism, which arose in the West as an effort from these liberal-capitalist nations to work with immigrants, minorities, and indigenous peoples. The latter is more racial than the nationalist endeavors of the former. Chakrabarty calls this a “pedagogical style of politics” with a hegemonic education system based in the ideology of civilization. He looks at the use of language for decolonization and the formation of the nation at Bandung, particularly Nehru’s pedantic and dogmatic view of India’s cultural superiority and the consideration of Soviet colonialism alongside Western imperialism. The desire to draw level to the West forces an emphasis on development. This ideological displacement then interacts with anthropological and sociological studies of racial oppression and India’s caste system. The English language default of the conference allows for arrogance and dominance in English-speaking leaders as well as direct relations with Britain. They are “given” this language to communicate on an international scale. Standardized English is evidence of the colonizing effects of globalization and the prevalent dominance of the powerful Western nation in cases of liberation and subjugation. African and Asian leader put in the position of having to learn from their colonial oppressors in a manner which prevents them from ever maintaining equal footing. Chakrabarty finds that pluralism is necessary to transcend Western self-serving postcolonialism and its political and geographical interests. He examines the way in which the Bandung conference challenged this process and discusses its effects.

Lee, Christopher J. “Conference Report: ‘Bandung and beyond’: Rethinking Afro-Asian Connections during the Twentieth Century.” African Affairs . 104. 417 (Oct., 2005): p. 683-684

Christopher Lee presents an annual conference organized by Empires and Cultures Workshop at Stanford University entitled ‘Bandung and Beyond: Rethinking Afro- Asian Connections During the Twentieth Century’. The 2005 discussion revolved around rethinking transnational historical connections, particularly South-South relations, and commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Conference with relevant papers bringing that motion into contemporary discussions. This article lays out the topics discussed and Afro-Asian constitutions and ideologies.

Stevens, Georgiana G. “Arab Neutralism and Bandung.” Middle East Journal. 11.2 (Spring, 1957): p. 139-152

Georgiana Stevens herein analyzes the development of neutralism in the Middle East as the Arab states aimed to avoid conflict with the East during the Cold War. She argues that non-alignment and Arab opportunism came out of colonialism in the nationalist debate. Stevens points to the Asian-African Conference at New Delhi in 1949 for the establishment of these relations. Post-war Asia adopted this neutrality and policy of non-involvement as a globalist protest. Iran’s non-alignment was a means of survival which was necessary because of its geography and national resources. Egypt’s neutral tendencies revolved around the Suez Canal, nationalism, and militarism before being compromised by alliances after achieving sovereignty.  She finds that the Western interpretation of modernizing goals as pro-Westernism shows a lack of communication between the West and the Third World. The Middle East’s neutrality is a sacrifice of national security, which Stevens argues demonstrates an ignorance of their national needs. Militarism and its economic demands created Western dependence despite Iraq’s governmental support of neutrality. Their later participation in the Baghdad Pact, which was also supported by Britain, was seen by other Arab countries as a challenge to Egypt’s leadership and nationalist or neutralist independence. Stevens finds that the Arab interest in Bandung was primarily based in the exclusion of Israel, the participation of African nations, and the possibility of negotiations with India. All leaders at Bandung shared a need to share in decisions regarding their nations and defied the colonial exertion of power without communicating intent. Their objectives were mediation and the treatment of international disputes. Middle Eastern contradictions between neutrality and security, in light of Russia’s colonial power, were addressed in an attempt to create a defense system that supported non-alignment and non-aggression. Bandung opened the way for further trade agreements and discussions but an arms deal between the Czechs and Egyptians convoluted the Western assumption of Arab neutrality as Nasir was at odds with the West in issues of Arab independence. Stevens attributes this leniency towards the Soviets to the muted effect of Soviet colonialism for the Arab states in face of dominant Western imperialism. Egypt’s economic neutralism is now deconstructed but Arab neutrality is not dissolute. Stevens concludes that the current Arab-Asian community is strong as the Middle East is adopting a guarded and un-political, rather than defensive, neutrality in the Arab states.

Tarling, Nicholas. ‘Ah-Ah’: Britain and the Bandung Conference of 1955.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 23.1 (Mar., 1992): p. 74-111.

Nicholas Tarling’s article contextualizes the Bandung Conference in Britain’s strategic involvement. The relationship between the gathering nations and colonial Britain demands a reassessment of the establishment of the Third World and its purpose. Tarling analyzes the organization of the conference, beginning with the Colombo conference’s discussion of Indo-Chinese warfare, colonialism, and communism, and through the strategic involvement of Afro-Asian countries based in political tensions and strengths. He cites telegrams sent between the nations’ leaders and among British parliamentarians. Siam’s participation in the conference is disputed due to its anti-Imperialist stance as China’s contribution is challenged because their international power threatened to impede open discussions of communism and non-alignment. The conference is confirmed at the Bogor meeting to promote Afro-Asian cooperation, the consideration of sociological issues, the discussion of national problems of colonialism and race, and to view the Third World as a global power. Britain’s primary opposition to the conference is revoked as Tarling theorizes that Britain encouraged the attendance of wealthy countries to promote the possibility of later collaborations. As the involved nations were careful to not establish an Anti-Western purpose, Britain’s hesitancy may have been due to the risk of Communist propaganda with China’s participation. With a primarily Asian organizational force, Britain’s government discouraged African involvement to prevent Asian leaders from imposing doctrines for African nationalism. Tarling represents Britain’s non-participation to be somewhat pedantic as governmental figures gave advice to the commonwealth leaders about communications within a colonial and communist discussion. He finds evidence for these strategies in draft copies of the communicated telegrams between Britain and the nation’s leaders. In the conference itself, Tarling identifies the discussion’s arguments while noting Britain’s inconspicuous representation. He finds that the conference, despite its initial claims, predominantly focused on memberships with the UN and issues of nuclear weaponry and neutralism. He then discusses its results and the general perceptions of its educative benefits in making the Western superpowers more aware of the East and its ability to assemble and communicate.  The British assessment was that the conference was ultimately harmless, helpful, not challenging to British or Communist rule. Its reaction was therefore subdued as Britain did not consequently retreat from its interference in Southeast Asia.

Further Reading:

Abou-El-Fadl, Reem. “Neutralism Made Positive: Egyptian Anti-Colonialism On The Road To Bandung.” British Journal Of Middle Eastern Studies 42.2 (2015): 219-240. Academic Search Complete. Web.
Acharya, Amitav. “Norm Subsidiarity And Regional Orders: Sovereignty, Regionalism, And Rule-Making In The Third World.”International Studies Quarterly 55.1 (2011): 95-123. Academic Search Complete. Web.
Lumumba-Kasongo, Tukumbi. “Africa-Asia Relations Since The End Of “Unipolar” Globalization: Focus On Education And Research.” African & Asian Studies 12.1/2 (2013): 118-139. Academic Search Complete. Web.
McKercher, Asa. “The Centre Cannot Hold: Canada, Colonialism And The ‘Afro-Asian Bloc’ At The United Nations, 1960–62.”Journal Of Imperial & Commonwealth History 42.2 (2014): 329-349. Academic Search Complete. Web.
PANG YANG, HUEI. “The Four Faces Of Bandung: Detainees, Soldiers, Revolutionaries And Statesmen.” Journal Of Contemporary Asia 39.1 (2009): 63-86. Academic Search Complete. Web.
SHIMAZU, NAOKO. “Diplomacy As Theatre: Staging The Bandung Conference Of 1955.” Modern Asian Studies 48.1 (2014): 225-252. Academic Search Complete. Web.
Slobodian, Quinn. “Bandung In Divided Germany: Managing Non-Aligned Politics In East And West, 1955–63.” Journal Of Imperial & Commonwealth History 41.4 (2013): 644-662. Academic Search Complete. Web.
Wood, Sally Percival. “‘CHOU GAGS CRITICS IN BANDOENG’ or How the Media Framed Premier Zhou Enlai at the Bandung Conference, 1955”. Modern Asian Studies 44.5 (Sept. 2010): 1001-1027. JSTOR. Web.
Recent books and scholarly web sites
Bibliography of the 1955 Bandung conference with links to books on worldcat
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