postcolonialism, Stalin, affirmative action, anti-colonialism

Document Type

Main Theme / Tema Central


This article argues that a significant, albeit forgotten piece of the history of post-colonialism concerns none other than Joseph Stalin. The study begins by picking up on the insight, from Christina Petterson, that the abolition of the ‘second world’ (the socialist world) was a precondition for the arrival of postcolonial theory, which tellingly came into its own only after 1989. The next step is to investigate the thought and practice of Stalin in the Soviet Union, for he was the architect of what has been called the world’s first and most comprehensive affirmative action program, especially in relation to nationalities, or what are now called ethnic minorities. However, the most significant feature is the logical extension of the affirmative action program, internal to the Soviet Union, to anti-colonial struggle. As a result, the Soviet Union fostered and supported anti-colonial struggles throughout the world. This support, in terms of ideology and military hardware, enabled what is now known as the era of postcolonialism and thereby postcolonial theory. The challenge of the article is to reposition Stalin as a perhaps unwelcome presence in the genealogy of postcolonial theory.



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