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Lecture 1

POLI 227 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Hacienda, East India Company, European Colonialism


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 227
Professor
Rex Brynen
Lecture
1

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THE IMPACT OF COLONIALISM
1492: convenient starting point for the beginning of an area of European colonialism
that would last more than 4 centuries = shaping the post colonial world
- dynamics of colonial rule
- decolonization
Pre-colonial societies before the arrival of European colonialism (different from
large systems of governance like India – places where fragmented systems,
economies, politics in villages, clans and tribes)
Impossible to generalize about pre colonial societies because of
Their diversity that makes them hard to analyze
Lack of written records – about tradition
However
Various patterns of agriculture (predominant agriculture societies, agriculture
production was more for purposes of local production even though it could also be
assimilated with trade, but most subsistence-based
High birth and death rates to keep some population stability
Decentralized, parochial (no pejorative sense – if you’re living in a village in which
long distance trade is not greatly important for you, if communication of
transportation is weak and if your survival depends on what you do/village do, what
the other people do around you in the world has small importance)
= survival bound up with your immediate local
Traditional societies: it suggests that patterns of life (including eco activity) tend to
reproduce years after years because it worked – if farming works, you tend to
reproduce it
Expansion of colonial rule: the Americas (general pattern ≠ from Asia/Africa)
Led by conquest (physical acquisition of the territory), followed by trade – they didn’t
have decade of trading relationships. Areas conquered and after the physical control
established, then trade began to follow after colonies established (export of
agricultural products from British colonies)
Latin America

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Spanish + Portuguese – first to establish trading ports – expansion
- colonial rule rigid and brutal – extermination of population – rest
was catholicized – importation of black African slaves
- golden sugar
North America
French and British
= The Americas profoundly changed by the colonialists. Post colonialism looked
nothing like those societies in the pre colonial period.
Expansion of colonial rule: Asia
Trade followed by conquest
First Portuguese, then Dutch (East Indies), British (India), France (Indochina)
(17th 18th century) = competition among themselves for profitable trade and
conquests. Semi official trading companies to control European trades - backed by
the power of the state (ex: British East Indian company). Less colonial settlement
in Asia, less marginalization of the local population (much more robust
socially and politically)
Semi official trading companies
= Less colonial settlement in Asia. Colonialism didn’t not influence the societies in
the profound way it could have done for the Americas
Expansion of colonial rule: Africa
Initial colonization of coast
16th-18th/19th century: slave trade
scramble for Africa : Africa itself not seem as desirable as economic objective. The
Americas had gold, silver, sugar, tobacco, Asia had spices. Africa had a coast line,
slaves but it wasn’t seen as having particular value for the European colonialists.
That changed between 1870 and the 1900 with the scramble for Africa – mad
sudden scramble for colonies in Africa.
1914 on the eve of WWI with almost everything under European colonial control –
literally it was a scramble, European would stop marching until they run into each
other.
European colonialism was extending because of their industrialization which made
them in need for resources + colonialism as a symbol of national power + geological
strategy
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Middle east was the last part of the world to be colonized because pre existed
empire present there which control much of the middle east. Turkish rule for
centuries that made middle east a super power for few centuries before declining –
colonies lost to the Europeans. The Ottoman empire (= was really powerful, took a
while to decline, for the Europeans to colonial)
= Not the same scramble in north Africa (middle east)
conclusion: What colonialism did – modernization – European trade, political
system etc was accelerated by colonialism. However European colonial powers did
develop technologies but at their own interests (building rails for them and not for
Indians)
Youtube : colonialism in 10 minutes, the scramble for Africa
although the shift from subsistence to cash crop agriculture is accelerated by
colonialism (more particularly British taxation policy), the shift is not Necessarily a
function of colonialism, in some cases it happened before/after colonial rule
- colonial economic policies can reshape the very nature of the societies in the
developing world
the shift from affected a number of small peasants – depends on the nature of
agriculture production in a particular region – small producing peasants can actually
do well in shift to cash crops – depends on productivity and what you’re producing
- but small peasants less able to withstand market fluctuations than medium
producers
migration was push migration – hard to make a living in the countryside because
- changes in the world political economy – concentration of landholdings with an
increasingly capitalist market
- improvement of health care – increase of population for same amount of land being
available for a larger number of agriculturalists.
- urban areas more attractive, wages are higher, services better
development not equally distributed among populations, class, ethnic groups etc
Egypt: democratic parliamentary elections – we don’t yet have a transition –
parliament elected suppose to point a community that would write the constitution.
But the government (prime minister + cabinet) are not appointed by the parliament
but by the executive power still in the hands of the military = military government that
came in when the dictator was overthrown
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