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Vernacular Anti-Imperialism

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Geographies are taking center stage in debates about new, contested forms of imperialism. Geographers have developed a powerful analysis of the spatial dynamics of imperialism, which remains somewhat rarefied, obscuring many of the ways in which people speak about imperialism in their daily lives. Taking seriously the postcolonial injunction to listen to colonized peoples and to those who stand with and for them, this article describes empirical research among activists who bring anti-imperialism to practical political projects and in so doing animate and renew this way of thinking and speaking. Interviews were conducted with members of three politicized communities, who mobilized distinct anti-imperial traditions in their opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These interviews—with Muslims, nationalist-separatists, and socialists in the United Kingdom—chart a series of interconnected, vernacular spaces of resistance. They show and suggest how, in the grounded and heterogeneous places of activist practice, and through imaginative and rhetorical geographies of resistance, the ideas and languages of imperialism are being mobilized and measured, sometimes found wanting, but ultimately animated and renewed.
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Keywords: Muslim; activism; activismo; anti-imperialism; anti-imperialismo; guerra al terror; imperialism; imperialismo; musulmanes; war on terror

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography,University of Liverpool,

Publication date: 01 September 2011

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