Literary culture after 1945 took shape in a context where a handful of colonial empires were replaced by (at present count) nearly two hundred sovereign nation-states whose domestic politics, foreign policy, and cultural life were profoundly shaped by their relationship to the Cold War superpowers. One of the striking features of the historiography of this post-1945 world is that its two most salient themes-the Cold War, and decolonization-have so often been treated in isolation from each other. Postcolonialism and Cold War studies have, as Monica Popescu tells us, followed separate, largely non-intersecting paths (6). Yet even a superficial summary of the key geopolitical developments of the postwar period suggests that the Cold War and decolonization are not just interconnected, but mutually determining. When you take into account the decolonizing world, in some places afflicted by devastating proxy wars in this period, it must be said (it has often been said) that the Cold War was cruelly misnamed. This dual history has shaped our political language. A term like the West, as it is used in academic debates as well as in political, journalistic, and policymaking fields, developed its particular set of associations by contrast with the communist Eastern bloc on the one hand and with the (post)colonial global south on the other. Yet these two versions of the non-Western don't always line up: Although anticolonial movements often sought to align themselves with the international communist movement, many proudly independent postcolonial nation-states were explicitly anti-communist (like the neoliberal regimes in Singapore and South Korea). Other postcolonies grappled with the Soviet Union or the People's Republic of China as a colonial power.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-133
Number of pages6
JournalCambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2023

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