Creating the Third World: Anticolonial Diplomacy and the Search for a New International Economic Order,1960-1975

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Chang, Vivien, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Hitchcock, William, AS-History (HIST), University of Virginia

“Creating the Third World: Anticolonial Diplomacy and the Search for a New International Economic Order, 1960-1975” uncovers how anticolonial elites in sub-Saharan Africa pursued economic decolonization in the 1960s and 1970s. These efforts culminated in the 1974 passing of the New International Economic Order (NIEO), a set of United Nations proposals that the Group of 77 put forward with the aim of transferring the fruits of economic integration from developed to developing nations. Situating this imagined economy in the context of the Cold War, the processes of decolonization, the acceleration of globalization, and the renegotiation of public and private power in the international system, this dissertation unearths the origins of various movements for new international economic orders in earlier and concurrent visions of anticolonial unity and economic emancipation. With reference to a range of sources—United Nations records, U.S. presidential papers, NGO documents, and also personal papers and memoirs—it reveals how African elites engaged in repeated experimentation in hopes of finding the right strategy to unlock the human potential that colonialism and racism had suppressed: from regional federation to strategies of self-reliance, international commodity agreements to progressive modes of private commerce. “Creating the Third World” demonstrates how the “long movement for a new international economic order” evolved and expanded through its interactions with national bureaucracies, international agencies, intellectual networks, and grassroots organizations, as well as how structural constraints and contingent choices gave rise to an imperfect NIEO rather than its alternatives, shaping patterns of inequality and insecurity across Africa and the world.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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