Transnational Networks of Anti-Imperialism

Mexico City in the Long 1920s

Thomas Lindner (completed PhD Project, 2019)

The fight against the imperial world order after the First World War brought together many heterogeneous social groups in Latin America. The banner of anti-imperialism offered a powerful framework within which intellectuals, political activists, and artists could establish contacts with each other. These groups quickly developed their own organizations, media outlets, and informal networks, all contributing to the creation of an explicitly anti-imperialist discourse. The ruptures of the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the Mexican Revolution all played a role in calling traditional strategies of argumentation and historical narratives into question. For their part, these discursive shifts had a long-lasting impact on Latin American societies. Latin American anti-imperialists integrated non-American struggles into their analysis and linked up their work with contemporaneous developments in Africa and Asia. Latin America’s own post-colonial status increasingly became the basis for a global consciousness and a starting point for transnational connections.

This PhD project analyses the development of networks of anti-imperialist agitation in Mexico City during the long 1920s, placing particular focus on their transnational origins and entanglements. It combines "global intellectual history" with transnational social movement studies. The "global" in this work is not understood as an a priori category or object of study, but rather as a perspective. The project traces the development of transnational networks in Mexico City, a rapidly globalizing city which served as a crucial hub for anti-imperialist activities. Some of the project’s key questions include: How did anti-imperialism emerge in Mexico City and under which circumstances did it change over time? How were anti-imperialist networks created, sustained, and performed in the city during the 1920s? How did local networks of activism interact with global movements and how did transnational connectivity shape these networks?

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