Salar Mohandesi, Bowdoin College, Maine

Salar Mohandesi returns to the Vietnam War to offer a new interpretation of the transnational left’s most transformative years. In the 1960s, radicals mobilized ideas from the early twentieth century to reinvent a critique of imperialism that promised not only to end the war but also to overthrow the global system that made such wars possible. Focusing on encounters between French, American, and Vietnamese radicals, Mohandesi explores how their struggles did change the world, but in unexpected ways that allowed human rights to increasingly displace anti-imperialism as the dominant idiom of internationalism. When anti-imperialism collapsed in the 1970s, human rights emerged as a hegemonic alternative channeling anti-imperialism’s aspirations while rejecting systemic change. Approaching human rights as neither transhistorical truth nor cynical imperialist ruse but instead as a symptom of anti-imperialism’s epochal crisis, Red Internationalism dramatizes a shift that continues to affect prospects for emancipatory political change in the future.


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