Reading List

Histories of Global Underdevelopment


Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa is a major work of underdevelopment theory, but it is also a key text in understanding global politics generally. Rodney's work shows that colonialism was not simply a phase of exploitation banished to the past. Rather, the legacy of colonialism is a major cause of the developmental gap between the global north and south. This legacy is therefore central to understanding the entire history of global politics. The readings below analyze the history, theory, and effects of underdevelopment beyond Africa to the entire post-colonial world, outlining the various ways advanced countries halted or fundamentally altered paths of development in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, India, and beyond, leading to many of the conflicts that continue to hinder the developing world today. 

An exemplary work of political, economic, and historical analysis, powerfully introduced by Angela Davis.

Building on a growing body of transnational and interdisciplinary research on the political imaginaries of settler colonialism as a specific mode of domination, this book uncovers and subjects to critique an autonomous, influential, and coherent political tradition—a tradition still relevant today.

The occupation of Afghanistan is over, and a balance sheet can be drawn. These essays on war and peace in the region reveal Tariq Ali at his sharpest and most prescient.

Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory. Focusing on the hugely popular Subaltern Studies project, Chibber shows that its foundational arguments are based on a series of analytical and historical misapprehensions.

A magisterial melding of global ecological and political history, disclosing the nineteenth-century roots of underdevelopment in what became the Third World.

“An approachable yet erudite reconsideration of Brazilian politics between 1994 and Bolsonaro’s first year in office … The prose is light, delightfully romping through the twists and turns of Brazilian political life and skewering everyone along the way.” – Matthew M. Taylor, Latin American Research Review

How rebellious colonies changed British attitudes to empire.

The Indian Ideology caused uproar on first publication in 2012, not least for breaking with euphemisms for Delhi’s occupation of Kashmir. This new, expanded edition includes the author’s reply to his critics, an interview with the Indian weekly Outlook, and a postscript on India under the rule of Narendra Modi.

The reactions of the British state to post-war immigration reflected the shift in world politics from empires to decolonization.

 The definitive analysis of Hindu nationalism in contemporary India and the challenges for the radical Left.

The classic, brilliant, best-selling account of the rise of the world’s slums, where, according to the United Nations, one billion people now live.

The definitive account of exploitation in the Congo, introduced by Adam Hochschild.

How the political violence of modern jihad echoes the crises of western liberalism.

In this definitive historical investigation, Italian author and philosopher Domenico Losurdo argues that from the outset liberalism, as a philosophical position and ideology, has been bound up with the most illiberal of policies: slavery, colonialism, genocide, racism and snobbery. 

Further Reading

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