Introduction: John Hinkson
Why Settler Colonialism?
For some readers the theme of settler colonialism may suggest a preoccupation with the past. After all, they might say, with exceptions like South Africa, which has more recently discarded many remnants of colonial cruelty, the colonial period ended after the Second World War. Apart from the historical record, what is the point of a focus on the legacy of settler societies? Such a view is mistaken in more ways than one: certainly this is so in view of the Palestine question, where we encounter a grave example of settler colonialism that has become, in stages, a threat to the whole world. As well as that crucial matter, we find an even more insidious legacy, for settler colonialism is a practice that relies upon assumptions about other cultures that are alive and well in the most powerful societies in the contemporary world.
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