The Moving Location of Empire: Indirect Rule, International Law, and the Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment

Eslava, Luis (2018) The Moving Location of Empire: Indirect Rule, International Law, and the Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment. Leiden Journal of International Law, 31 (3). pp. 539-567. ISSN 0922-1565. E-ISSN 1478-9698. (doi:10.1017/S0922156518000328)

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Abstract

Between 1935 and 1937, the International Missionary Council conducted the Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment. The objective was to produce silent educational films and screen them to ‘native’ people via mobile cinemas in the British territories in East and Central Africa. Embracing the principle of ‘indirect rule’, and its role in training colonial subjects in economic self-sufficiency and political self-rule, as then advocated by leading colonial figures and the League of Nations, the films strived to capture ‘the native point of view’ through an ‘ethnographic sensitivity’ towards local cultures, concerns and needs. Hoping to educate the natives from ‘within’, they used local actors, familiar locations and pedagogical instructions that were believed to meet the target audience’s cognitive capacity. Though in many respects unsuccessful, the experiment cemented the use of cinema in the late colonial project and, more importantly, embodied the clear move at the time towards a more dynamic and disaggregated, yet perhaps never fully post-imperial, international order. I argue in this article that the Bantu Experiment is thus a telling instance through which to examine both the mobility and multiplicity of late imperial locations and the system of modern international administration that emerged during the interwar period. I suggest that this mobility and multiplicity continue to characterize the workings of today’s international order, indicating the key role that ‘indirect rule’, as a silent principle of international law, still plays in its functioning today.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0922156518000328
Additional information: 2 year embargo, date of publication not yet confirmed. Needs linking to publishers version // version queried - MW 30.3.17 // chased 5.6.17 CB - no reply
Uncontrolled keywords: International Law, Imperialism, Indirect Rule, League of Nations, Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Sarah Slowe
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2017 11:17 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 18:52 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/61082 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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