Scars of Partition


Scars of Partition

Postcolonial Legacies in French and British Borderlands

William F. S. Miles

386 pages
4 photographs, 3 illustrations, 21 maps, 9 tables


July 2014


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

July 2014


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

July 2014


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Based on three decades of fieldwork throughout the developing world, Scars of Partition is the first book to systematically evaluate the long-term implications of French and British styles of colonialism and decolonization for ordinary people throughout the so-called Third World. It pays particular attention to the contemporary legacies of artificial boundaries superimposed by Britain and France that continue to divide indigenous peoples into separate postcolonial states. In so doing, it uniquely illustrates how the distinctive stamps of France and Britain continue to mark daily life along and behind these inherited borders in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean.
Scars of Partition draws on political science, anthropology, history, and geography to examine six cases of indigenous, indentured, and enslaved peoples partitioned by colonialism in West Africa, West Indies, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, South India, and the Indian Ocean. William F. S. Miles demonstrates that sovereign nations throughout the developing world, despite basic differences in culture, geography, and politics, still bear the underlying imprint of their colonial pasts. Disentangling and appreciating these embedded colonial legacies is critical to achieving full decolonization—particularly in their borderlands.

Author Bio

William F. S. Miles is a professor of political science at Northeastern University in Boston. He is the author of numerous books, including Hausaland Divided: Colonialism and Independence in Nigeria and Niger and Bridging Mental Boundaries in a Postcolonial Microcosm: Identity and Development in Vanuatu.


"By focusing on the experiences of partitioned peoples in specific borderlands, Miles offers a rigorous political assessment of the global legacies of colonialisms in the twenty-first century."—Kate Marsh, Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies

"A pioneering, thoroughly researched and elegantly written piece of work, which is the first of its kind to offer perspectives on the British and French imperial experiences through their 'contact zones'."—Berny Sebe, French History

"William Miles’s Scars of partition is an enormously ambitious work."—Mark Leopold, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“This splendid volume is a seminal contribution to the comparative study of colonialism, decolonization, and colonial legacy. . . . A magnum opus embodying a lifetime of careful research, and a strikingly original research design.”—Crawford Young, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and author of The Postcolonial State in Africa: Fifty Years of Independence

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. Anglo-French Partition and Postcolonialism
2. Classical Colonial Partition: West Africa
3. Partition by Island: West Indies
4. Political Arbitrariness of Archipelagoes: The South Pacific
5. Soft, Sequential, and Hybridic Colonialism: French India and the Indian Ocean
6. Mainland Southeast Asia and the Conundrum of Communism
7. Scars of Partition in Postcolonial Borderlands and Beyond


2017 Past Presidents' Silver Book Award from the Association for Borderland Studies 

Also of Interest