Professor of History and Dean of International Programmes Dominic Alessio has published a new article examining non-state actors in the story of empire. Entitled “Filibustering from Africa to the Americas: non-state actors and empire”, the work has been published in Small Wars & Insurgencies (27:6, 1043-1066). It looks at dominant definitions of empire, in particular those emphasizing large polities as the sole agents of imperial expansion. By doing so, it draws attention to the overlooked role of filibusters: private, non-state actors who initiate unauthorized military endeavours, either in an attempt to carve out empires for themselves or for their home state. By examining African and Asian examples it demonstrates that filibustering is not a practice unique only to the Americas or to the nineteenth century as so much of the literature suggests. Lastly, it scrutinizes the cultural and historical impact of the phenomenon. In terms of the former, it argues that filibustering had an important literary and filmic influence on writers such as Conrad and Verne. Regarding the latter, it advocates that it frequently led to further violent intercessions in many of the countries occupied and influenced a particular style of proto-fascistic and charismatic militarism.
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