SPIN is delighted to host the book launch for SPIN-ster Dr. Oliver Kearns’ new book, The Covert Colour Line: The Racialised Politics of Western State Intelligence
About the Event
April 28th 2023 – 16:00-18:00 (GMT+1), followed by a drinks reception
Chair: Professor Brian Rappert, University of Exeter.
Discussants: Dr. Claudia Hillebrand (Cardiff University), Dr. Shuk Ying Chan (UCL), and Dr. Ahmed Abozaid (University of Southampton).
The event has now taken place. Please follow this link, which will take you to a recording of the event:
About the Book
Russia’s war in Ukraine has seen Western intelligence gain a very public role: from British statements about Vladimir Putin’s state of mind, to mistaken CIA assumptions about the Ukrainians’ will to resist. This drama takes place exactly twenty years after the invasion of Iraq, when intelligence relied not just on false WMD claims but on sketchy arguments about Saddam Hussein’s ethnic hatred.
So where do these ‘expert’ ideas of inferior cultures and irrational psychologies come from? And could this untold story help reveal intelligence’s hidden role in global injustice today?
Using declassified documents from the 1940s to the present, The Covert Colour Line argues that postwar Western intelligence represents an emergency response to anti-colonialism. As European empires collapsed, intelligence analy
sts scrambled to come up with ways of studying new independent governments and populations, while still defending the right of the US and Britain to dictate Middle Eastern affairs. The racial ideas they produced over the next decades – from ‘Arab regimes’ to ‘strategic cultures’ – always exacerbated a basic tension, between trying to understand a changing world and insisting that only white Westerners can see that world objectively. Today, this racist delusion continues to shut down opportunities to de-escalate global conflict.