Decolonizing the Cosmo-Polis: Cosmopolitanism as a Rehumanizing Project

  • Yountae An 
Part of the New Approaches to Religion and Power book series (NARP)


This chapter takes a critical approach to cosmopolitanism by examining the formative historical moments of Western cosmopolitanism. I examine the 16th century Spanish Valladolid debate with the end of uncovering the colonial-imperial root of modern cosmopolitanism that is the juridico-theological notions of property and freedom informing liberal humanism, with which cosmopolitanism is deeply entangled. I seek to reconsider cosmopolitanism in light of the lost tradition of negative cosmopolitanism, which can be found at the very inception of kosmopolitês. In order to counter the problematic notion of the human that gave rise to the dominant liberal brand of cosmopolitanism, I turn to Martinican psychiatrist and revolutionary Frantz Fanon, who saw his cosmopolitan politics as a rehumanizing project against the European ideal of universal humanity, which is sustained only at the expense of dehumanization of others. Fanon helps us to reconceive cosmopolitanism as a movement of negation that resists the dehumanizing neocolonial theology of globalization.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yountae An 
    • 1
  1. 1.California State University, NorthridgeNorthridgeUSA

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