Colonial Counterinsurgency in Comparative Perspective, Sept. 18-19

Gareth Curless and Martin Thomas
Centre for War, State, and Society, University of Exeter

Palestine police poster (1)Online registration is now open for a two-day conference, ‘Colonial Counterinsurgency in Comparative Perspective’, to be held on 18 and 19 September 2014, the University of Exeter.

The recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have prompted renewed interest in Britain’s colonial experience of rebellion and state breakdown, while current French interventions in Mali and the Central African Republic have stirred controversy over French military actions in former colonial dependencies, promoting accusations of ‘imperialist humanitarianism’. Yet, in spite of increasing interest in the history of counterinsurgency and empire, we lack comparative studies of colonial responses to armed insurrection, civil disorder, anti-colonial paramilitaries and other irregular forces. The aim of the conference is to address this imbalance by drawing on examples from the British, Dutch, French, and Portuguese empires, as well as case studies from China and Southern Africa.

Organised by Professor Martin Thomas and Dr Gareth Curless, the conference will be hosted by the Centre for War, State and Society and is supported by a University of Exeter HASS Project Development award. The Conference will take place in the Strategy and Security Institute’s Knightley Building and will begin at 9.00am on Thursday 18 September. To register for the conference please click here.

Thursday 18th September 

9.00-9.30 Registration and Welcome

9.30-10.30 Panel 1

Kim Wagner, Queen Mary, University of London: ‘The Amritsar Massacre and the Genealogy of Colonial Violence.’

Joe Lawson, University of Newcastle: ‘Cultures of Paramilitarism in Southwest China, 1800-1956.’

10.30-10.45 Break

10.45-12.15 Panel 2                     

Moritz Feichtinger, University of Bern: ‘Strategic Villages: Forced Relocation, Counterinsurgency and Social Engineering in Kenya and Algeria, 1952-1962.’

Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo, Universidade de Lisboa: ‘A Repressive Developmentalism: The Portuguese Imperial Endgame (1940-1975).’

Karl Hack, Open University: ‘From Batang Kali in Malaya to Hola to Kenya: British Geodemographic control and the Art of Comparing Counterinsurgencies.’

12.15-13.45 Lunch 

13.45-15.15 Panel 3                    

David Anderson, Warwick University: ‘South Africa’s Counterinsurgencies: The Cold War and White Supremacy, 1961-89.’

Norrie MacQueen, University of St Andrews: ‘British Policy and the Last Phase of Portugal’s African Wars.’

Huw Bennett, Aberystwyth University: ‘The Crater Effect: Aden’s Resonances in the Early Northern Ireland Troubles.’

15.15-15.30 Break

15.30-16.30 Panel 4

Stacey Hynd, University of Exeter: ‘Children in Colonial Counterinsurgency: The Development of the ‘Child Combatant’ in Military and Humanitarian Thought in Kenya and Algeria.’

Brian Drohan, University of North Carolina: ‘Subverting the State: Counterinsurgency and the Cyprus Bar Council, 1955-59.’

19.00 Conference Dinner

Friday 19th September

9.00-9.30 Tea/Coffee

9.30-11.00 Panel 1

Mathew Hughes, Brunel University: ‘Pseudo Warfare, Peace Bands, and Collaboration during the Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936-39.’

Martin Thomas, University of Exeter: ‘From Setif to Moramanga: The Repressive Turn in the French Colonial Postwar.’

Roel Frakking, European University Institute: ‘‘More Troops for the Pacification’: The Plantation Counterinsurgency in the Netherlands East Indies, 1948-1950.’

11.00-11.15 Break

11.15-12.45 Panel 2

Emmanuel Blanchard, Université Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines: ‘Maurice Papon as chief of Paris Police, 1958-62: New apparatus to conquer the “hearts and minds” of Algerian immigrants?’

Mathilde von Bülow, University of Glasgow: ‘Rebel Sanctuaries and Late Colonial Conflicts: The Case of Federal Germany during Algeria’s War of Independence, 1954-1962.’

Rory Cormac, University of Nottingham: ‘Intelligence in Colonial Counterinsurgency.’

12.45-13.45 Lunch

12.45-14.45 Panel 3         

Nikita Shah, Warwick University: ‘Hearts and Minds or Fear and Coercion.’

Jeremy Kuzmarov, University of Tulsa: ‘Modernizing Repression: Police Training and Nation Building in the American Century.’

14.45-15.00 Break

15.00-15.45 Roundtable Discussion