The End of Empire

Berny Sèbe (University of Birmingham, UK) in association with Matt Stanard (Berry College, USA)
Co-organizers, The End of Empire conference, University of Birmingham


I am delighted to announce the following two events which might be of interest to readers of the Imperial and Global Forum:


– A roundtable on “Franco-British Studies: Experience and Methods” which I have organised to take place at the Maison française d’Oxford on 10 January 2017, with seven British and French scholars reflecting upon the benefits of cross-cultural comparisons between France and Britain. Please see information below for more information.


– The international conference The End of Empire: European Popular Responses, 11-13 January 2017, co-organised by myself and Matt Stanard (Berry College, USA) with support from the Past & Present Society, the University of Birmingham, the Maison française d’Oxford and Berry College. More than twenty five international scholars will reflect together upon the cultural consequences of decolonisation on European societies, with Elizabeth Buettner, Richard Drayton, Charles Forsdick, John MacKenzie and Stuart Ward delivering plenary sessions, and Wm Roger Louis providing the concluding remarks.


More information on


Attendance to both events is free but booking your place is recommended (see below).

Les études franco-britanniques : expérience et méthode

Franco-British Studies: experience and methods

Organised by Berny Sèbe (University of Birmingham)

Organisé par Berny Sèbe (Université de Birmingham)

Roundtable with/Table ronde avec

Guillemette Crouzet (Graduate Institute, Geneva), Michael Finch (King’s College London), Daniel Foliard (Université Paris 10), Jean-François Klein (Université du Havre),

Ed Naylor (University of Portsmouth), Simon Potter (University of Bristol)

and Jessica Wardhaugh (University of Warwick)

The benefits of comparative approaches have become increasingly evident as more scholars possess the linguistic and cultural tools to engage with more than one national context.

For historical, geographical and intellectual reasons, the Franco-British comparison has been among the most prolific representatives of the genre. What does this field of comparison bring to the humanities in general, and to historical research in particular? What are the new avenues of research which can be explored? The practice and future of comparative research will be at the heart of this roundtable bringing together scholars from both sides of the Channel who have experienced the value of boundary crossing – whether it be intellectual, linguistic or political.

Les avantages des approches comparatives sont apparus de plus en plus évidents à mesure qu’augmentait le nombre de chercheurs possédant les outils linguistiques et culturels leur permettant d’aller au-delà du simple contexte national. Pour des raisons historiques, géographiques et intellectuelles, la comparaison franco-britannique a été l’une des plus dynamiques dans le domaine. Quels sont les apports de cette approche dans les humanités en général, et dans la science historique en particulier ? Quelles sont les nouvelles directions de recherche qui pourraient être explorées ? La pratique et le futur de la recherche comparative sont au cœur de cette table ronde qui réunit des chercheurs des deux côtés de la Manche, qui ont pu faire l’expérience des bénéfices du franchissement de frontières – qu’elles soient intellectuelles, linguistiques ou politiques.


10 January 20172.00 – 5.00 pm / 10 janvier 2017 – 14 h – 17 h

2.00 – 3.20 pm

Meilleurs ennemis or sparring partners? Britain, France and the exercise of comparison

Meilleurs ennemis ou sparring partners ? La Grande-Bretagne, la France et la conduite de la comparaison

3.20 – 3.40 pm

Coffee break – pause café

3.40 – 5.00 pm

Beyond French Studies, British Studies and Etudes britanniques: new directions of research

Au-delà des French Studies, British et des Etudes britanniques : nouvelles directions de recherche

Lieu / Venue

Maison française d’Oxford, 2-10 Norham Road, OX2 6SE

Event organized in partnership with the conference The End of Empire: European Popular Responses (

Evénement organisé en partenariat avec le colloque The End of Empire: European Popular Responses (


The End of Empire: European Popular Responses

International Conference

Woodbrooke Conference Centre, Birmingham B29 6LJ

Wednesday 11 January 2017

12.45 – 1.45 pm Optional lunch

1.45 pm Word of welcome by the organisers

2.00 – 3.00 pm Opening plenary

Richard Drayton, King’s College London (UK), The Decolonisation of Europe: The Imperial Centres and the End of Empire

3.00 – 6.00 pm Decolonisation: Rethinking Global Networks

Amanda Behm, University of York (UK), Magna Carta and the End of Empire

Anne-Isabelle Richard, Leiden University (The Netherlands), Fearing the End of Colonial Empire, Advocating European Cooperation

4.20 pm Break (20 minutes)

Elizabeth Foster, Tufts University (USA), Antislavery, Catholic Charity, and the End of French Empire in Sub-Saharan Africa 1950-1970

Mathilde von Bülow, Glasgow University (UK), Algeria’s War of Independence, World Refugee Year, and the Re-invention of Humanitarianism in West Germany, 1954-1962

6.15 – 7.15 pm Dinner

7.30 pm Evening plenary

John M. MacKenzie, University of Lancaster (UK), The End of Empire and the Four Nations (or should that be Three?)

Thursday 12 January 2017

9.00 am – Noon Processes of Decolonisation

Kathleen (Leen) Gyssels, Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium), Bringing the “Tirailleur sénégalais” into the Francophone Literary Frame: The Black Experience of the Second World War in French-Caribbean Literature, Léon Damas to Edouard Glissant

Vincent Kuitenbrouwer, Universiteit van Amsterdam (The Netherlands), “Partly Semantic, Partly Substantial”: The Shifting Debate on the New Guinea Question in the Netherlands, 1950-1962

10.20 am Break (20 minutes)

Giuseppe Finaldi, University of Western Australia, Italy’s Brave New Post-imperial World and the “Mogadishu Massacre” of January 1948

Mo Moulton, University of Birmingham (UK), Ireland and Decolonisation: A Model or a Limit Case?

11.45 Midday plenary

Stuart Ward, Københavns Universitet (Denmark), Spring 1968 and the Embers of Empire

12.45-1.45 pm Lunch

2.00 – 6.00 pm Material Cultures of Decolonisation

Berny Sèbe, University of Birmingham (UK), Fragments and Figments of Empire: Desert Memories in Britain and in France after 1960

Idesbald Goddeeris, KU Leuven (Belgium), The Limits of the Counter-voice: Postcolonial Criticism in Belgian Theater and TV in the 1970s and 1980s

Barbara Spadaro, University of Bristol (UK), Transnational Ties, Transcultural Belonging, and Italian Citizenship: Roberto Nunes Vais’ Memories of Libya

3.50 pm Break (25 minutes)

4.15 – 6.00 pm Material Cultures of Decolonisation (continued)

Matthew Stanard, Berry College (USA), Some ABCs of Post-Colony Belgium: Africana, Belgian Collections, and the Decolonization Experience

Chris Jeppesen, University College London (UK), The Elephant Not in the Room: Nostalgia, Absence and the Memory of Empire

Sarah Longair, University of Lincoln (UK), Domestic Museums of Decolonisation? Objects, Officials and Making “Home” in Britain

6.15 pm Dinner

7.30 pm Evening plenary

Charles Forsdick, University of Liverpool (UK), Fragments of Empire: Ephemera and the Dynamics of Colonial Memory

Friday 13 January 2017

9.30 – 12.45 pm Legacies of Decolonisation

Sarah Demart, Université de Liège (Belgium), Facing Black Belgians and the Ruins of Belgian Imperialism: The Continuity of Institutional Paradigms

Chris Prior, University of Southampton (UK), Britain as the Bringer of Democracy? Postcolonial Africa and Metropolitan Memories of the Imperial Mission

Jean-François Klein, Université du Havre (France), The Langues Orientales from Colonial to Post-colonial Times

10.45 am Break (20 minutes)

9.30 – 12.45 pm Legacies of Decolonisation, continued

Michael Collins, University College London (UK), UK Domestic Reactions to the Exile of Freddie Mutesa (title tbc)

Diane Jeanblanc, Université Paris I – Panthéon Sorbonne (France) The Tumultuous Integration of Postcolonial Immigration in the former French and British Colonial Empires

Britta Schilling, Universiteit Utrecht (The Netherlands), An Awkward Heirloom: Coming to Terms with German Colonialism

Sasha D. Pack, University at Buffalo (The State University of New York, USA), Spain and the End of European Empire: Borderline Responses to a Borderland Conundrum

12.45 – 1.45 pm Lunch

2.00 pm Closing plenary

Liz Buettner, Universiteit van Amsterdam (The Netherlands), European Dimensions of Postcolonial Migration: Britain in Comparative Perspective

3.00 pm Concluding remarks

Wm. Roger Louis, University of Texas at Austin (USA)

To register attendance:

Please e-mail and

For more information, please visit

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