You are warmly invited to attend the fourth annual lecture of the Centre for Imperial and Global History, which will be delivered by Prof. Elizabeth Buettner of the University of Amsterdam. Her lecture will be entitled ‘Colonialism: A Shared EUropean History and Legacy’.
When/where: It will take place on Thursday 16 May at 5pm in the Queen’s Building, Margaret Rooms 2 & 3.
Attendance is free but please do register on Eventbrite.
Prof. Buettner’s research centres on British imperial, social, and cultural history since the late nineteenth century along with other European nations’ histories of late colonialism, decolonisation and their domestic ramifications. In the coming years she looks forward to expanding upon previous research on postcolonial South Asian migration and cultures in diaspora, placing South Asians in Britain within wider transnational contexts. Prof. Buettner received her BA from Barnard College of Columbia University and her MA and PhD from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She has taught in England at the University of York since 2000 and in 2012-2013 held a senior research fellowship at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany in conjunction with a British Academy mid-career fellowship. Buettner’s publications include Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India (Oxford University Press, 2004) together with articles in the Journal of Modern History, History & Memory, Scottish Historical Review, Annales de Démographie Historique, Ab Imperio, Food and History, and a number of edited collections.
Brexit-era Britain saw discussions of Europe and Britain’s imperial past explode in political and public culture, with some leading figures in the ‘leave’ campaign notoriously going so far as to look forward to an ‘Empire 2.0’ of enhanced global engagements once Britain became freed from continental shackles. Yet imperial histories, heritage, and legacies are anything but a uniquely British ‘island story’. This talk builds upon selected themes addressed in my book Europe after Empire: Decolonization, Society, and Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2016), where I considered Britain as well as French, Belgian, Dutch, and Portuguese histories of coming to terms with the end of empire at home with a special emphasis on migration, multicultural societies, and memories of empire in postcolonial Western Europe. It connects topics that have received most attention among scholars who focus on Western European national cases with a newer but growing body of work that positions colonialism and empire as decisive aspects of European history across the continent, extending to Nordic countries as well as Central and Eastern Europe. Making the ‘imperial turn’ not only characteristic of specific nations but rather a shared European history entails taking a ‘continental turn’, one that allows fresh approaches to Europe’s overseas and continental empires past and illuminates the still understudied colonial history and heritage of today’s European Union.
Besnik Pula.Globalization Under and After Socialism: The Evolution of Transnational Capital in Central and Eastern Europe. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018. 272 pp. $65.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-5036-0513-8.
Reviewed by Tobias Rupprecht (University of Exeter) Published on H-Diplo (April, 2019) Commissioned by Seth Offenbach (Bronx Community College, The City University of New York)
A common narrative about Eastern Europe’s globalization starts with the political changes of 1989: first, the new political and economic elites shelved communism, then they (re-)entered the world economy. Scholars who studied this “transition” no longer bothered much with socialism, which they often saw as exogenous to the region’s post-1989 history. Socialism was seen in opposition to a market economy, and its legacies as roadblocks to overcome while neoliberal globalization was imported from the outside. Besnik Pula, political scientist at Virginia Tech, questions this view in his book Globalization Under and After Socialism. Based on numerous interviews with institutional actors from five East European countries, some historical archival documents, and a lot of economic data, he argues that Eastern European states were forced to react with institutional reforms to a stagnating postwar statist model of development. Some of them integrated their economies into international value chains as early as the 1970s. Eastern Europe’s globalization had its roots in reform socialism, and the different paths taken under socialism impinged on postsocialist political economies.
Pula engages mostly with political science literature and seems to strike a balance between the functionalism of the “varieties of capitalism” school and institutional economics, while expanding the analysis chronologically to include late socialism. As a historian, I do not feel competent to judge the book’s theoretical merits; from the point of view of historiography, his argument is certainly convincing, if not entirely novel. In a recent research review, James Mark and I have surveyed what has already become a burgeoning field on state socialism in global history. After socialist Eastern Europe was left out of academic debates on pre-1989 globalization, socialism has been reintegrated into the history of modern globalization in two different ways: as a rather passive victim of a much more competitive global capitalism on the one hand, and as an active co-producer of globalization on the other. While Pula does not address the contested question of the interplay of globalization and the collapse of socialist polities, and overall focuses more on the industrial sector than the state, his account is a felicitous combination of the two strands. He demonstrates how some socialist countries started attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) and encouraged collaboration with emerging transnational corporations (TNCs), creating paths that shaped economic developments in the 1990s. Continue reading “Globalization Under and After Socialism”→