Colonialism: A Shared EUropean History and Legacy – A Lecture by Prof. Elizabeth Buettner

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.

2 thoughts on “Colonialism: A Shared EUropean History and Legacy – A Lecture by Prof. Elizabeth Buettner

  1. Hello, I am a student and journalist in Afghanistan. I find the topic of the lecture so interesting.
    Although I can not attend the lecture, I hope that you will upload a video or text copy of that later.


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