Call for proposals: Parliamentary Empire workshop

Settler Colonialism and Parliamentary Democracy: Histories and Legacies, 1867 to the Present (History of Parliament, London, 12 Apr 2023- participants are welcome to present papers in-person or via Zoom)

Over recent years, growing attention has been paid to how histories of settler colonialism have shaped people’s engagement with parliaments and parliamentary culture across and beyond the former British Empire. Calls for improved representation by and for peoples of colour, such as the Australian campaign for a greater ‘indigenous voice’ to parliament, have responded to historical imbalances in power and built on historical struggles to define the political nation. We wish to facilitate discussion across disciplines from scholars interested in the histories and legacies of parliamentary culture, settler colonialism, and resistance. This will lead to a special issue of Parliamentary History to be published in 2025.

We welcome proposals for papers concerning any part of the ‘British World’ from c.1867 to the present, which might engage with themes such as:

  • How parliamentary cultures in settler colonial contexts promoted or challenged forms of imperial domination.
  • How settler colonial understandings of parliamentary culture were contested by indigenous and diasporic populations, including via the creation of alternative parliaments.
  • Imperial and anticolonial ideologies as informing ethics of parliamentarism, ‘self government’, and civic participation.
  • How competing visions and practices of political community were promoted across settler colonial, imperial, and transnational networks.
  • Reframing the history of the English/British parliament as it shaped, and was shaped by, settler colonial projects and conflicts.
  • Forms of popular engagement with parliament such as petitioning, the creation of parliamentary debating societies, and local parliaments across the ‘British World’.
  • Initiatives forging an imperial community of interest among parliamentarians and the wider public: particularly, how did these efforts respond to the development of new forms of international governance after 1918?
  • To what extent did imperial conflicts over parliamentary representation—instantaneous as well as theoretical—come ‘home’ to Britain?
  • Post-colonial efforts to reshape parliaments in response to the legacies of settler colonialism up to the present.

Paper proposals

To propose a paper for the conference, please submit a single document containing a 1-page CV and an abstract of 250 words or fewer to David Thackeray ( by 30 November. It is envisaged that papers will be around 15 minutes in length.