Upcoming Imperial/Global Conferences

Registration Open: Connected Histories of Decolonisation Workshop

Senate House, London, 13-14 November 2014
Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of Portsmouth, and King’s College

The recent rise of global history has prompted much reflection amongst imperial historians about the interconnections and cross-influences that existed between and amongst past empires, stretching across vast spatial and chronological frameworks. Taking as its starting point this new trend in historical research, this workshop will explore the connections, entanglements and transnational links between different twentieth century decolonisation processes. In particular, this study day seeks to bring to light the ways in which people, ideas and practices, from both the global North and South, crossed national and colonial borders, and how these connections, in turn, impacted upon on the decline of European colonialism. By going beyond a narrow, nation-state perspective, this workshop aims to break down boundaries in the history of decolonisation, challenging, for example, the divides between the British, French and Portuguese empires, but also, more widely, binaries such as colonial/ post-colonial, metropole/ periphery, coloniser/ colonised.

 To download the registration form, please click here.

To view the program, click here.

Colonial/Postcolonial New Researchers’ Workshop

The Colonial/Postcolonial New Researchers’ Workshop is currently inviting abstract submissions for the 2014/2015 academic year. The workshop was established in 2008, to provide a forum for postgraduates and new researchers to meet and present their work in an informal environment. Seminars run on a bi-weekly basis at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), intercalated with Imperial and World History.

We invite proposals for papers or panels on any aspect of colonial or postcolonial history. We particularly welcome proposals that address specific methodological, interdisciplinary or theoretical concerns. Potential themes for papers, panels or discussions might include, but are not limited to:

  • Methodology and current issues in colonial/postcolonial studies
  • Environment, social and spatial landscapes
  • Media, literature and literary imaginations as historical sources
  • Performance and representation
  • Bodies, health, and welfare
  • Family, kinship, childhood, and memory
  • Sexualities, genders, and intimacies
  • Borders, encounters, conflict zones
  • Diasporas, migration and metropole-colony transactions
  • Labour, commodities, and consumption
  • Transnational comparisons/comparative empires
  • Nationalism, minorities and the State

Anyone interested in presenting their work, whether finished pieces or works in progress, is encouraged to submit an abstract of between 250-350 words to Abstracts should be submitted by no later than 15 July 2014. Decisions will be made in early August.

Entangled Transitions: Between Eastern and Southern Europe 1960s-2014, University of Exeter

In under two decades, authoritarian political systems collapsed across Europe – in the south of the continent in the 1970s, and then in the east between 1989 and 1991. Although much work has been done on these processes in each region, and comparative work carried out on post-authoritarian transitions and memories, there has yet to be any sustained scholarship that examines the ‘entangledness’ of these processes in the context of broader European and global processes of the late Cold War and its aftermath. Taking a longue durée approach, this conference will explore these inter-relationships between the 1960s and the present day. 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of state socialism and the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the transition from dictatorship on the Iberian Peninsula and in Greece: an ideal time to consider the relationship between these processes that have been central to modern European history.

Transnational histories of post-war Europe have hitherto been focused on connections between western and eastern Europe, or western and southern Europe, but have paid little attention to east-south exchanges. This event will address the networks through which these linkages emerged (governments, international organisations, expert groups such as economists, exiles, diplomats, cultural groups, dissidents, churches, NGOs and so on), and explore those ideas (e.g. modernisation on the periphery, development, authoritarianism, dissidence, human rights, subnational nationalisms, and the relationship to Europe) which gave meaning to those linkages, whether in imagined or real terms.

By analysing these connections, this conference aims to develop new perspectives on broader developments in international history, such as détente, the end of the Cold War, processes of globalisation, regional integration, and democratisation. As this conference wants to stimulate a multi-level analysis, proposals may adopt a local, national, transnational or international focus to consider these trans-regional connections. Submissions are encouraged not only from those who work on these regions, but also from scholars of e.g. globalisation, democratisation, regionalism and dissidence whose work touches on these themes. It is hoped that this conference will lead to the creation of a longer-term network….For further details, click here. Please send a proposal of around 250-300 words, and a short academic CV, to Natalie Taylor at the University of The deadline for submission is April 7, 2014. Participants will be notified by early May 2014.

Past Conferences

AHRC South, West, and Wales Consortium Network Event in Imperial and Post-Colonial History

University of Southampton, 16 September 2014

On 16 September 2014, Southampton’s Centre for Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies will be hosting a day of papers and discussion for imperial and post-colonial historians from the AHRC South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnerships Consortium. Speakers include Padma Anagol (Cardiff), Ved Baruah (Cardiff), Iftikhar Malik (Bath Spa), Marc-William Palen (Exeter), Simon Potter (Bristol) and Chris Prior (Southampton). The day will conclude with a roundtable on the current state and future directions of the field. Admission is free, but those wishing to attend should register for a place at . A sandwich lunch will be provided.

The Inaugural Conference for the Imperial and Global History Network, the University of Exeter, 19th and 20th June 2014

Increasingly historians are investigating the historical roots of globalization, often linking the process to the rise of European imperialism. By tracing the historical patterns of migration, trade, and conquest, as well as the trans-border flows of knowledge and ideas, historians have highlighted the complex networks that connected people, states, and empires. However, although the value of the network concept is acknowledged, critics have argued that such an approach privileges the connected over the disconnected and as a result the centre-periphery divide has simply been replaced with a new narrative of many cores and peripheries. With this in mind, the conference will re-consider the network concept, evaluating both the possibilities and constraints of such an approach to the study of global and imperial histories.

The organisers invite 20-minute papers from postgraduate and early career researchers that address one or more of the following broad themes:

  • The movement of people, commodities, and capital.
  • The production and circulation of ideas, information, and knowledge.
  • Agents and mediators in transnational, global, or imperial networks.
  • State-building and processes of de- and reterritoralization.
  • International organisations, including transnational social and political movements.
  • Displacement and disconnection.
  • The relationship between local and global and imperial histories.
  • Concepts and methodologies in global and imperial history.

Papers from scholars of both global and imperial history are welcome. Chronologically the conference will focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries but papers that consider any region of the world are invited. The organisers also encourage papers from any academic discipline. It is expected that a selection of the papers will be published as a special issue.

To apply please email a 250 word abstract and short biography to the conference organisers:

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is Friday 31 January 2014.

For more information about the Network:

Conferences organisers: Katy Roscoe (University of Leicester), Idir Ouahes, Temi Alanamu, Dr Stacey Hynd, and Dr Gareth Curless (University of Exeter).

Colonial Counterinsurgency in Comparative Perspective, The University of Exeter, 18th and 19th September 2014.

The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have prompted renewed interest in Britain’s experience of counterinsurgency and empire, with a particular emphasis on the period of decolonisation and issues relating to ‘minimum force’, ‘hearts and minds’, human rights protections and the treatment of combatants, civilians and detainees. Yet, in spite of the growing interest in the history of counterinsurgency and empire, there remain few comparative studies of colonial responses to armed insurrection, civil disorder, and responses to paramilitaries and other irregular forces. With this in mind, the aim of the workshop is to reconsider the tenets, the methods and the consequences of the counterinsurgency pursued by Europe’s imperial powers, investigating whether colonial states adopted distinctly national approaches to colonial counterinsurgency.

The workshop will be held at the University of Exeter and will be jointly hosted by the Centre for War, State and Society and the newly established Centre for Imperial and Global History. The organisers invite 250 word abstracts for 30-minute papers that consider any of the following broad issues:

  • Counterinsurgency in theory and practice.
  • Intelligence and surveillance.
  • Policing and crowd control.
  • Collaboration and resistance.
  • ‘Minimum force’ and ‘hearts and minds’.
  • Population control.
  • Combatant status and rights protections
  • The negotiated settlement of insurgencies and small wars.
  • The legacy of colonial counter-insurgency for both the post-imperial European states and post-colonial states in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

The organisers invite papers that address counterinsurgency campaigns in any of the twentieth-century empires (including the contiguous empires of Russia and East Asia) and comparative papers are particularly welcome. To apply please submit your abstract to the conference organisers, Professor Martin Thomas ( and Dr Gareth Curless (, by Friday 10 January 2014.

The Rhetoric of Empire’ Conference

Exeter, May 2014

Why did imperialist language become so pervasive in Britain, France and elsewhere in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? What rhetorical devices did political and military leaders, administrators, investors and lobbyists use to justify colonial domination before domestic and foreign audiences? And how far did their colonial opponents mobilize a different rhetoric of rights and freedoms to challenge imperialist discourse? These are some of the questions that we hope to address during this two-day conference, which is funded under a three-year Leverhulme Trust research project led by Professors Martin Thomas and Richard Toye.

Divided into five sequential panels, the conference will revisit the place of imperialist rhetoric and discourses of colonialism in the history of empire from the nineteenth century onwards. Particular issues to be examined include discourses of imperialist modernization, the language of colonial ‘civilizing’, as well as the relationship between globalization and the spread of dominant languages.

Addressing anti-imperial campaigns as well as the discourses of imperial assertion used by settlers and metropolitan elites, panel sessions will discuss typologies of colonial rhetoric, reviewing their relationship to the internationalist ideologies that emerged alongside them. Other papers will investigate the ways in which notorious instances of colonial violence and counter-violence were depicted in the public sphere of imperialist nations and international forums.

The conference will be held in Reed Hall, beginning at 9.45am on Thursday 22 May 2014. For the conference schedule, click here.

Postwar Decolonisation and Its Impact in Europe

Exeter, December 2-3 2013

The unravelling of European empires was foundational to the making of the modern world. An old imperial order was swept away, and a new age of nation states rapidly replaced it. Whilst decolonisation played a fundamental role in the shaping of post-war world, its repercussions for Europe itself, and its legacies in a host of political, social and cultural spheres, are still relatively little examined. This conference will examine how the global dynamics of decolonisation had an impact not only on the ‘western core’ of the continent, but also in state socialist eastern Europe, and in southern Europe, which have been hitherto little considered in this light. Panels will consider, variously, the new ways in which Europeans engaged with the post-colonial world, the reshaping of European identity in the light of decolonisation, its impact in European nations that saw themselves as anti-colonial, its appeal in European radical politics, the writing of ‘entangled histories’ of the end of Empire, and legacies of decolonisation across the continent.

Draft Programme can be viewed here.

For Conference Registration, please click here.

Globalisation and Uncertainty

Mon 23rd – Tue 24th September 2013
Business School, University of Exeter

The workshop is funded by the ‘Global Uncertainties‘ Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) strategy key theme of the University of Exeter. The workshop will bring together academics from the disciplines of economics, history and economic history to reflect on what insights we can gain into globalisation’s present by reflecting on its past.

The workshop will address globalisation in its contemporary form, and the immediate challenges to globalisation, by bringing together both current and historical perspectives. While the scope of the workshop is broad, particular emphasis will be given to addressing the current nature and challenges to globalisation tied with the themes of instability, volatility and uncertainty.
By bridging the perspectives between recent events in the world economy and the lessons from history, the aim of the workshop is to explore several key topics that will include, but not necessarily limited to:

  • The growth, demise and changing forms of globalisation.
  • Financial market integration; contagion.
  • Resource insecurity past and present.
  • The role of empires in the context of globalisation.
  • The “darker side” of globalisation, including the uneven distribution of its benefits.
  • ‘Rising powers’, then and now.
  • Migration and networks in the spread and impact of globalisation.
  • Technology and the infrastructural underpinnings of globalisation.
  • Policy responses, ranging from national trade policy to the role of international institutions.

For more information, please see the Business School website.

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