CFP: A crisis in ‘coming to terms with the past’? At the crossroads of translation and memory

A crisis in ‘coming to terms with the past’?
At the crossroads of translation and memory

1-2 February 2019
Senate House, London

Over the past decade, a particular notion of ‘coming to terms with the past’, usually associated with an international liberal consensus, has increasingly been challenged. Growing in strength since the 1980s, this consensus has been underpinned by the idea that difficult historical legacies, displaced into the present, and persisting as patterns of thought, speech and behaviour, needed to be addressed through a range of phenomena such as transitional justice, reconciliation, and the forging of shared narratives to ensure social cohesion and shore up democratic norms. Such official and international memory practices tended to privilege top-down cosmopolitan memory in an attempt to counter the bottom-up, still antagonistic memories associated with supposedly excessive effusions of nationalism. In a context of the global rise of populist nationalisms and of uncertainty linked by some politicians to migration, this tendency is increasingly being challenged, capitalizing on populist memory practices evident since the 1980s and creating what might be seen as a crisis in this liberal approach to ‘coming to terms with the past’.

Yet rather than rejecting a politics based on such ‘coming to terms’, new political formations have in fact increasingly embraced it: a growing discourse of white resentment and victimhood embodied in the so-called ‘Irish slave myth’, the wide visibility of the ‘History Wars’ controversy in Australia, legislation such as the Polish ‘Holocaust Bill’, or the withdrawal of African states from the International Criminal Court are evidence of the increasing impact of a new politics underpinning memory practices, and reveal the ways in which diverse populist and nationalist movements are mobilizing previous tropes. Moreover, these new memory practices increasingly have their own alternative internationalisms too, reaching across or beyond regions in new transnational formations, even as they seemed to reverse the earlier ‘cosmopolitan’ functions of memorialization. Continue reading “CFP: A crisis in ‘coming to terms with the past’? At the crossroads of translation and memory”

Colonial Violence, Gender, and the Limits of the Law – An Interview with Prof. Amanda Nettelbeck

Professor Amanda Nettelbeck (University of Adelaide) recently came to speak at the Centre for Imperial and Global History seminar, and Centre Director Richard Toye interviewed her about her research about Australian colonial violence.

Theresa May has been told to ‘find her inner Boudica’ – here’s why that’s a terrible idea

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                                An ancient Theresa May? Shutterstock

Martha Vandrei, University of Exeter

The figure of Boudica, queen of the Iceni, is surprisingly resilient. Since the Renaissance, she has turned up in public discourse pretty consistently in Britain, from celebrations of the defeat of the Spanish Armada to the imperialist triumphalism of the late Victorian era. Over this long period, Boudica has come in for criticism, as well as for lionisation. The latest example of the latter is Nick Timothy’s recent article in The Sun, encouraging his former boss, Theresa May, to “find her inner Boudicca [sic]”, in negotiations with the EU.

Of course, the facts of Boudica’s bloody and ultimately disastrous first century rebellion against the Roman occupiers of Britain – as the New Statesman rightly pointed out – make a comparison with the UK’s current prime minister problematic at best. Timothy’s way of dealing with these inconvenient facts was to dismiss them in his article as mere “details”. Continue reading “Theresa May has been told to ‘find her inner Boudica’ – here’s why that’s a terrible idea”

Call for Papers: Ex Historia

Ex Historia is now accepting articles and book reviews for our 2019 volume. Original articles should be between 4000 and 8000 words, including footnotes and bibliography. Book reviews should be between 500 and 1000 words. Review articles (addressing three or four books which share a common theme) can be between 2000 and 4000 words. Please refer to MRHA Style Guide for style requirements and use British spellings in all cases except for direct quotations which use alternative spellings. Continue reading “Call for Papers: Ex Historia”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

aeneid
DEA / G. Dagli Orti / De Agostini / Getty

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From Hitler’s many American friends to rethinking the End of History, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Call for Applications: 2019 Global Humanitarianism Research Academy

Call for Applications: Global Humanitarianism Research Academy

International Research Academy on the History of Global Humanitarianism

Academy Leaders:    Fabian Klose (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz)

Johannes Paulmann (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz)

Andrew Thompson (University of Exeter)

in co-operation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva)

Venues:                      Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz & Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva

Dates:                         8-19 July 2019

Deadline:                   31 December 2018

Information at:         http://ghra.ieg-mainz.de/, http://hhr.hypotheses.org/ and https://imperialglobalexeter.com/

The international Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) offers research training to PhD candidates and early postdocs. It combines academic sessions at the Imperial and Global History Centre at the University of Exeter and the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz with archival sessions at the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The Research Academy is for early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies, human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century as well as the institutional history of the ICRC and the development of its fundamental principles. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present.

In July 2019, the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy will first meet for one week in Mainz for academic sessions of lectures, class meetings and discussions, including study time (the academic meetings rotate annually between Mainz and Exeter; in the previous year this meeting took place in Exeter). PhD students will have the chance to sharpen the methodological and theoretical focus of their thesis through an intense exchange with peers, postdocs, and established scholars working in the same or related field of humanitarianism. The postdocs will benefit from discussing their research design and publication strategy with established scholars. Continue reading “Call for Applications: 2019 Global Humanitarianism Research Academy”

There is hope for Rohingya refugees fleeing genocide – so long as history doesn’t repeat itself

Rohingya Muslim Refugees fleeing Myanmar (via Getty Images)

Issy Sawkins
University of Exeter

The United Nations has finally called for the investigation and prosecution of Myanmar’s top military command for crimes of genocide against the Rohingya Muslim population of the Rakhine State.[1] The brutality of the military reached its peak during the ‘clearance operations’ of August 2017, since which 750,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.

A 400-page report was published by the United Nations on September 17 2018, the result of a year-long investigation into the well-planned killing and rape of Rohingya women and girls, and the burning and looting of their homes.[2] It is the first time that such specific atrocities have been documented for which blame is directly apportioned to the highest level of Myanmar’s military.[3]

Whilst the report indicates a step in the right direction regarding the prosecution of the perpetrators, it fails to address the issue of the displaced Rohingya community. In particular, what is the international community doing to help these victims of genocide?

The 750,000 Rohingya refugees have sought shelter at the camps and makeshift settlements set up in Bangladesh specifically to cater for the refugees. The main refugee camp is located at Kutupalong, located in North-East Bangladesh, but the constant stream of refugees has resulted in several additional camps being built in the surrounding countryside.[4]

Whilst the international community is providing aid to these refugees, predominantly in the form of food supplies and vaccinations against deadly diseases, Bangladesh, by offering them refuge in these camps, is providing the most substantial help. And unfortunately, a lack of global response to refugees of genocide does indeed have a historical precedent, one that leaves little room for optimism. Continue reading “There is hope for Rohingya refugees fleeing genocide – so long as history doesn’t repeat itself”