The immediate future of modern imperial history seems certain to involve more books about the entanglements between empires. Writing on the seams that connected nineteenth- and twentieth-century empires with one another has gathered rapidly in momentum over the last decade, and conferences on the overlaps between imperial projects continue to proliferate. So we can anticipate hearing considerably more about the flurry of new and rediscovered ‘hyphenated imperialisms’ which have been used to frame some of this work, pre-eminently ‘inter-imperialism’, ‘trans-imperialism’, ‘co-imperialism’, and ‘sub-imperialism’. More such prefixes will doubtless emerge, and each will present slightly different conceptual and methodological challenges for the various imperial-historical sub-disciplines. This post outlines some possible future priorities for imperial intellectual history – the study of more developed ideas about the expansion, management, nature, and history of empires – as historians search for ways to organise ‘entangled’ histories of imperial thought.
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Maison de la paix, chemin Eugène-Rigot 2, 1202 Genève
The Annual Pierre du Bois Conference, organized by the Graduate Institute in partnership with the Pierre du Bois Foundation, will take place at Maison de la Paix in Geneva from 12-14 May 2022. Professor Cyrus Schayegh is organizing the conference.
The scholarly context for the Pierre du Bois Annual Conference 2022 is a fascinating development in the discipline of history in the last decade: the rising interest in trans- and interimperial histories. These build on studies showing that a single empire’s metropole and colonies need to be empirically and conceptually integrated. In the first decade of the 21st century, such more contextualized and decentered histories of empire started evolving into trans- and interimperial histories proper. Inspired by an earlier turn to transnational and global histories, respective historians have been critiquing a deeply rooted and ultimately nationally-biased tendency, by many historians of empire, to focus empirical research and even conceptual conclusions on one single empire. The rise of trans- and interimperial histories crystallized by the 2010s—though it was, one may say, predated by older studies of nonEuropean modern empires. While methodologically dissimilar to present trans- and interimperial studies, these studies quasi by necessity paid considerable attention to (often unequal) relationships especially with modern European and American empires.