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Empires After The Global ‘Turn’. Planned Migrations, Colonial Agents and Informal Imperialism, c.1800-1950

Dates:
  • Thu 01 Jun 2017 14.15 - 18.00
  • Fri 02 Jun 2017 09.15 - 18.00
  Add to Calendar 2017-06-01 14:15 2017-06-02 18:00 Europe/Paris Empires After The Global ‘Turn’. Planned Migrations, Colonial Agents and Informal Imperialism, c.1800-1950

The global ‘turn’ in historical scholarship has transformed the study of empire in recent decades. Historians now stress the multiplicity of imperialisms in the modern and contemporary period and the diversity of imperial relations and practices; they also contest the analytical separation between metropole and colony, and explore the influence of the latter on the former. However, when it comes to displacing the grand narrative of 19th- and early 20th-century European hegemony and expansion, historians have been less successful and, for all the emphasis on imperial pluralities, the assumption of centre and periphery has been hard to dislodge. Moreover, many new works continue to offer the British and French cases as archetypes of modern colonialism and/or the centrality of Africa and the Indian Ocean as the main theatres of empire. The recent inclusion of Germany among the big imperial players has done little else to broaden the comparative reach of colonial history. Despite research that has complicated the chronologies of European expansion in the modern period, the overriding importance of the late 19th-century ‘Age of Imperialism’ is still taken for granted. Notwithstanding global historians’ attempt to challenge Eurocentrism, their idea of Europe remains strongly traditional, with the assumption that the northwest region of the continent is at its core proving strikingly persistent.
This workshop will explore relationships between colonialism and globalization involving irregularities, unlikely actors, and scales passed over in traditional narratives of colonialism. In particular, we want to look beyond spheres of European conquest and coercion for evidence of different forms of global influence and other types of colonizing activities, and to include parts of the world (Latin America, North Africa, the Pacific Ocean) that were actively involved in colonial expansion without always being the subjects of direct colonial rule. We are especially interested in the protagonists of colonialism, in those groups and individuals who moved across and within formal Empires; in agents of colonization and colonial knowledge who encouraged or made possible these mobilities; and in types of colonial settlement and migrations that could take place outside or despite formal imperial control. What might a focus on a range of colonial players tell us about the practices and impact of modern colonialism, about its motives and its persistence? How does a broadening of the category of informal Empire alter our definition of colonialism? And how might this different focus allow us to develop a more integrated understanding of colonization, by placing ‘home’ and ‘abroad’ in a single frame?

Sala del Torrino , Villa Salviati DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Torrino , Villa Salviati

The global ‘turn’ in historical scholarship has transformed the study of empire in recent decades. Historians now stress the multiplicity of imperialisms in the modern and contemporary period and the diversity of imperial relations and practices; they also contest the analytical separation between metropole and colony, and explore the influence of the latter on the former. However, when it comes to displacing the grand narrative of 19th- and early 20th-century European hegemony and expansion, historians have been less successful and, for all the emphasis on imperial pluralities, the assumption of centre and periphery has been hard to dislodge. Moreover, many new works continue to offer the British and French cases as archetypes of modern colonialism and/or the centrality of Africa and the Indian Ocean as the main theatres of empire. The recent inclusion of Germany among the big imperial players has done little else to broaden the comparative reach of colonial history. Despite research that has complicated the chronologies of European expansion in the modern period, the overriding importance of the late 19th-century ‘Age of Imperialism’ is still taken for granted. Notwithstanding global historians’ attempt to challenge Eurocentrism, their idea of Europe remains strongly traditional, with the assumption that the northwest region of the continent is at its core proving strikingly persistent.
This workshop will explore relationships between colonialism and globalization involving irregularities, unlikely actors, and scales passed over in traditional narratives of colonialism. In particular, we want to look beyond spheres of European conquest and coercion for evidence of different forms of global influence and other types of colonizing activities, and to include parts of the world (Latin America, North Africa, the Pacific Ocean) that were actively involved in colonial expansion without always being the subjects of direct colonial rule. We are especially interested in the protagonists of colonialism, in those groups and individuals who moved across and within formal Empires; in agents of colonization and colonial knowledge who encouraged or made possible these mobilities; and in types of colonial settlement and migrations that could take place outside or despite formal imperial control. What might a focus on a range of colonial players tell us about the practices and impact of modern colonialism, about its motives and its persistence? How does a broadening of the category of informal Empire alter our definition of colonialism? And how might this different focus allow us to develop a more integrated understanding of colonization, by placing ‘home’ and ‘abroad’ in a single frame?


Location:
Sala del Torrino , Villa Salviati

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Workshop

Organiser:
Lucy Riall (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Pieter Judson (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
José Juan Pérez Meléndez (European University Institute & University of California, Davis)

Contact:
Fabrizio Borchi (EUI - Department of History and Civilization) - Send a mail

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