Call for Papers
Violence, Colonialism and Empire in the Modern and Contemporary World
British Academy, London, 29 June-1 July 2015
Sponsored by The Centre for the History of Violence, and the University of Newcastle, Australia
Guest speakers: Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University & Elizabeth Kolsky, Villanova University
This conference will bring together scholars from across the world to explore innovative ways of critically engaging with the question of violence, repression and atrocity in imperial and colonial empires, its representations and memories, from the late eighteenth through to the twentieth century. The conference will explore the wide variety of means by which empire was maintained in the modern era, the politics of repression and the structures inherent in empire. We want to explore broader trends in the direction and intent of imperial violence and state repression, including extra-legal sanctions, and how patterns of violence, embedded within other forms of colonialism and culture, created cultural, legal, social, or imperial ‘spaces’. The conference organizers encourage scholars to interpret the conference themes broadly incrafting their proposals and are not limited to European colonial empires made up of settler societies, but also empires of occupation.
The organizers have three interrelated aims.
The first is torethink assumptions about the imperial experience and to underline the types of violence that were used to initially impose power, and then to maintain it over vast stretches of land. By underlining this aspect of the imperial enterprise, this conference may help scholars begin to see more clearly the relationship of violence as a cultural norm, and the extent to which it was part and parcel of imperial social and cultural life.
The second aim is to interrogate the relationship between various forms of violence and the construction of imperial spaces. In essence, this conference will explore the ways in which empires were and are constructed through violence, whether legal, political, cultural or religious. We aim to move beyond Western notions of violence and to see the ways in which attempts to create colonial empires were inextricably linked to violence.
Third, the organizers hope to explore these questions in a way that connects national historiographies – including the British, French, American, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, and Ottoman empires – to each other, as well as to world history.
Topics may include (but are not limited to):
- the forceful means employed to impose foreign rule, including legal and extra-legal means used to impose imperial structures;
- forceful contestations of the land, including patterns of violence and war on colonial frontiers;
- interpersonal violence between the colonizer and the colonized;
- the gendered nature of colonial violence in the building of settler colonial spaces and polities;
- the role of violence in maintaining social order in colonial societies;
- the political dynamics of colonial and imperial violence, including ideological and political justifications of violence;
- representations of violence in either the empire or the metropole;
- resistance to the imperial enterprise by the colonized, including violent, anti-colonial struggles in exits from empire;
- the aftermaths and legacies of colonial and imperial violence.
The organizers invite proposals from scholars working in all disciplines to apply. Please include the following information with your proposal:
a) A paper title
b) Name, institutional affiliation, and email address
c) A brief description of the proposed paper (up to 500 words) explaining the substance of the proposed paper, the sources used, and the topic’s relationship to the conference themes
Those invited to participate in the conference will be asked to submit papers of approximately 8,000 words in length by 1 June 2015 for pre-circulation to conference attendees. Sessions will be 1.5 hours long, and consist of two people, each speaking for up to 30 mins, with 30 mins discussion. The aim is to promote dialogue between conference participants in a round-table setting. The number of participants will, therefore, be limited to twenty-two people.
The conference language is English. Conference participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements. The deadline for proposals is 1 December 2014 for acceptance on 1 March 2015. A selection of papers from the proceedings will be published.
Proposals and enquiries should be sent to Professor Philip Dwyer
Director – Centre for the History of Violence
School of Humanities & Social Science
University of Newcastle
Callaghan NSW 2308
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