Oxford – Mainz PhD Workshop 2022

Call for Papers: Joint Mainz-Oxford-Graduate Workshop: “European History across Boundaries from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century”

Participants of the 2019 Workshop in the Oriel College Library

Academy Conveners: Noëmie Duhaut (Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz), Johannes Paulmann (Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz) and Lyndal Roper (University of Oxford)

Venue: Oriel College, Oxford University

Date: 30 March – 1 April 2022

Deadline for Applications: 15 December 2021

We invite applications for an international doctoral workshop on European history across boundaries from the 16th to the 20th century, including Europe’s relations with the world. We encourage PhD candidates working in this field to present their research projects and discuss the transcultural and transnational scopes of their work. Topics that aim to cross and reflect on boundaries and borders are of particular interest. Projects can employ a variety of methodological approaches such as comparative studies, the study of transfer processes and entanglements, or the histoire croisée. The location of the joint workshop alternates annually between Mainz and Oxford. The 2022 workshop will be at Oriel College in Oxford and include a discussion of disputed historical monuments – such as the Cecil Rhodes statue in this college – and their future.

We will discuss pre-circulated papers based on archival research (max. 8,000 words, written in English, to be submitted by 1 March 2022). We will provide accommodation for the duration of the workshop and contribute towards travel expenses within Europe.

Proposals should include an abstract of the overall project and its archival sources (500 words), a brief biographical note, and a completed application form, which you can download here: https://bit.ly/3mzdHrh. Please combine all your application documents into a single PDF except for the application form.

Applications should be sent to gw@ieg-mainz.de by 15 December 2021. For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the organisers.

Contact: Dr Noëmie Duhaut, Leibniz Institute of European History, Alte Universitätsstr. 19, 55116 Mainz, Germany, +49 6131-39 39428, gw@ieg-mainz.de

Governing Humanitarianism – Past, Present, And Future

Two Digital Panels on 27 and 28 September 2021 in Preparation of the 2022 Herrenhausen Conference

Organized by Stacey Hynd, Fabian Klose, Johannes Paulmann, and Andrew Thompson in cooperation with the Volkswagen Foundation

North Coast at Lesbos, September 2015, by Rosa-Maria Rinkl via Wikimedia Commons, source.

“Human Rights and Humanitarianism – a Complicated Relationship?” – September 27, 2021, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (CET): panel discussion with Michael Barnett (George Washington University), Julia Irwin (University of South Florida, Tampa), and Angelika Nußberger (University of Cologne), chair: Fabian Klose (University of Cologne).

UNSG’s Special Advisor on the prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng speaking to the press in Tshikapa (by MONUSCO/Biliaminou Alao, 2017, source)

“Forced displacement, unlawful internment, and humanitarian neutrality” – September 28, 2021, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (CET): keynote by Adama Dieng (former Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, and Honorary Chair of the World Justice Project; chair: Andrew Thompson (Nuffield College, Oxford).

The digital panels are both part of next year’s Herrenhausen Conference “Governing Humanitarianism – Past, Present and Future” (2022), funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. Link to join events https://www.volkswagenstiftung.de/veranstaltungen/livestream.

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Sovereignty Beyond the Modern State

Out Now – Open Access

New issue of the European History Yearbook on “Cultural Sovereignty Beyond the Modern State: Space, Objects, and Media”

In the past 25 years or more, political observers have diagnosed a crisis of the sovereign nation state and the erosion of state sovereignty through supranational institutions and the global mobility of capital, goods, information and labour. This edition of the European History Yearbook seeks to use “cultural sovereignty” as a heuristic concept to provide new views on these developments since the beginning of the 20th century.

 

ed. by Gregor Feindt, Bernhard Gissibl, Johannes Paulmann (Introduction), with contributions by:

FORUM

Data Meets History: A Research Data Management Strategy for the Historically Oriented Humanities by Fabian Cremer, Silvia Daniel, Marina Lemaire, Katrin Moeller, Matthias Razum, and Arnošt Štanzel

 

 

Europe, 1850 – 1914: Global Dominance and the Belief in Progress

Globale Vorherrschaft und Fortschrittsglaube. Europa 1850 – 1914 (C.H. Beck Geschichte Europas)

In his newly published history of Europe, Johannes Paulmann describes the major changes Europeans experienced and brought about during the second half of the nineteenth century. They laid the material and intellectual foundations some of which affect the continent and the world until today.

Europe saw an encompassing transformation between 1850 and 1914. The use of fossil energy enabled enormous gains in productivity. People, goods, and ideas were mobilised across Europe and the globe with the speed of communication increasing rapidly. The future seemed dynamic and open. Yet, the far-reaching changes also generated doubts. The belief in progress went hand in hand with criticism of materialism, the pollution and destruction of the environment, political and social repression, and violent colonialism.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Europe had reached the peak of its imperial dominance of the world. Competition and nationalistic rivalry as well as manifold cooperation across boundaries were characteristic of the time. The outbreak of a general European war was therefore more likely than in previous decades but the various diplomatic crises had been manageable – and 1914 would have been avoidable if governments had not chosen to take great risks.

The book has received warm reviews in the press for its masterly survey of the period and its clear arguments. See for example Ernst Pipers review in Der Tagesspiegel.

For more information, see C.H. Beck with an extract on locating Europe in the nineteenth century (“Grenzen und Entgrenzen: Wie weit reicht Europa im 19. Jahrhundert”). 

European History Across Boundaries: PhD Workshop Oxford – Mainz

From 13 – 15 March 2019, the graduate workshop “European History Across Boundaries” took place for the first time in Oxford. The event was jointly organised by the Faculty of History at Oxford University and the Leibniz Institute of European HistoryLeibniz Institute of European History at Mainz.

Outstanding young researchers from universities all over Europe, the USA and Israel discussed their research projects. Topics ranged from Early Modern to Contemporary History. Participants analysed a variety of European boundary crossings, including imperial and colonial, gender, disciplinary and religious borders. Geographically, the projects dealt with connections, for example, in Brazil during the Hispanic monarchy, port cities like Hamburg, Switzerland and the Dutch colonial empire, St. Peterburg and Paris, the Soviet Union and Congo, Germany and Afghanistan as well as Tirol and Tuscany. The projects illustrated the challenges as well as the benefits of researching history across boundaries. It was fascinating to learn that this kind of scholarship attracts and creates early career scholars who are in practical terms as cosmopolitan as the historical subjects they are studying. For full programm click here.

Visit to Oriel College library by partiticpants of PhD workshop European History Across Boundaries

CfP: The Aftermath of the First World War – Humanitarianism in the Mediterranean

Convenors: Silvia Salvatici (University of Milan) and Johannes Paulmann (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz) in  co-operation with the German Historical Institute Rome and the Villa Vigoni – German Italian Centre for European Excellence

Date: 3 – 4 December 2019

Venue: University of Milan, Italy

Download CFP Humanitarianism_postwar_mediterranean_def

In the memory of 1919, the signing of the peace treaties and the foundation of the League of Nations figure prominently. The year also saw the birth of the Third International and ushered in a turbulent post-war period of revolutions and counter-revolutions, which drastically changed the international balance of power and incubated the fascist movements that in 1922 subverted the fragile democracy in Italy. As a result, the attention of scholarly and public debate focus on post-war political, diplomatic and institutional history and on Central and Eastern Europe. The conference proposes a dual shift of perspective: thematic and geographical.

On the one hand, it focuses on international relief and rehabilitation programs during and in the aftermath of war. This will direct attention to international projects for political and social stabilization and the transformation processes that took place in post-war societies. It will allow us to examine the effects the war had on international relations in peacetime from a different perspective than the better-known diplomatic history. On the other hand, the conference specifically concerns the Mediterranean area thereby shifting our attention away from the well-studied Northern European and Transatlantic region. It investigates the post-war rise of humanitarianism in the countries of Southern Europe, in the colonial territories of North Africa, in the Balkans and in the Middle East. The Mediterranean saw the redrawing of the geopolitical map after the disintegration of the old empires, while at the same time a challenge to European colonialism began to rise in several places. Humanitarian projects took different forms and meanings in these contexts, but they were usually conceived as instruments that would have an impact on the long term, not simply as an immediate response to temporary crises.

Research has begun to show the relevance that humanitarian affairs had for the League of Nations, which also operated in the Balkans and the Middle East. However, the League programs are only one chapter in the history of post-war relief, which saw the mobilization of national states, large and small private agencies, religious groups, societies founded on a common political ideology, experts in sectors such as medicine, public health, or education. The purpose of the conference is to study the way in which these different actors cooperated, interacted, and came into conflict, both in designing aid programs at the headquarters and in implementing them on the spot and within local communities. Specific case studies have shown that the historical development of humanitarianism came about through extensive transnational networks based on religious affiliation, on institutional relations among states, and on professional skills. With reference to the specific post-war context, the conference intends above all to highlight the way in which these networks, usually studied separately, came intersected and how the configuration in the Mediterranean area, including responses from within the societies concerned, shaped the development of humanitarianism at large.

We invite proposals for papers on any of the themes, topics and areas mentioned above. The time period covered may reach from the First World War into the 1930s discussing the aftermath and effects of continued or renewed war in the regions studied. The proposal should highlight the colonial and national contexts, the contemporary ideas on political and social stabilisation and the effects of the measures taken.

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short CV by April 8, 2019 to

Silvia Salvatici (silvia.salvatici@unimi.it) & Johannes Paulmann (paulmann@ieg-mainz.de)

The conference will take place from 3 – 4 December 2019, at the University of Milan, Italy. Travel and accommodation will be covered.

Download CFP Humanitarianism_postwar_mediterranean_def

Call for Application GHRA 2019

Academy Conveners:

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 http://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.

The academic session at Exeter or Mainz is each year followed by a one week archival session at Geneva. Here the archives of the ICRC offer a unique insight into humanitarian action during the past 150 years. The holdings provide rich material, including visual material, for the history of international affairs in the ages of nation states, empires and global governance, particularly the study of humanitarianism, humanitarian law, conflicts studies as well as related issues such as human rights. Under the guidance of experienced archive staff, the members of the Research Academy will study primary sources related to the previous discussions at Exeter as well as to their own research projects if applicable.  Opportunities may also be provided for intensive discussions with active members of the ICRC staff and other Geneva based humanitarian organisations.

Each selected academy fellow receives the cost of travel to Mainz and accommodation in Mainz and Geneva. Academy fellows will be asked to purchase their travel to Geneva as proof of their commitment to attending the Academy.

The Research Academy invites applications for the 2019 Global Humanitarianism | Research Academy (GHRA) from PhD students and early postdocs. The Steering Committee will select up to 12 participants. Applicants must be able to certify that they are fluent in both written and spoken English, the Academy’s working language. Participants of the international Global Humanitarianism | Research Academy will be chosen by the Steering Committee on the basis of

  1. a cover letter (maximum 350 words) setting out the applicant’s motivation for participating in the academy and indicating the anticipated outcome of their research;
  2. a statement (maximum 1,000 words) summarizing their research project;
  3. a brief curriculum vitae (maximum 2 pages);
  4. two supporting letters from appropriate referees.

This application should be compiled by the applicant and the whole set of papers including reference letters should be submitted as a single PDF, with the file saved as ‘LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME.PDF’. To apply, please send your application consisting of one pdf-document with the Subject “Global Humanitarianism | Research Academy” to the organisers at ghra@ieg-mainz.de by December 31, 2018.

Changing our understanding of migration and social spaces – new historical approach

Special issue on “Migration, Mobility and Sedentariness” in Geschichte and Gesellschaft, ed. by Anne Friedrichs (IEG Mainz)

“Disembarkation platforms”, “transit zones”, “transit procedures”, “detention camps in a no man’s land” – the question of how to govern migration has become a topic central to the political agendas of many European states again during the previous weeks. At the same time, filmmakers such as Christian Petzold have drawn our attention to the extreme predicaments that refugees in transit often face: Such migrants often have to decide whether to survive or to preserve relationships to close persons who are not permitted to move along with them. By transposing characters from Anna Seghers’ novel “Transit” (1947) to today’s Marseille, Petzold’s Transit (2018) uses surprising references to the present time hinting at the fact that neither the restriction of mobility nor the experiences of people in transit are new. What seems to be new, however, is the aggravation of the political tone in Germany – at least as compared to a time in 2015 when rights of migrants and asylum seemed to be given a more important consideration in German politics.

Globe designed by Peter Wagener and Anne Friedrichs

Anne Friedrichs (Leibniz Institute of EuropeanHistory, IEG Mainz) has edited a special issue on “migration, mobility and sedentariness” in Geschichte und Gesellschaft. She brings together contributions that explore transits between mobility and immobility in different historical contexts. Examining migration from a relational perspective enables new insights into the boundaries of the societal. Analyzing transitions between mobile and sedentary life phases and life worlds not only allows us to identify interpretative ambivalences and changes in how mobility is differentiated and evaluated. As we grasp that human movement and immobility are mutually constituted, we also gain insights into the different dynamics involved in shaping social life and societal order, as well as into the ways in which these processes intersect with one another. This new research perspective helps to achieve a better understanding of conflicts over the norms and values that define a collective or society, and thus contributes to a historiography that is sensitive to the historical variability of what is perceived as “distance” or “nearness”, and that considers different actors’ perspectives in its analytical categories. Table of contents TOC GG 44/2 (2018)

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Call for Papers: Global Europe. Connecting European History (17th to 21st Century)

6th GRAINES summer school, Sciences Po Reims, June, 6-8 2018

The rapid development of global history in the last twenty years has undoubtedly opened historiography to less known parts of world history leading to the call for a General “provincialization” of Europe in a global context (Chakrabarty). However, many studies that were conducted in this perspective perpetuated (and continue to do so) traditional visions of Europe and its history that conceptualized the continent as a more or less homogeneous cultural entity clearly distinguished from others, i.e. non-European cultures or civilisations. The same binary vision that sharply divides Europe from the non-European world underpins many classical studies in the field of Imperial history and even some works claiming to write in the vein of “post-colonial” perspectives. Numerous studies, however, have shown how problematic the assumption of such clear-cut distinctions are, not only when looking to the so-called European “peripheries” like the Ottoman or the Russian Empires or to “third spaces” of mixed cultures (Homi Bhabha) that flourished in colonial towns, but also with regard of the “core” of what has been defined as “European culture”. Indeed, migration and circulatory processes have always been a part of the continent’s culture(s) thus influencing, for instance, as Kapil Raj has shown the construction of what has been called “European sciences”. In this vein, rising up to the challenge of global history means to fully develop an entangled or connected history of Europe that also tracks down the hybrid forms of culture within European societies and cultures.

Based on this broad approach the GRAINES summer school 2018 will take a closer look at the multiple and multi-directional entanglements that shaped Europe and its cultures from the 17th to the 21st century. We will focus on various fields of studies, from the history of “peripheries” like the Mediterranean Sea, the Ottoman or Russian Empire to the new imperial/colonial history or the history of non-European-European encounters that took place within European societies. Questions we seek to address include: How did historical actors in these different situations and settings debated about Europe and its identity? What kind of stereotypes and visions of “civilizational” standards and hierarchies were mobilized? What kind of circulatory regimes and power relations characterized different periods of global transfer of people, objects, and knowledge? How did the latter shape Europe’s inner divisions and hierarchies? How did national rivalries and regional specificities influence the broader global connections of Europe?

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Europe and the World: Between Colonialism and Globalisation

Second Gerda Henkel Acadamy at Villa Vigoni in June 2018

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS – Workshop on “Europe and the World: Between Colonialism and Globalisation”. PhD candidates in the Humanities and Cultural Studies as well as in the Social Sciences and Law will present their dissertation projects and to discuss their ideas in a stimulating, interdisciplinary environment overlooking Lake Como.

Venue: Villa Vigoni, Menaggio, Como, Italy; Date: 18-22 June 2018

Deadline for applications: 15 December 2017

Villa Vigoni – German-Italian Centre for European Excellence on Lake Como

In cooperation with the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the German-Italian Center for European Excellence Villa Vigoni has established the Gerda Henkel Academy at Villa Vigoni to discuss past and present challenges of Europe in the political, social and cultural realm. The Academy’s work is dedicated to the theme “From the Ideas on Europe to the European Citizen”. The second graduate workshop of the Gerda Henkel Academy will take place in June 2018 at Villa Vigoni.

The workshop’s theme is “Europe and the World: Between Colonialism and Globalisation”. The aim is to bring together young scholars for an interdisciplinary exchange on the notions of Europe’s relationships with other societies and other parts of the world, both from a historical and from a contemporary perspective. Among the questions the workshop will address are the following: What was and what is the relationship between “Europe and the World”, and which tensions and which potentials can we identify? What are (or have been) the underlying constructions and narratives of “Europeanness” vis-à-vis other cultures, and in which ways have they informed European colonial and imperial practices abroad? What role did economic, scientific, national, religious, and ethnic categories play in shaping practices of formal and informal colonialism outside Europe, and to which degree do we find remnants of such structures in contemporary global relations? How does, vice versa, globalisation influence the ideas and the politics that define the European “Self” (or “Selves”)?

For further information see Call for Applications at www.academia.edu.

Academic Board:

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The Spanish Atlantic and Global Europe

Workshop at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in cooperation with Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG)

On 6-7 October, the workshop analyses global Europe in the long ninenteenth century by focusing on the Spanish Atlantic. Participants from UPF and IEG as well as Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Sevilla) and EHESS (Paris) discuss how the history of this period can be written from a global perspective.

Cádiz: Plaques at Oratorio de San Felipe Neri commemorating the first Spanish constitution of 1812, presented in 1912 amongst others “By the Spanish of the Americas in Honour of the American Deputes at the Cortez of Cadiz”; similiar ones from Montevideo and Puerto Rico.

In writing the history of the long nineteenth century, historians have traditionally concentrated on given macro-spaces reproducing present-day loci of power: China, India, the United States, and Europe. However, such a perspective neglects important regions and their significance for global history. In this regard, the absence of the Spanish Atlantic is most striking, especially since Spain and her Empire were both crucial for the first wave of globalization and embodied imperial decline in the course of the nineteenth century. Reflecting on Spain in her connections, encounters, and entanglements offers new insights into a global Europe in the long nineteenth century. This will bring together two strands of research in global history – i.e. Spanish Imperial history and European history in its global contexts – represented by researchers from the UPF and the IEG.

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International Conference: Humanitarianism and Charity. Expressions of or Alternatives to Socioeconomic Rights?

Convenors: Fabian Klose (Mainz), Claudia Stein (Warwick), Charles Walton (Warwick)
Venue: Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) Mainz
Date: September 28 – 29, 2017
Information: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/ghcc/research/serhn

Socioeconomic rights have a long but poorly understood history. They are sometimes referred to as ‘second generation rights’, as twentieth-century additions to core civil and political rights stretching back to the European Enlightenment. Yet, socioeconomic rights – such as the right to work and to subsistence – emerged in the political struggles of the French Revolution and have been repeatedly argued for since then. Although most countries in the world have legally recognized them as ‘human rights’ by signing the United Nations’ 1966 International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, they tend not to receive the same degree of legitimacy and visibility as civil and political rights.
At this international conference at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, as part of the Leverhulme International Network ‘Rights, Duties and the Politics of Obligation: Socioeconomic Rights in History’, international scholars discuss the history of socioeconomic rights from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. In particular, they focus on the complex relationship between a discourse on socioeconomic rights and debates about humanitarianism and charity thus seeking to connect these two important fields of research. In this context the leading questions are: How has humanitarianism and charity figured within the rhetoric of rights? How have the politics of obligation differed between voluntary and rights-based approaches to dealing with socio-economic crises and deprivations? How have states and NGO’s tried to balance providing for urgent needs with the more long-term development of a rights-based approach upheld by the sovereign state?

Program

Thursday, September 28, 2017

2:00pm-2:30pm Fabian Klose (Mainz), Claudia Stein (Warwick), and Charles Walton (Warwick), Welcome and Introduction

2:30-3:30pm Keynote Lecture I:
Michael Barnett (Washington), ‘Humanitarianism and Socio-Economic Rights: Look, But Don’t Touch’

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Writing a Contemporary History of Poland Beyond Totalitarianism: Some Remarks from a Postcolonial Perspective

The Polish sociologist Zdzisław Krasnodębski considers Poland a postcolonial country and often employs the postcolonial as a concept to argue for understanding Polish history in terms of oppression and resistance. Postcolonial studies have influenced historians studying the modern history of Central and Eastern Europe for years and yet, this transfer of a theoretical framework calls for some critical remarks. Postcolonial theory can inspire the study of post-war Poland, but it needs to move beyond an epistemology of totalitarianism.

Man standing in front of the Gdańsk shipyard. The former sign at the gate naming the shipyard after Lenin has been removed, the banner calls for supporting the 1980 workers’ 21 demands.

Krasnodębski and many other conservative Polish intellectuals tell the story of Communism and Soviet hegemony as a colonial experience, to be followed by a period of coming to terms with this experience after 1989. Here, Polish history revolves around the too easy antagonism of the Communist regime (or władza) and a society that resisted the Communist takeover and the re-making of Poland after the Second World War. To underpin this dichotomy, both research and popular discourse describe the Communist regime as totalitarian which goes along with a simplistic focus on a small elite of Communist officials. In recent years, such narratives often make uses of postcolonialism and present a heroic history of resisting society and essentially unstained national identity. Following various and complex political conflicts in today’s Polish society, these conservative intellectuals denounce many oppositional protagonists as de facto Communists or collaborators. Such patterns of interpretation are in fact rather anticolonial than postcolonial. Like it or not, this anticolonial effect is the point of reference for present day historical research on Poland. Continue reading

Material Culture in Modern Diplomacy

Out Now – Open Access

The new issue of the European History Yearbook on “Material Culture in Modern Diplomacy from the Fifteenth to the Twentieth Century” has been published.

ed. by Harriet Rudolph and Gregor M. Metzig;

with contributions by:

 

The open access volume outlines a new field of research with regard to the history of diplomacy: the material culture of diplomatic interaction in early modern and modern times. The material culture of diplomacy includes all practices in foreign policy communication in which single artifacts, samples of artifacts, or the whole material setting of diplomatic interaction is constitutive for creating an effect in terms of diplomatic objectives. Continue reading

‘The colonial past is never dead. It’s not even past’

Matthew G. Stanard (Berry College) on ‘Histories of Empire, Decolonization, and European Cultures after 1945’, in the recent issue of European History Yearbook (open access), addresses the theme of imperial legacies and the persistence of empire in the former imperial metropoles of Europe through the lens of three recent publications.

buettner-europe-9780521131889

Elizabeth Buettner, Europe after Empire. Decolonization, Society, and Culture (2016)

It is a timely choice to publish an essay on the topic because there seems to be a generational change. The books in the centre of the article reflect this change, with Bill Schwarz in one group, Elizabeth Buettner in the other, and the volume edited by Kalypso Nikolaïdes, Berny Sèbe, and Gabrielle Maas combining both. The theme treated in Stanard’s essay has been a vibrant field of research over the last quarter of a century, and the study of Empire and its reflection has recently been boosted by an astonishing degree of self-reflective books and articles by some of the foremost practicioners of imperial history. Apart from the book project by Bill Schwarz one could also mention the recently published How Empire shaped us (2016), by Antoinette Burton and Dane Kennedy. Such reflections are about justification as much as they are about securing a legacy, and they indicate that, among other things, the interest in the topic and the paradigms chosen for its analysis have a lot to do with the generational experience of scholars who often had imperial family roots in the empire. This is as true for a defining generation of white male British imperial historians as for those academic and intellectual migrants who articulated their presence in the centre and tried to subvert the dichotomy of colonizer and colonized under the banner of postcolonialism. Continue reading