Tag Archives | Empire

Empires of the Mind: A book that was supposed to stop Brexit – An Interview with Professor Robert Gildea

  Megan Ison is a PhD student funded by the ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership. Her research looks at Alsace and the politics of memory at the commemorative site of Oradour-sur-Glane, France.   Empires of the Mind: A book that was supposed to stop Brexit   An Interview with Professor Robert Gildea Is there any better way to cheer oneself up on a cold day in the depths of British winter, than with a trip to Oxford University to talk about Brexit? Quite frankly, I can think of many. This is because Brexit is as bleak a reality for us British Mug[gle]s as was the prospect of Lord Voldemort securing unmatched power in J.K. Rowling’s fictional world of Harry Potter. In fact, are you even British if visiting the Great Hall at Christ Church isn’t at the top of your list of sites to visit in Oxford? Indeed, Harry Potter is basically Britannica. Well, I haven’t read Harry Potter, or even watched the films. Maybe the Home Office will take my passport away for not assimilating into British culture. The same government department that a few years ago senselessly denied that the Windrush generation truly belonged after 70 years […]

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The Forgotten Cameroon War : Tens of thousands dead behind the sunny view of France’s colonial past.

French officials like to project a sunny view of their country’s colonial past. Tens of thousands dead in Cameroon would tell a different story. by Thomas Deltombe Journalist, editor, and the co-author of Kamerun! and La Guerre du Cameroun. France’s agonizing over its identity has recently taken a shocking turn. Almost daily, some editorialist, politician, or writer celebrates the country’s “colonial endeavor.” In September, former president Nicolas Sarkozy resurrected one of the most hackneyed and racist clichés of the colonial period when he insisted that the “ancient Gauls” are the ancestors of all French people, whatever their origins. A few days earlier, former prime minister François Fillon described colonization as the simple “sharing of culture.” Ignoring the millions of corpses French colonialism left in its wake, he declared: “France is not guilty for having wanted to share its culture with the peoples of Africa, Asia, and North America.” This trend, unfortunately, has a precedent. In 2005, parliament adopted a law requiring history teachers to discuss the “positive aspects” of colonization. Of course, this has always been done: many French colonial atrocities have been erased, and the driving forces of imperialism are rarely, if ever, critically examined. School curricula propagate a […]

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