REMINDER: CFP Deadline for Re-imagining Ends of Empires Study Half Day

Deadline for paper submissions: Friday 11th December 2015

The study of the ends of empires and decolonisation has generally focused on the passage from empire to nation-states. Whether this process was violent or relatively peaceful, it has generally been presented as historically inevitable. This is particularly the case with France’s African empire which is often studied in terms of its attempt and failure to hold on at all costs before ultimately giving up (Algeria) or its ‘successful’ negotiation of a smooth transfer of power to a Westernised African elite (West Africa). As Todd Shepard underlined in 2006 in The Invention of Decolonisation, by 1959-60, decolonisation in France was presented as part of the “tide of history” with little explanation or discussion of what this actually meant. He underlines that this historical determinism has largely been reproduced in academic literature. At the same time, an emerging trend has been to re-examine established accounts of the passage of empires to nation-states (Cooper, 2014; Hansen and Jonsson, 2014; Deighton, 2006). With an increase in studies of global and transnational history, scholars are increasingly questioning the inevitability of how (post) empire was reimagined by the late colonial state.

This study day at the University of Portsmouth on March 2nd 2016 aims to expand on these new approaches to studying the ends of empire. It seeks to bring together scholars who are currently working on or are interested in re-examining the avenues that colonial powers (such as Britain, France, Portugal and Belgium) considered in Africa and Asia at the end of the colonial period, including those paths not taken. Researchers, particularly postgraduate and post-doctoral, from different disciplines are invited to submit proposals, in English, dealing with the different ways in which ends of empire were imagined. Papers with a comparative and/or connected dimension are particularly welcome and may be based on (but are not restricted to) the following topics:

  • Differing understandings of meanings of decolonisation
  • Late colonial projects and state building
  • Alternatives to the nation-state model in a post-colonial context
  • Reassessments of concepts and practices of ‘neo-colonialism’ (for example ‘Françafrique’, ‘Eurafrique’ etc.)
  • The role of colonial and ‘on the ground’ actors and the international context

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to:

Kelsey Suggitt –

Final deadline for abstract submissions – Friday 11th December 2015

LECTURE. Red Globalism: The ‘Other’ Europe, Africa and Decolonization, Prof Paul Betts


Red Globalism: The ‘Other’ Europe, Africa and Decolonization

by Prof Paul Betts, University of Oxford


Professor Paul Betts is Professor of Modern European History in St Anthony’s College at the University of Oxford. His research and publications focus on Modern European Cultural History in general and 20th Century German History in particular.  Professor Betts has a special interest in the relationship between culture and politics over the course of the century, and have worked on the themes of material culture, cultural diplomacy, photography, memory and nostalgia, human rights and international justice, death and changing notions of private life.

His recent publications include Within Walls:  Private Life in the German Democratic Republic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010; paperback, 2012), which was awarded the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History by the Wiener Library. Professor Betts has also co-edited a number of volumes recently, including Heritage in the Modern World:  Historical Preservation in International Perspective (with Corey Ross, Oxford University Press, 2015); Years of Persecution, Years of Extermination: Saul Friedländer and the Future of Holocaust Studies (with Christian Wiese, London: Continuum, 2010); and  Between Mass Death and Individual Loss: The Place of the Dead in Twentieth-Century Germany (with Alon Confino and Dirk Schumann, New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2008; pb, 2011).

Chaired by Professor Tony Chafer

Date & Location: 17 November 2015 5.15 – 6.45pm. University of Portsmouth. Dennis Sciama Buidling, room 2.14