Violence, Colonialism and Empire in the Modern and Contemporary World

Call for papers: Violence, colonialism and empire

Start Date Monday, 1 December 2014, 09:00 am
End Date Monday, 1 December 2014, 05:00 pm

Sponsored by University of Newcastle's Centre for the History of Violence, the Violence, Colonialism and Empire in the Modern and Contemporary World Conference will be held at the British Academy, London.

Call for papers deadline 1 December 2014

Proposals, including a  title, institutional affiliation, email address, and  brief description of the proposed paper (up to 500 words), should be submitted by email to Professor Philip Dwyer by 1 December 2014.

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 coloniser and the colonised  
  • 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 colonised, including violent, anti-colonial struggles in exits from empire
  • the aftermaths and legacies of colonial and imperial violence 

The organisers invite proposals from scholars working in all disciplines to apply. 

Conference: 29 June to 1 July 2015

To be held at the British Academy, London, on 29 June to 1 July 2015, and sponsored by The Centre for the History of Violence at University of Newcastle, Australia, 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 organisers encourage scholars to interpret the conference themes broadly in crafting their proposals and are not limited to European colonial empires made up of settler societies, but also empires of occupation. 

Guest speakers

  • Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University
  • Elizabeth Kolsky, Villanova University

The organisers have three interrelated aims

  1. The first is to rethink 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Third, the organisers 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. 
Location 2015 conference will be held at the British Academy, London, UK
RSVP Monday, 1 December 2014