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Week 10: Legacies of Empire

Europe’s imperial past casts a long shadow over post-imperial nations, as well as within its history writing. This seminar considers how (and if!) nations have 'come to terms' with the legacies of their own empires, as well as the epistemic baggage that such legacies import into our everyday scholarly practices.

Seminar questions

  1. To what extent do post-imperial nations still live with the legacies of empire?
  2. How uniform have the experiences of a legacy of empire been for post-imperial nations?
  3. What are the major legacies of empire for history writing?

Core Readings

Robert Aldrich and Stuart Ward, 'Ends of Empire: Decolonizing the Nation in British and French Historiography', in Stefan Berger and Chris Lorenze (eds), Nationalizing the Past: Historians as Nation Builders in Modern Europe (Basingstoke, 2010), pp. 259-81. Link.

Paul Gilroy, Postcolonial Melancholia (New York, 2005), 'Part Two: Albion', pp. 78-132. Link.

Paul Gilroy, There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation (London, 1987), Ch. 2: '"The Whisper Wakes, the Shudder Plays": "Race", Nation and Ethnic Absolutism', pp. 41-83. Link.

Martin Thomas, Bob Moore, and L.J. Butler, Crises of Empire: Decolonization and Europe's Imperial States, 1918-1975 (London, 2008), 'Conclusion: Changing Attitudes to the End of Empire', pp. 411-28. Library.

Further Reading

Chakrabarty, Dipesh, 'Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History: Who Speaks for "Indian" Pasts', in Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin (eds), The Postcolonial Studies Reader (Routledge, 1995), pp 383-90.

Chakrabarty, Dipesh, Provincialising Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, 2000).

Chatterjee, Partha, 'Nationalism as a Problem', in Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin (eds), The Postcolonial Studies Reader (Routledge, 1995), pp. 164-6.

Gilroy, Paul, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (London, 1993).

Hall, Catherine, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830-1867 (Chicago, 2002).

Hall, Stuart, The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation (Harvard, 2017).

Hargreaves, Alex G. and Mark McKinney (eds), Post-Colonial Cultures in France (London, 1997).

Howe, Stephen, 'Internal Decolonization? British Politics since Thatcher as Post-Colonial Trauma', Twentieth Century British History, 14:3 (2003), 286-304.

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, 'Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses', in Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin (eds), The Postcolonial Studies Reader (Routledge, 1995), pp. 259-63.

Rothermund, Dietmar, 'Memories of Post-Imperial Nations: Silences and Concerns', India Quarterly, 70:1 (2014), 59-70.

Said, Edward, Orientalism (New York, 1978).

Stoler, Ann Laura and Frederick Cooper, 'Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda', in Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Los Angeles, 1997), pp. 1-57.

Trouillot, Michel-Rolph, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston, 1995).

Ward, Stuart (ed.), British Culture and the End of Empire (Manchester, 2001).