The Colonial Hangover project works with students to pose a series of questions about everyday life that currently remain underrepresented in both public political discourse and the school curriculum.
It aims to challenge students on questions such as:
- How do your lives intersect on a day-to-day basis with the legacies of the British Empire?
- Why, for instance, do the towns and cities in which we live look the way they do?
- Are the sources of wealth through which the built environment was paid for linked to Britain’s historically imperial economy, or to the transatlantic slave trade?
- How does the public art that you perhaps walk past every day without really noticing it raise to the status of ‘hero’ British imperialists whose actions would not stand the test of public morals today?
- What might be done, say, when statues celebrate the lives of slave traders, when stately homes glorify prize possessions seized as part of the process of colonial expropriation, when town halls were constructed using the profits emerging from the plantation economy?
You are further encouraged to link these historical questions to the way in which you construct your own identity today. What does greater recognition of the Colonial Hangover do for the positions you take on questions of both national and international politics?
The Colonial Hangover project starts from the simple proposition that the current strategic silence on the impact of the British Empire within the National Curriculum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland cuts off school-age students from many stories of interest about their country, their community and even themselves.
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