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Conference Streams

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and should be sent as an attachment to the following address: rtm.conf@warwick.ac.uk

The deadline for receipt of abstracts is Friday 25th February 2011.

If you have questions related to any particular stream, please email the stream coordinator - details below.


  • Reassessing Anti-Colonial and Liberation Movements
    Stream Coordinator: Robbie Shilliam (Robbie.Shilliam[AT]vuw.ac.nz)
    The authoritarian turn of many - if not most - post-colonial governments from the 1950s onwards impelled, among their supporters, a profound political re-assessment of the liberatory potential of anti-colonial movements. In the academy, and roughly at the same time or emerging slightly later, the rise of post-structural (and post-colonial) critique problematized the assumption that one could ever become free of power. The two developments have combined to produce a skepticism and pessimism of - and, it might be said, political distancing from - not just the practices of  twentieth century anti-colonial and liberation movements but also the philosophies and social/political thought that were woven into them. Were these philosophies and bodies of thought to be relegated to the dustbin of history? Should skepticism and pessimism over "liberation" be accepted as the new critical common-sense? Indeed, should the failure of third world independence be examined through the lens of post-structural/post-colonial critique? Papers are invited that broach these questions, especially in the light of contemporary forms of imperialism and resistance.

  • Coloniality / Modernity
    Stream Coordinator: Rolando Vazquez (r.vazquez[AT]roac.nl)
    This stream invites papers that elaborate and expand the modernity/ coloniality debate. The central tenet of this debate is that we cannot account for the workings of modernity without observing is dark side, its coloniality, there is no history of progress that is not also a history of violence. We invite discussion that expands the modernity/ coloniality debate into different areas of analysis, like international political economy, ecology, critical law, global politics, aesthetics, feminism, popular education, among others. This stream seeks to widen the horizons of the modernity/ coloniality debate so as to show the need of revising our disciplines in search for the decolonization of knowledge and of our forms of life.

  • The Place of Minorities in Modernity and Coloniality
    Stream Coordinator: Ipek Demir (id34[AT]le.ac.uk)
    The aim of this stream is to orient attention to the way in which minorities (especially religious and ethnic) were identified, constructed, measured, characterized, governed, stigmatized as well as at times Orientalized by modern thought, by modern nation-states or by colonialism. Papers which extend the historical and sociological scholarship on the relationship between nationalism and modernization by exploring the way in which this relationship impacted upon minorities, or papers that provide new theoretical perspectives on modernity's ambiguous and reluctant acceptance of, and struggles with, minorities are welcome. Papers can have a historical, contemporary, empirical or theoretical focus.

  • Imperial Enlightenment and Critical Thought
    Stream Coordinator: Gary Hazeldine (gary.hazeldine[AT]bcu.ac.uk)
    This stream aims to rethink the work of key ‘Enlightenment’ figures, and their intellectual heirs, from the perspective of colonialism and empire. It asks ‘what is living and what is dead’ in their ideas and conceptual frameworks, given the damning critique of the ‘Enlightenment project’ by post-colonial theorists. How might we add to this critique by further exploring the complicity of Enlightenment ideas, ideals, and assumptions, with a history of empire and colonial legitimation? Or are there discernible traces of anti-imperialism in Enlightenment thought that might prove fruitful for contemporary social theory? How might we move beyond the notion of a unified ‘Enlightenment project’ that should be either defended, in the name of ‘progressive’ politics, or renounced, as irredeemably western and imperialist?

  • Decolonial Thought and Other Philosophies
    Stream Coordinator: Rolando Vazquez (r.vazquez[AT]roac.nl)
    This stream seeks to make visible the traditions of thought and the philosophies that have been neglected by the dominant narrative of western philosophy. This narrative holds Greece and Rome to be the origin of contemporary philosophy, thus creating a fiction of historical continuity up to today's hegemony of Western thought. This Western-centric narrative of the history of thought has been functional for the control of knowledge that is needed by the modern/ colonial enterprise. It is a narrative that has actively excluded as irrelevant all the other philosophies and traditions of thought that have existed, and that exist today, outside the dominant narrative. We invite discussions about 1) decolonial thinking: a thinking that delinks and questions the hegemony of western thought, 2) the revaluation of non-western thinkers and/or traditions that have been discredited as non-valuable precisely because they do not belong to the history of Western thought,  3) traditions of thought within the geographical West that have also been erased because they were not functional for the expansion of the power of Western modernity.

  • Slavery and its Legacies
    Stream Coordinator: Robbie Shilliam (Robbie.Shilliam[AT]vuw.ac.nz)
    Why is the study of Atlantic slavery still of relevance for the study of the twenty-first century world? How does Atlantic slavery complicate and challenge received chronologies and understandings of the "modern" and modernity? These broad questions could be pursued along a number of dimensions: what empirical legacies of Atlantic slavery inhere in the political, cultural and economic institutions and structures of the contemporary world; how does Atlantic slavery challenge the sequences, agencies, actors and imputed continuities and ruptures of accepted narratives of modern world development; in what ways does Atlantic slavery disturb the concepts,  categories and explanatory frameworks of modern social and political thought; how do the ethical challenges emerging from resistance to and abolition of Atlantic slavery - especially reparation and repatriation - continue to resonate in the present?
     
  • Migration and Empire: Voluntary and Forced
    Stream Coordinator: Lucy Mayblin (l.mayblin[AT]warwick.ac.uk)
    Empires have historically been characterised by population movement. From the forced migration of slaves, through the migrations facilitating the founding of ‘New World’ colonies and the associated displacement of indigenous communities, to employment related migration of those involved in trade, research and colonial administration.  Emigration schemes in the metropolitan centres have a long history, as does the recruitment of colonial subjects to work in agriculture, building infrastructure and in the armed forces.  In this way, empires have never been static enterprises but rather defined through the movement of people and, consequently, goods, capital, knowledge, and ideas.  When net emigration from Europe was superseded by colonial subjects seeking to migrate to the ‘motherland’ the response of the authorities was often to pursue restrictive immigration policies. Here, it is the limiting of migration resulting from the activities of empire has been the priority. This stream is concerned with both historical patterns of migration, their causes and effects, and the ongoing contemporary implications of these migrations.  Whether voluntary or forced migration, global imperial histories have important links with population movements in the present, and the social and political response to these migrations. Key themes for this stream are: colonialism and economic migration; counter-flows to colonialism (immigration to the metropolitan ‘centre’); slavery as forced migration; the gendered characteristics of colonial migration; settlers as immigrants and their relationship to indigenous peoples; ex-pats and the migration of value systems; contemporary legacies of colonial migration; contemporary forced migration and its links to colonialism; asylum seekers and refugees. 

  • Colonial Desires and Eastern Empires
    Stream Coordinator: Ozan Zeybek (S.O.Zeybek[AT]open.ac.uk)
    In this stream, instead of looking at colonialism as spreading out from the West to the direction of the East, we invite speakers to provide colonising histories from the East within. Some Empires of the East, in competition with their Western counterparts especially in the 19th and early 20th Century, caused another miserable episode of human history with aggressive military campaigns and invasions. Some other non-industrialised Empires, on the other hand, violently undertook “ethnic/religious homogenisation” in their territories under the national pretexts, which echoed colonial aspirations of their time with a domestic outlook. Both endeavours not only did cost millions of lives at their peaks, but also impaired discourses regarding superiority, power, hegemony and the need for a "strong state". Stories and theoretical contributions to the critique of colonialism that stem from the history of Eastern Empires are welcome in this stream.

  • From Empire to Neo-Imperialism
    Stream Coordinator: Vicky Margree (V.Margree[AT]brighton.ac.uk)
    As the recent US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan progressed, legitimising narratives needed to adapt in the face of certain facts on the ground: no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and no links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. The justifications for invasion and continued occupation became retrospectively reformulated: a Western presence in the region was required to dethrone a barbarous dictator, to ensure stability in a region not able to govern itself, to guarantee the rights of women. Many critics have noted the similarities between these narrative frames and those of 19th century European imperialism, with both seeking to legitimise occupation as the bringing of civilisation to insufficiently modern parts of the world. This stream explores the links that might exist between the project of redeeming ‘old’ empire and what for many is a new imperialism. Is it that the resumed assertion of ‘First World’ privilege requires ideologically the redemption of Europe’s colonial past?

  • Reinterpreting Colonialism: Forgotten Histories?
    Stream Coordinator: Søren Rud (sorenru[AT]hum.ku.dk)
    To counteract the recent shift towards a more benevolent narrative of colonialism, this stream will address the way in which the history of colonialism has developed in the West and elsewhere. It has been suggested that the legacy of colonialism, in the West, has been a postcolonial melancholia, under which the handling of a confusing contemporary world order is intermixed with the longing for a less confusing (imperial/ colonial) past. Here it seems that important aspects of the past become forgotten histories. Focusing on theoretical approaches based on national narratives and collective memory, one of the questions posed in this stream is: what role does the experience of colonialism play for cultural and national identity in the present age of globalization and migration? Other questions include: how can we recover 'forgotten histories'? What is the place of the non-colonized / colonizing world in grand narratives based on colonialism?

  • The Colonial Context of the European Integration Project, Past and Present
    Stream Coordinators: Peo Hansen (peo.hansen[AT]liu.se) and Stefan Jonsson (stefan.jonsson[AT]liu.se)
    This stream situates the European integration project in the context colonialism, decolonization, neo-colonialism and postcoloniality. The European integration project gained momentum and was formally established in the Rome Treaties in 1957 in exactly the same period as anti-colonial movements of liberation became strong and general decolonization was set in train. However, for the architects of European integration one of the major aims was precisely to stem the tide of decolonization and contain particularly the African colonies within a new system of collective European management. Up until the late 1950s several designations were suggested for this new system of colonial administration; but the one that stuck was Eurafrica/Eurafrique. Today, European integration’s colonial legacy is largely forgotten, yet the content of current EU policy-making towards the global South demonstrates that it has continued influence under the surface. The only way to comprehend the deep structures of today’s EU’s global relations—as pertain to such issues as migration policy, development, security, natural resources, emerging markets etc.—is to bring this history to life. This stream invites papers that contribute to this task. We welcome interventions, both empirical and theoretical, that broadly address the relation between European integration and colonialism in either a historical or a contemporary context.

  • Is Global History / Sociology Possible?
    Stream Coordinator: Gurminder K Bhambra (g.k.bhambra[AT]warwick.ac.uk)
  • Reassessing Anti-Colonial and Liberation Movements
  • Coloniality / Modernity
  • The Place of Minorities in Modernity and Coloniality
  • Imperial Enlightenment and Critical Thought
  • Decolonial Thought and Other Philosophies
  • Slavery and its Legacies
  • Migration and Empire: Voluntary and Forced
  • Colonial Desires and Eastern Empires
  • From Empire to Neo-Imperialism
  • Reinterpreting Colonialism: Forgotten Histories?
  • The Colonial Context of the European Project (and Integration)