Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

The Organiser and the Victim: Power Relationships in the Colonial World

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  • Everyone

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In A Dying Colonialism Frantz Fanon described the European settler as both the ‘organiser and the victim’ of the colonial system. Fanon’s words suggest the subtlety and nuance inherent in all colonial systems, where power relationships operated in a variety of unexpected ways, often disrupting conventional wisdom about the role of coloniser and colonised. Current interest in race relations has fuelled a desire to understand the colonial past. Negotiations between former slave owners and the descendants of slaves, colonial settlers and indigenous peoples are a recurrent theme in contemporary political debate. In every story of dominance and exploitation, however, there are gaps, omissions, and complexities that escape investigation. This interdisciplinary colloquium brings together scholars working on a wide range of colonial communities. It focuses on groups whose status and experiences do not fit easily within the traditional categories of colonial analysis –, domination/subordination, free/unfree – that can be described as marginal or liminal.

Our aim is to highlight the multiplicity of ways of interfacing with the colonial system and to emphasise the vital importance of the ‘edges’ of mpire. Our colloquium will establish a broad interdisciplinary dialogue, and offer a unique and comparative perspective in to the complexities of the colonial world.