Anti-Colonial Political Thought

1 July 2021 - 2 July 2021

McCrum Lecture Theatre, Corpus Christi College

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Richard Bourke, Kings College, Cambridge
Shruti Kapila, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Hussein Omar, University College Dublin



Andrew Arsan, University of Cambridge

Faisal Devji, University of Oxford

Adom Getachew, University of Chicago 

Lawrence Hamilton Witwatersrand, University of Johannesburg

Leslie James, Queen Mary University of London

Shruti Kapila, University of Cambridge

Sudipta Kaviraj, Columbia University

Jean Khalfa, University of Cambridge

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Ashoka University

Hussein Omar, University of Oxford

Neguin Yavari, Columbia University

Musab Younis, Queen Mary University of London

Faridah Zaman, University of Oxford



One of the most dramatic geo-political developments in the twentieth century was the demise of the European empires, which had been gradually formed and re-formed since the early modern period. This process of disintegration was accompanied by the rise of anti-imperial polemic, both in European metropolitan centres and in various imperial dependencies across the globe.

This conference will focus on arguments against empire deployed by those who resisted its authority in numerous colonial settings spanning Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Far East. Contributors will reconstruct the ideologies deployed by key intellectual figures embroiled in the process, including Pearse, Ambedkar, Gandhi, Nasser, Cabral, Fanon, Nkrumah and Khomeini. The academic literature has tended to identify opposition to empire as an instance of ‘nationalism’, thus reducing a complex range of responses to a single ideological counter. The aim of this conference is to attend more carefully to the diversity of political languages that were originally employed.



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Supported by

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)

Faculty of History, Trevelyan Fund

King's College, Cambridge

The Smuts Memorial Fund




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