Robert Aldrich


Exiling Potentates: Colonial Governments and the Banishment of Indigeous Rulers

Some cross borders willingly, others involuntarily. This comparative project examines the multi-directional movements of a particular group largely in the second category: indigenous rulers exiled by colonial governments. Banishment formed an important strategy in imperial rule. The French, on whom this research will particularly concentrate, confined an Algerian resistant to colonial conquest in France, though on release Abd el-Kader settled in Syria.

?An exemplary model for analysing individual cases of colonial banishment is provided by Tony Ballantyne’s study of the Sikh Maharajah Dalip. The British exiles who have not been studied and the colonised French ‘potentates’ lend themselves to similar investigation.

?This research will tell us something about border crossings between colony and metropole (and vice versa), but also about crossings between colony and colony, and about the knitting together of trans-regional and inter-colonial connections. It will examine the impact of these movements on the individuals and their families and entourages, on the societies they left, on the societies where they were sent, and on the colonial metropole. It will provide insight into relationships between colonial powers and indigenous elites, and into the paradoxical interplay between French republican colonialists and hereditary ‘native’ rulers. It will also shed light onto the pathways for inter-regional population movements, political influence and cultural exchange that have endured in the post-colonial era.


Robert Aldrich is a Visiting Fellow at CRASSH, Michaelmas 2011.

Robert Aldrich is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.  As a  Professor of European History at the University of Sydney he teaches and carries out research in modern European and colonial history, especially the history of France since the Revolution and of France's overseas empire, the history of 'sites of memory' and the history of gender and sexuality.


Visiting Fellow


October 2011 - December 2011


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