1 Jul 2022 - 2 Jul 2022 11.00-17.00 McCrum Lecture Theatre, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge CB2 1RH


Sign up to the CRASSH Newsletter for more information and updates on this conference.


  • 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, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Leslie James, Queen Mary University of London
  • Jean Khalfa, University of Cambridge
  • Karuna Mantena, Yale University
  • Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Ashoka University
  • Luna Sabastian, University of Cambridge
  • 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.

This event has now sold out but there is a waitlist. Please register your interest with Eventbrite or by clicking on the registration link on this page. There is no charge for attendance. If you have booked a place but can no longer attend please cancel your order so that a ticket can be released to someone on the waiting list.

Entrance to the McCrum Lecture Theatre  is located through the Eagle Pub archway via Bene’t Street. The venue is fully accessible with step-free access. There are disabled toilet facilities in the McCrum Theatre Foyer. Please see the link to the venue on this page.

Please email fellowships@crassh.cam.ac.uk with any enquiries about this event.

• Conference hashtag #anti-colonialthought

Supported by:

Faculty of History Trevelyan Fund and the Smuts Memorial Fund

CRASSH Yellow Logo



If you have any specific accessibility needs for this event please get in touch. We will do our best to accommodate any requests.


Friday 1 July 11.00-11.30

Registration and coffee


Panel 1

Karuna Mantena (Yale University)
‘Colonialism as a Symptom of Modern Civilization’

Luna Sabastian (University of Cambridge)
‘Savarkar, Hindutva, and the Idea of the Hindu Crown’

Chair: Duncan Bell (University of Cambridge)


Break for lunch


Panel 2

Faisal Devji (University of Oxford)
‘Sovereignty, Politics, and Islam’

Shruti Kapila (University of Cambridge)
‘Ambedkar’s Republican Revolution and Renunciation’

Chair: Martin Ruehl (University of Cambridge)


Tea Break


Panel 3

Faridah Zaman (University of Oxford)
‘Muslim Sovereignty and the End of Empire: The Caliphate in Indian Political Thought’

Neguin Yavari (Columbia University)
‘Khomeini’s Sovereign State: A Genealogy’

Chair: Duncan Kelly (University of Cambridge)

Saturday 2 July 9.30-11.10

Panel 4

Andrew Arsan (University of Cambridge)
‘The Madness of Colonialism’: Arab Anti-Colonialism, c. 1908-1948’

Richard Bourke (University of Cambridge)
‘Revolution against Empire: The Irish Crisis, 1912–1922’

Hussein Omar (University College Dublin)
‘Wars of Weapons and Words: political ‘theory’ under Occupation in Egypt’

Chair: Emma Mackinnon (University of Cambridge)


Coffee Break


Panel 5

Adom Getachew (University of Chicago)
‘The Garveyite Idea of Africa’

Leslie James (Queen Mary University of London)
‘Anti-colonial Anti-fascism in the Caribbean and West Africa’

Musab Younis (Queen Mary University of London)’
‘Nkrumah and His Predecessors’

Chair: Tejas Parasher (University of Cambridge)


Break for lunch


Panel 6

Lawrence Hamilton (University of the Witwatersrand)
‘Amílcar Cabral: Freedom, Resistance and Realism in Political Theory’

Jean Khalfa (University of Cambridge)
‘What Fanon Said on Violence’

Chair: Jessica Patterson (University of Cambridge)

Upcoming Events


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk