Rethinking ‘Late Colonialisms’ in Africa
Online conference, 15-16 September 2022
Co-organisers: Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo (University of Coimbra) and Tim Livsey (Northumbria University).
Conference committee: Toyin Falola (University of Texas at Austin), Leigh Gardner (London School of Economics), Bonny Ibhawoh (McMaster University), Alexander Keese (University of Geneva), Amandine Lauro (Free University of Brussels), and Enocent Msindo (Rhodes University).
‘Late colonialism’ is a widely used concept in African, colonial, and imperial history. It has been used to refer to a distinct, transformative period of colonial governance, from around the time of the Second World War through to ‘transfers of power’ in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
The late colonial moment was a critical period across Africa. It has often been associated with the transformation of colonial institutions to produce ‘late colonial states’; the rapid growth and ‘Africanisation’ of state institutions; the decline of ‘indirect rule’ paradigms and managed expansion of electoral politics; the proliferating role of experts and expertise in governance; the emergence of new politics of difference and citizenship; and the growing accountability of imperial and colonial governments, including internationally. Late colonialism has been characterised, on one hand, by new projects of economic and social development, but on the other by military repression and social control. Late colonialism sought to re-make mid-twentieth century Africa, responding to new challenges, especially anticolonialism and nationalism. Postcolonial African nations have had to contend with late colonialism’s political, economic, social, and cultural legacies for decades after formal transfers of power.
Although scholars have recognised the importance of this moment in African history, and have frequently used the term late colonialism, there have been few attempts to conceptualise or define exactly what late colonialism was. Scholarship on late colonialism in Africa is scattered across multiple geographical and thematic sub-disciplines. We need to know more about fundamental questions. What – if anything – characterised late colonialism across Africa? What were the roots of late colonial ideas and practices? And what were the connections and variations between late colonialism within, and across, African territories and regions? We need to know more, too, about Africans’ role in making, adapting to, and contesting late colonialism; and about the ways in which specific late colonial dynamics simultaneously opened and circumscribed the options available to postcolonial nations.
This workshop seeks to foreground the concept of ‘late colonialisms’ in Africa in order to interrogate and elucidate it. We would welcome papers on topics including, but not limited to:
• Conceptualising late colonialisms: past approaches, new perspectives
• The roots of late colonialisms: including genealogies of ideas, discourses, and repertoires of administration
• Africans’ role in making late colonialisms: including Africans’ campaigning and resistance, and the role of African knowledge and institutions
• Comparative and/or connected histories of late colonialisms: including transfers of knowledge, inter-imperial and inter-colonial circulations, contrasting cases, and how colonial authorities used comparison and differentiation within and beyond Africa
• The dimensions and practices of late colonialisms:
- Statehood: the growth of states and establishment of new state and parastatal institutions
- Economics and taxation: who paid for late colonialisms?
- Development: how did development projects relate to wider late colonial dynamics?
- Security: militarisation, counter-insurgency, security beyond counter-insurgency
- Social aspects: education, health, community development, urbanisation, migration
- Media: information and propaganda, the representation of late colonialisms
- International dimensions: the role of international and inter-imperial organisations
• The legacies of late colonialisms for postcolonial Africa
We plan to publish a selection of the workshop papers.
To contribute, please submit an abstract of up to 500 words plus a short CV (2 pages maximum) to email@example.com by Friday 3 June 2022.