The Invention and Reinvention of Decolonization: Rethinking the ‘Waves’ Narrative

Mark Thurner's picture
Call for Papers
June 21, 2018 to June 22, 2018
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Diplomacy and International Relations, Nationalism History / Studies, World History / Studies


Was ‘decolonization’ a European invention designed to ease the ‘White Man’s Burden’ and pave the way for a neo-colonial system of extraction and dependency?  Was it a Latin American invention intended to undo ‘the colonial system?’  Or was it an Indian, French Algerian or Caribbean invention?  All the above?  Is the received ‘wave’ narrative (first, second, third, fourth waves) currently used to tell the global history of decolonization still adequate to the task?  Or would notions such as ‘invention’ and ‘reinvention’ be more useful?

We seek papers that address any of the following:

·       When, where and how was the concept and act of ‘decolonization’ invented or reinvented?

·       The circulation and deployment of concepts or cognate concepts of decolonization and independence across linguistic and imperial spheres

·       The invention or reinvention of the concepts or cognate concepts of ‘colonialism’ and ‘anti-colonialism’

·       Assessments and critiques of the ‘waves’ narrative of decolonization

·       Case studies that engage any of the above

Please submit a 200-word abstract, paper title, and one-page biographical note copied jointly to Professor Philip Murphy ( and Professor Mark Thurner ( by Friday 16 February 2018.

* The Global Decolonization Workshop (GDW) is a global network and forum for knowledge exchange and debate, based at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. 

Contact Info: 

Professor Mark Thurner


School of Advanced Study

University of London

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