[URBANTH-L]Empire and Rebellion: postcolonial perspectives (India)

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Fri Jan 11 16:14:32 EST 2008

Empire and Rebellion: postcolonial perspectives
CFP Deadline: January 30, 2008

Over the past few decades, the ideas and notions or the cultural wherewithal 
that accompanied colonial conquest have been studied extensively. Attention 
has also been focused on the cultural forms in which anti-colonial 
resistance was articulated. The focus for this conference will be more 
specifically on responses to rebellions, to large-scale, more or less 
organized and violent acts by the colonized to overthrow colonial rule. How 
are rebellions represented? What kinds of questions do they raise about 
colonial rule and colonial policies? In what way does the experience of 
military suppression of rebellions feed into the strategies developed for 
future wars, in Europe and elsewhere? How are these rebellions seen in 
post-colonial times?

It has been argued that the process of establishing colonial control and 
rule across most of Asia, Africa and Latin America was supported 
ideologically by the belief in the civilizational superiority of the 
colonizers over the colonized. Within this general framework, 
representations of colonized peoples and the forms of knowledge produced 
about them tended to project them as distant both in terms of geographical 
space and historical time. They were seen as people without history, without 
the ability therefore to act of their own volition; they required, even 
beseeched domination. Such ideas not only obscured the harsh realities of 
colonial rule but also served to subdue criticism of colonial as well as 
other policies at home. As is well known now, establishing and maintaining 
colonial empires was no peaceful venture, as the colonizers were confronted 
almost everywhere with some forms of resistance that kept escalating into 
armed rebellions.

The conference is a follow-up to a conference held in October 2007 on 
European Responses to the 1857 Rebellion in India. Though it is well known 
that this rebellion generated an enormous amount of literature in Britain, 
little note has been taken so far of the responses in the rest of Europe, 
which took the form of extensive reporting in the newspapers as well as of 
many fictional and non-fictional texts. The varied responses show the keen 
interest across several European nations (irrespective of whether they were 
colonial powers, still to acquire colonies, or belonged to the category of 
'small nations') evoked by such a major threat to British colonial power. 
The gap between the considerable body of material and the lack of any study 
of the area is also a motive for the present conference. Of course, the 
contemporary world provides enough evidence that questions of colonialism, 
imperialism and rebellions aiming to overthrow these modes of domination are 
not just matters of the past.

The conference will bring together interdisciplinary and comparative 
perspectives to explore responses to anti-colonial rebellions in fictional 
and non-fictional texts as well as in film and other art forms.

Shaswati Mazumdar
Department of Germanic & Romance Studies
University of Delhi, D
elhi - 110007, INDIA
Phone: 91-11-27666426

Email: grs.du.in at gmail.com
Visit the website at http://events.du.ac.in/events 

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