The Francophone World and the Angloworld: Empires of Culture, c. 1700-2000

Date & Time
8th June, 2011 @ 09:00:00

The Francophone World and the Angloworld: Empires of Culture, c. 1700-2000

National University of Ireland, Galway - 8-10 June 2011

Part of the Texts, Contexts, Cultures research programme.

Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This June, Galway will host an international conference of renowned scholars, who will compare critical approaches to the study of histories and cultures of empire in Britain, France and the US.

Studies of the British and French empires have been influenced over the last three decades by the insights offered by postcolonialism, by developments in cultural and critical theory, and by continuing archival research. More recently, scholars have sought to link the histories of the British and French empires to the history of globalisation. In terms of the British empire, this has encouraged some to frame the ‘Angloworld' as a more appropriate basis for analysis, looking at connections between the British empire and the independent, but in many ways imperial, settler societies of the United States. Scholars of French colonial expansion and enterprise are resurrecting the history of the Francophone world as a ‘process' rather than a ‘stance', exploring the ways in which a colonising metropole and colonised territories shaped each other over time. Moreover, imperialism has increasingly been seen as a process of control deeply reliant on a range of regulatory practices, from the dissemination of literary texts to a wide range of theatrical and cultural performances.

Key questions to be considered at the conference include:

  • How do the Angloworld and the Francophone world fit in with histories of globalisation?
  • What is the prominence given to the role of culture in the scholarship of empire in the British and French contexts?
  • Was the impact of empire on Britain and France's own domestic cultures similar in extent and nature?
  • What directions might the study of the British and French empires take over the next decade?
  • How did the circulation of culture in the circum-Atlantic and -Pacific spheres influence the nature of the British and French empires?
  • What are the different ways in which religion played a part in the dissemination of empire?

This event is part of the wider ‘Texts Contexts Cultures' research project funded by the Government of Ireland PRTLI scheme and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Confirmed Speakers:

James Belich is Professor at the Stout Research Centre, Victoria University, Wellington. His many publications include the ground-breaking study of British and US imperial expansion, Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Angloworld (Oxford, 2009). His current research focuses on European expansion, industrialization, and divergence, 1500-2000, and is supported by New Zealand's Marsden Fund.

Lauren Benton is Professor of History and Affiliate Professor of Law at New York University. Her research interests lie in legal history and the comparative history of Atlantic empires. Winner of the World History Association Book Award and the James Willard Hurst prize for her Law and Colonial Cultures: Legal Regimes in World History, 1400-1900 (Cambridge, 2002), she recently published A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400-1900 (Cambridge 2010).

Tracy C. Davis is Ethel M. Barber Professor in Performing Arts at Northwestern University. She is a specialist in performance theory, theatre historiography, and research methodology and has authored several books, including The Economics of the British Stage, 1800-1914 (Cambridge, 2000) and Stages of Emergency: Cold War Nuclear Civil Defense (Duke, 2007).

Alison Games is Dorothy M. Brown Distinguished Professor of History at Georgetown University. She has published extensively on migration in the English Atlantic world, and her most recent books are Witchcraft in Early North America (New York, 2010), and The Web of Empire: English Cosmopolitans in an Age of Expansion, 1560-1660 (New York, 2008).

Eliga Gould is Associate Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire. His research interests lie in colonial North America, with particular specialism in the American Revolution. Currently writing The World of the American Revolution and An Unfinished Peace: The American Revolution and the Legal Transformation of the European Atlantic, he has also published The Persistence of Empire: British Political Culture in the Age of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill and London, 2000).

Jean-François Klein is maître de conférences d'Histoire contemporaine at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales and a member of the Centre Roland Mousnier Histoire et Civilisation (Paris IV-Sorbonne). He has published widely on the history of French overseas expansion in Indochina, and on the Lyon silk trade with China and the Far East.

Anne McClintock is Simone de Beauvoir Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of many books, including Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (1995) and Double Crossings: Madness, Sexuality and Imperialism (2001). Her creative non-fiction book Skin Hunger: a Chronicle of Sex, Desire and Money is forthcoming from Jonathan Cape. She is working on a new book called Paranoid Empire: Specters from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

Rob Nixon is Rachel Carson Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His books include Dreambirds: the Natural History of a Fantasy (Picador, 2000), which was selected as a Notable Book of 2000 by the New York Times Book Review and as one of the ten best books of the year by Esquire. It was also serialized as Book of the Week on BBC Radio Four. His book Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor is forthcoming this year from Harvard University Press. Professor Nixon is a former director of the Border and Transcultural Studies Research Circle.

Francois-Joseph Ruggiu is Professor of History in the Centre Roland Mousnier at the Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne. He specialises in the comparative social history of France and England, with particular expertise in family structures, urban society, and French colonial settlements. Recent publications include Histoire des Îles Britanniques (Paris, 2007), and L'Individu et la famille dans les sociétés anglaise et française (vers 1720-1780) (Paris, 2007).

Damon Salesa is Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His work focuses on New Zealand and the Pacific, and his monograph Racial Crossings: Race, Intermarriage and the Victorian British Empire is due to be published by Oxford University Press in April.

Todd Shepard is Associate Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University. His work examines how imperialism intersects with histories of national identity, state institutions, race, and sexuality, particularly in the French empire. His first book, The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France (2006), was awarded both the American Historical Association's 2006 J. Russell Major Prize and the Council of European Studies 2008 Book Prize.

Emmanuelle Sibeud is maître de conférences en histoire contemporaine, Université Paris 8 (Vincennes - Saint-Denis) and specialises in the cultural and political history of French colonisation in Africa during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Publications include Une science impériale pour l'Afrique? La construction des savoirs africanistes en France, 1878-1930 (Paris, 2002).

Martin Thomas is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He has published widely on the combined and comparative histories of the European empires, with particular specialisms in the history of the French empire and the history of security services in the European empires. Recent publications include Empires of Intelligence? Security Services and Colonial Disorder after 1914 (University of California Press, 2007).

Kathleen Wilson is Professor of History and Cultural Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Her publications address themes relating to British culture and empire, and include The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture and Imperialism in England, 1715-1785 (1995), which won prizes from the Royal Historical Society and the North American Conference on British Studies, and The Island Race: Englishness, Empire and Gender in the Eighteenth Century (2003). She is currently exploring the politics of theatrical and social performance and colonial rule in sites that range across the Atlantic and Pacific worlds.

Dr Alison Forrestal, History alison.forrestal@nuigalway.ie

Dr Lionel Pilkington, English, lionel.pilkington@nuigalway.ie

Dr Simon Potter, History, simon.potter@nuigalway.ie