The Institute for Historical Studies is hosting a conference titled “Independence and Decolonization,” examining the causes, events and consequences of worldwide efforts to achieve political independence from imperial control on April 15-17 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.
Inspired by the upcoming bicentenary of Mexican independence in 2010, this symposium brings together an international group of scholars to reexamine the long and varied histories of decolonization. Students of decolonization generally focus on the post-World War II era and the reconfiguration of territorial and social borders that came with the end of European empires in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. But the world has seen many different “ends” to colonialism as the “first wave” of independence movements in the Americas demonstrates. Working at the intersection of new empirical research and recent theoretical developments, participants will critically interrogate and enlarge the paradigms by which we understand decolonization.
Susan Deans-Smith, Benjamin Claude Bower and Mark Metzler, history professors at The University of Texas at Austin, have brought together 23 scholars with expertise in decolonization and independence in a variety of settings. While some of the conference’s seven panels are aimed at rethinking classic examples of decolonization movements, such as the Algerian Revolution, others tackle less frequently studied topics like the Ottoman Empire’s breakup and the challenges faced by people left stateless in the wake of empire. The broad scope of the conference—which covers topics from across the globe for a period of over 200 years—will allow the participants to work towards more meaningful and comprehensive understandings of decolonization.