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Research activity

History of European Colonizations (19th-20th c): Societies, Cultures, Politics


Colonial history has recently been at the forefront of political and scientific polemical controversies in France, in particular with the February 23, 2005 law demanding that the "positive" aspects of French colonialism, notably in North Africa, be taught in French schools (article 4). Highly contentious, particularly within the community of French historians, this article (and only this one) was finally abrogated. Subsequently, Italy officially apologized on August 30, 2008 to Libya, its former colony from 1911 to 1943. This repentance came with a commitment to compensate Libya 5 billion dollars over the next twenty-five years.

Scholarly publications on issues of memory, both political and historical, have been increasing, and comparative studies proving quite fruitful. Organized as a monthly meeting open to all students, Ph.D students, researchers, and teachers interested in complex colonial issues, this research seminar aims to examine and disseminate new approaches within the field.
We will consider recent doctoral theses, historical works in progress, and symposia, as well as foreign historiography on French colonial history and other European empires (especially the British, German and Dutch empires). The goal of this seminar is to strive toward a decompartmentalized and broadened understanding of colonial history. Political and social structures, cultural expressions, legal modes, and artistic representations of the European colonizations in Africa and Oceania in the 19th and 20th centuries will be examined.