King's-UNC hold Lost Futures workshop
Posted on 01/06/2012
‘Lost Futures in the History of Modern European Empires’: a King’s College London and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Workshop was held 24-25 May 2012.
Every historical moment contains a number of potential futures, almost all of which will be not be realised. Throughout the history of the European empires, governments, institutions, transnational movements, and individuals have imagined very different futures, and have invested in imperial projects, social, political, and cultural movements which either never came to pass or did not succeed. On 24th and 25th May members of the History departments at King’s and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill met during a two-day international workshop in London to discuss these ‘Lost Futures’. Participants from the two departments were joined by academic colleagues and graduate students from other British and American universities as well as from Canada and South Africa.
Speakers considered ‘Lost Futures’ in relation to various themes prominent in the historiographies of empires, including debates around abolition and slavery within the British empire; ideas of race; and imperial legal regimes, violence, and structures of governance in the Caribbean from the early to the later nineteenth century. Several papers addressed the role of international anti-colonialism in nationalist movements in different regions of the British empire, while the theme of ‘Lost Futures’ was also considered in relation to pan-Africanism and to post-second world war London as a trans-national site of activity for anti-apartheid activists. Several papers addressed ways in which imperial powers envisioned the future at the ends of empire, including in relation to France in early nineteenth-century Haiti, the Portuguese in Lusophone Africa, and in terms of British ideas of Commonwealth. A final, fascinating, paper offered a reassessment of Nelson Mandela’s approach to violence, arguing that the South African was an ‘instinctive Clausewitzian’. Despite the sudden arrival of summer, the workshop was well attended, with the audience stretching out of the doors at points!
This was the latest joint venture between historians at King’s and its North American strategic partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and provided an opportunity for colleagues from the two departments to renew and forge acquaintances and to showcase the collaboration to a larger, international audience. It was supported by funds from King’s College’s UNC-King’s Strategic Alliance Fund and the UNC-CH’s King’s College Fund. UNC-CH provided a venue in its London base, Winston House in Bedford Square, for one day of the workshop.
For more information about the UNC-King's strategic alliance, King's Worldwide.