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The Decolonial Project of Europe: From Colonial Histories to Postcolonial Reparations
Europe’s past is an imperial and colonial past. Often presenting itself as a cosmopolitan continent of nations, it is, in fact, one of national projects buttressed by colonial endeavours. Endeavours in which populations from across the European continent have participated. There is a failure within standard social science to acknowledge long-standing colonial connections and the ways in which they were both organised along lines of domination and oppression and hierarchically constructed. This is particularly the case in terms of thinking about the ways in which race comes to define, and to provide the justification for, the hierarchies and inequalities created through colonialism and which continue to structure both academic and public debates today. Such issues are also central to questions of legitimacy and related fears of 'white replacement' that are currently gaining traction in Europe, not just on the right, but also from figures ostensibly associated with the left.
This talk sets out the ‘varieties of colonialism’ at the heart of the European project and asks what a decolonial project of Europe would look like. I argue it would be one that makes the colonial histories of Europe central to our understandings of its present and which seeks redress of the injustices associated with that history through postcolonial reparative action.
Please book your place below to join this webinar via Zoom.
Gurminder K Bhambra is Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies in the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex and is a Fellow of the British Academy. She is author of Connected Sociologies (Bloomsbury, 2014) and the award-winning Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination (Palgrave, 2007). She has co-edited a volume on Decolonising the University (Pluto Press, 2018) and has spoken regularly on the crisis for refugees in Europe and on questions of citizenship in the light of Brexit.
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