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Republicanism in Action in the British Empire and the Commonwealth: Theories, Practices and Exchanges

Publié le 9 octobre 2023 Mis à jour le 5 février 2024

Workshop 2: Republicanism in the Age of Imperialism (1838-1931)


du 16 février 2024 au 17 février 2024

SOAS, Central building.

Description of the project: general scope and perspectives

This series of workshops in Paris and London aims to explore republicanism in the former British Empire and the Commonwealth and how it has fueled aspirations to independence and played a part in the nation-building process from the American Revolution onward. Scholars have previously theorised the emergence in the early modern era of a republican conception of liberty defined as “non-domination” (Pettit, 1997, Skinner 1998, Kriegel 1998) and distinct from the liberal conception of liberty. Some major studies have evidenced its circulation in the transatlantic space (Pocock 1975) and on the European continent (Skinner and Van Gelderen 2002, Hammersley 2010). But while the impact of republican ideas and practices in early modern revolutions - England (1642-60), Corsica (1729-69), Northern America (1776-1787), France (1789-99), Brabant (1789-90), Haiti (1791-1804) and Latin America (1808-33) - has been widely explored, their manifestations within the British Empire and the Commonwealth beyond the transatlantic space has only just begun to receive attention in a new generation of scholarship (Getachew 2019, Hamilton 2014, Ramgotra 2017, Hazareesingh 2020).
We seek to examine how the concept and language of republican liberty have informed anti-colonial movements, and how the notions of self-determination, popular sovereignty, civic participation translated into various languages and cultures. Another possible angle would be to study propositions for land reform aiming at a more equal distribution of goods within what is conceived as a common-wealth, while sometimes legitimizing the appropriation of lands belonging to indigenous peoples. We are therefore interested in the analysis of various republican corpuses, their sources and reception, as well as the study of intellectual and political networks which favoured the circulation of such principles from one part of the Empire and the Commonwealth to the next.

12-13 June 2023  Workshop 1 - Republicanism in the Age of Revolutions (1776-1838), Campus Condorcet, Paris.
16-17 February 2024  Workshop 2 - Republicanism in the Age of Imperialism (1838-1931), SOAS, London.
October 2024  Workshop 3 - Republicanism in the Age of Decolonisation (1931-2023), Paris Nanterre.

Workshop 2: Republicanism in the Age of Imperialism c.1838 - c.1931

Friday 16 February
15.00-15.30      Welcome

15.30-17.00      Panel 1
Chair:  to be confirmed
Darren REID (McGill) - ‘Settler Freedom under Imperial Despotism: the contradictions of anti-republicanism during Natal’s campaign for self-government, 1875-1893’ (via Zoom)
Pauline COLLOMBIER (Strasbourg) - ‘Home Rule vs. a Republic: The Maoriland Worker and the Irish Crisis of 1910-1916’

17.00-17.30      Break

17.30-19.00      Keynote 1 
Saul DUBOW (Cambridge) - The Republic of South Africa ?
Chair and Discussant: Tim GIBBS (Nanterre) 

19.00-20.00      Reception
20.00-22.00      Conference Dinner
Saturday 17 February
09.00-09.30      Coffee

09.30-11.00      Panel 2
Chair:  Nate GEORGE (SOAS)
Eric GASPARINI (Aix-Marseille) - ‘Irish republicanism through the lens of James Connolly's political ideas’
Banu TURNAOGLU (Sabancı Universityn/Cambridge) - ‘Republicanism of a Young Turk: Liberty, Virtue and Patriotism in Tarsusizade Münif Bey’
Frank RYNNE (CY Cergy Paris) - ‘The origins and effects of Irish Transnational Republican militancy 1848-1886’

11.00-11.30      Coffee

11.30-13.00      Panel 3
Chair:  Bernard CROS (Université Paris-8)
Isaac CRICHLOW (UCL) - ‘“Time & a change of Men & Circumstances can alone remedy the evil of such a neighbourhood”: Jamaica, Slavery and the Black Republic, 1803-1808’
Barbara FRANCHI (University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès) - ‘A Colored America on the Shores of Africa’: Liberia, Success or Failure? The African Republic under (Permanent) Test in the Age of Imperialism (1847-c.1928)

13.00-14.00      Lunch

14.00-15.30      Panel 4
Chair:  Myriam-Isabelle DUCROCQ (Paris Nanterre)
Gareth HALLETT DAVIS (Swansea) - ‘Contingent Republicanism: British North America and Imperial Disillusionment, 1837-1867’
Philip MURPHY (IHR) - ‘Imperial Monarchy in the Shadow of Republicanism: The House of Windsor and the British Empire 1918-1939’

15.30-16.00      Concluding Remarks

Select bibliography

Getachew, Adom, Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-determination, Princeton University Press, 2019.
Getachew, ‘Universalism After the Post-colonial Turn: Interpreting the Haitian Revolution’ Political Theory, 44:6 (2016), 821-845.
Hazareesingh, Sudhir, Toussaint-Louverture, Flammarion, 2020.
Kriegel, Blandine, Philosophie de la république, Plon, 1998.
Petit, Philip, Republicanism : A theory of Freedom and Government, Oxford University Press, 1997.
Pocock, John Greville Agard, The Machiavellian Moment. Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition, Princeton University Press, 1975.
Ramgotra, Manjeet, 'Post-Colonial Republicanism and the Revival of a Paradigm', The Good Society, 26 (1), 2018, 34-54.
Ramgotra, Manjeet, 'India’s Republican Moment: Freedom in Nehru’s Political Thought.' In: Bhatia, Udit, (ed.), The Indian Constituent Assembly: Deliberations on Democracy, Routledge India, 2017, 196-221.
Skinner, Quentin, Liberty before Liberalism, Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Skinner, Quentin, Van Gelderen, Martin (eds.), Republicanism. A Shared European Heritage, Cambridge University Press, 2002, 2 vols.
Vajpeyi, Ananya, Righteous Republic. The Political Foundations of Modern India, Harvard University Press, 2012.
Partenaires :
  • Campus Condorcet
  • Université Paris 8, laboratoire TransCrit
  • Université Paris Nanterre, laboratoire CREA
  • University College London
  • School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • Centre de Recherches en Civilisation britannique

Mis à jour le 05 février 2024