Online Workshop: New Perspectives on Displaced Colonial Archives

Online Workshop: New Perspectives on Displaced Colonial Archives

Tim Livsey, Northumbria University, UK; Shohei Sato, Waseda University, Japan
United Kingdom
Takes place
From - Until
11.09.2024 - 12.09.2024
Connections Redaktion, Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics, Universität Leipzig

This online workshop, to be held on 11-12 September 2024, seeks to facilitate inclusive discussion of new perspectives on displaced colonial archives.

Online Workshop: New Perspectives on Displaced Colonial Archives

Recent years have seen a proliferation of research about displaced colonial archives. Thanks to pioneering work by archive studies specialists, historians, and others, we have a deepening knowledge of the ways that declining empires sorted, destroyed, and removed archives during the twentieth century. This research has addressed profound concerns about how colonial – and decolonial – projects have shaped the world we live in. The interest in displaced colonial archives extends well beyond academia, and is being addressed as well in journalism, novels, and other media.

Yet the study of displaced colonial archives remains a relatively new field. Given the vast scale of the displacement of archives across multiple empires and territories, the scope for future research is huge. There is enormous potential for comparative and connected histories of the displacement of colonial archives within and between empires, including the Belgian, British, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish empires. While some parts of displaced colonial archives have now been quite intensively studied, much of this material remains under-used by researchers. We urgently need to know more about resistance to the removal of records, including efforts to contest and recover displaced archives. The strong recent interest in histories of knowledge and ignorance promises new theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of displaced colonial archives. We also need to consider how new research about these archives might reinvigorate our broader understandings of how colonial empires ended, and the incompleteness of these endings.

This online workshop, to be held on 11-12 September 2024, seeks to facilitate inclusive discussion of new perspectives on displaced colonial archives. We would welcome papers on topics including, but not limited to:
- Conceptualising and naming displaced colonial archives: what should we call these collections? Stolen? Migrated? Removed?
- Contexts, policies, and practices: how and why were archives sorted, destroyed, and removed?
- Comparisons and connections: how do histories of displaced colonial archives compare within and between empires?
- Secrecy and knowledge: how significant and successful were efforts to conceal the removal and destruction of archives? Who knew what was happening?
- Content: to what extent have displaced colonial archives contained information unavailable from other sources, and facilitated new historical interpretations?
- Resistance: how has the destruction and removal of archives been contested?
- Legal dimensions: who owns displaced colonial archives? What efforts have been made to regulate the succession of state archives?
- Implications: how does recent research on displaced colonial archives contribute to our broader understanding of the ends of empire?
- Social and cultural responses: how have displaced colonial archives stimulated popular reinterpretations of history and contemporary societies?
- Knowledge production now: in what ways are displaced colonial archives accessible and inaccessible today?
- Futures: what are the possibilities and problems of digitising displaced colonial archives? What are the prospects for restitution?

To contribute, please submit an abstract of up to 500 words plus a short CV (2 pages maximum) to by Friday 24th May 2024.

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