Co-operation and Empire

27.-29.06.2013, Tagung, University of Bern / DHI London

In the 1970s, Ronald Robinson challenged the Eurocentric theories of Imperialism by formulating the concept of indigenous collaboration as a formative and continuous factor of Imperialism. However by the 1980s, Imperial History became increasingly regarded as outdated. By the 1990s it appeared to many that Imperial History lost its relevance in the face of the ascendency of postcolonial studies. However, the current prevalent studies that focus on interactions between “colonized” and “colonizers”, and especially on the figure of the “intermediary” or “broker”, are basically concerned with similar issues as addressed by Robinson. Thus, the aim of the conference is to revisit Robinson`s notion of collaboration and complement it with approaches and aspects of global, transnational and postcolonial history. In a comparative and long-term perspective, the concern of the conference is to look more closely at the structures, networks, negotiations, symbolic procedures, patterns of brokerage, and discourses of co-operation within Empires. Of special interest will be different groups of co-operation as well as various spheres of interaction such as administration, economics, science, education, policing, and warfare.