Dr. Volker Barth, Dr. Roland Cvetkovski (Department of History, University of Cologne)
For several decades empires have been a central topic of international research ; the attempts to grasp both the unique character of every single
empire and their functional similarities are legion. Most studies are
concerned and struggle with a comprehensive definition of exercising
imperial power. After all, the term *empire* does not only refer to the
formation of hierarchical power structures but also comprises the coexistence of different practices and specific regimes of imperial rule.
However, this coexistence of separate imperial formations was also
significantly characterized by cooperation, inasmuch as for example
scientific conferences, diplomatic relations and other forms of exchanging
colonial practices represented fields of mutual willingness to learn from
In addressing interimperial encounters as well as the different processing
and materializations originating in these interactions, the conference
focuses on the origins, circulation and manifestations of concepts of *
empire*. We are interested in the various definitions *empire* had for
leading imperial protagonists and how they accordingly conceived their
specific imperial self-descriptions. Therefore the conference will
highlight historical trajectories in tracing the ways ideas of *empire* originated in imperial contact zones and follow them to their
materializations and implementations within specific political, social and
cultural frameworks. Encounters of empires allow to investigate three major
problems and repeatedly described desiderata in current empire studies :
Firstly, interimperial fields of action quite obviously define spaces of
cooperation between competing entities. Recent research hints more and more frequently at transimperial alliances. A mainly historical focus on
interimperial encounters allows to probe the paradigm of transnationality
on the scale of empires. What dynamics and which processes were exactly at
work when empires not only observed but interacted with each other ? What
genuine discourses did encounters between empires actually provoke ? How
can one distinguish interimperial collaborations from global entanglements ?
This leads, secondly, to a different perspective on imperiality. For quite
some time global history studies repeatedly tried to conceptualize the
essential constitution of empires in order to enable systematic comparisons. In establishing general criteria of ideal-typed empires one risks to assume that contemporaries equally disposed of a clear-cut notion of imperial power relations. Instead, reconstructing cross-border connections between imperial protagonists helps to explain how widely accepted and applied tools of empires were continuously established and re-established in day-to-day practice. Additionally, within interimperial cooperation chosen experts could invent and practice a set of imperial rhetoric in order to communicate imperial values to colonizers and colonized. To what extent did interimperial fields of action produce a common understanding of imperiality ? How constitutive were power relations defined not only through competition but also through cooperation for the self-description of single empires ? And who actually took up this rhetoric, in which contexts were they adopted, by which media were they disseminated and, eventually, how where they processed ?
Finally, focusing on specific fields of imperial rule and their definitions as well as delimitations through interimperial exchanges helps explicate the elaboration of analytical tools of governance which were soon to
characterize imperialism as such.
Possible conference topics include examples of globally applicable
colonial : concepts such as Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s *A View of the Art of
Colonization* (1849) as well as colonial manuals such as Max Beneke’s
*Die Ausbildung der Kolonialbeamten* (1894) written in direct comparison to
other imperial powers. Of further interest are all forms of knowledge
production, their interimperial transfers and manifestations in
specialized areas and disciplines like colonial medicine or the cultivation of
tropical plants. Papers on the institutionalization of interimperial cooperation
like the *Institut colonial international* (Brussels 1894) are also highly
welcomed. In order to provide a first systematic overview of interimperial
transfers and imperial manifestations engendered by the encounters of
empires we suggest to focus on the following topics :
The conference will take place in Cologne from January 16th to January
18th2013 and is co-organized by *Morphomata Center for Advanced Studies* http://www.ik-morphomata.uni-koeln.... at the University of Cologne. An initial evening lecture will be followed by two days with 3-4 panels each including a comment. The publication of the conference proceedings is foreseen.
Abstracts of approximately 500 words and a short CV should be submitted by May 31st, 2012. Please direct submissions and questions to Volker Barth volker.barth chez uni-koeln.de, Roland Cvetkovski roland.cvetkovski chez uni-koeln.de and to the co-organizer on behalf of Morphomata Larissa Förster larissa.foerster[atuni-koeln.de]
Page créée le mardi 13 mars 2012, par Dominique Taurisson-Mouret.