22-01-2019: ‘The corrupt colony? Empire, colonialism and corruption: 1800-present’

Scandal, corruption, exploitation and abuse of power are related to the history of modern empire-building. In spite of some case-studies and general essays on corruption and imperialism, no entangled analysis exists of empire and corruption. This conference is an attempt to discuss the topic more systematically.

01/14/2019 | 12:38 PM

Introduction on the theme(s) of the conference
Colonial territories often became promised lands where individuals sought to make quick fortunes, sometimes in collaboration with the local population but more often at the expense of them. In some occasions, these shady dealings had repercussions back in the metropolis, questioning civilizing discourses in parliament and the press, and leading to reforms in the colonial administration. An analysis of these debates on empire and corruption can provide us new insights into the history of corruption, the ‘politics of difference’ and the origins of modern legacies, stereotypes and problems in former (colonial) empires. Besides overseas empires such as France, Spain, Great Britain and the Netherlands, the question of how land-based empires – such as Austro-Hungary, Russia and the Ottoman empire – debated colonial corruption will also be discussed. Another aim of this conference is to challenge the nation-state as the customary framework in the study of corruption. Clearly, therefore, better understanding of corruption in an imperial context is of scholarly interest and societal relevance. The conference is open for scholars from different countries and from different strands – history of empire, colonialism, postcolonial studies and the history of corruption. At the conference possibilities for publications and or further activities will be explored.

Ronald Kroeze (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Pol Dalmau (Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz), Frédéric Monier (Université d‘Avignon). This initiative is also supported by the CNRS-funded GDRI-network of European social scientists and historians ‘Politics and corruption: history and sociology’ as well as the research institute CLUE+ of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Place and date of the conference: Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, 22 January 2019

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