Call for papers:  Being a colonizer, being a colonized  

The Groupe de recherches sur les ordres coloniaux (GROC) is organising a meeting on colonial history on July the 7th-8th 2022, at the Archives nationales d’Outre-mer. The first of these two days will be devoted to scientific papers and research workshops. The second day will focus on sharing knowledge with a wider audience, with screenings and urban visits.

Call for papers

« Being a colonizer, being a colonized »

Archives nationales d’Outre-mer, 29, Chemin du Moulin de Testas, 13090 Aix-en-Provence, 7 et 8 juillet 2022.

Imperial and colonial history over the last three decades has shown a growing interest in the ‘in-between figures’ of colonisation, the ‘intermediaries’ as well as the ‘capacity to act’ of the colonised, leading to ‘métissages’ and ‘hybridisations’ in colonial contexts1. Half a century after the 1960s’s wave of independence, it was important not to reduce the national histories of territories formerly under colonial domination to this exclusive characteristic. These perspectives have certainly contributed a great deal to the understanding of forms of daily resistance, sometimes described as ‘infra-political’2, of the dominated populations in a colonial situation, as well as to the complex articulation of competing powers, or even to the unequal perception and reception of the colonial presence in different contexts.

However, by focusing mainly on biographical trajectories, individual paths and highly localised interactions, they have also implied a retreat in terms of the conception of power relations and the distribution of different actors’ range of possibilities or general agency. The interest in the forms of autonomy of the colonised has thus led to a form of relativism of domination, leading, for example, to the description of colonisation as a ‘parenthesis’3. In short, the boundaries of colonial domination should be relativised because they were not absolute.

The objective of this meeting will therefore be to reinvestigate the question of domination, linking the study of micro-interactions to their global dispositions. It will thus question the production and renewal of colonial dominations within the interactions between actors. For instance, the notions of hybridization and agency should be reinterpreted in the light of the question of domination, considering them as practices with constrained frameworks. Studies on interactions (embodied by Colonial Studies) and critical perspectives on domination (whether Postcolonial or Critical Race Studies, for example4) tend to remain blind to each other. Yet it is at their crossing that lays the heart of imperial relations of domination, and that are constituted the positions of coloniser and colonised.

Call for papers, less than two pages in length, should be sent before 14 February 2022 to They should briefly summarise the proposed paper, indicating in particular the sources used and the actors mentioned. The event is open to all fields of study, without chronological or geographical exclusions. Proposals should also include a brief biography of the author of the paper. Transport and accommodation will be at the expense of the participants.

1 For example, these notions are at the core of Neil Lazarus, Penser le postcolonial : une introduction critique, Paris, Amsterdam, 2006.
2 Following James C. Scott, La domination et les arts de la resistance : fragments du discours subatlerne, Paris, France, Amsterdam, 2019.
3 Mamadou Diouf, « Sortir de la parenthèse coloniale », Le Débat, 2002, vol. 118, nᵒ 1, p. 59-65.  
4 Emmanuelle Sibeud, « Du postcolonialisme au questionnement postcolonial : pour un transfert critique », Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, janvier 2007, vol. 4, nᵒ 54-4, p. 142-155.