06.12.2023 : Speaker series – Russell Foster

On Wednesday December 6, join Russell Foster (King’s College London) for a lecture as part of our speaker series in partnership with CÉRIUM, entitled: Empire Rejected? ‘Global Britain’ beyond Brexit. The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Université de Montréal, Pavillon 3744 rue Jean-Brillant, Room 580-32, 5th floor.

Abstract : The British Empire occupies an unclear role in British collective consciousness, with a limited consensus of historians arguing that barring a brief period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the Empire was largely ignored by the British population and absent from public discourse. However since Brexit, the Empire is a much larger element of popular discourse. Partly this is due to a resurgence, across Europe and the wider Western world, of calls for former colonial regimes to face up to their imperial pasts. Partly, and perhaps uniquely to the British, this is due to Brexit and post-2016 anxieties and ambitions surrounding Britain’s future. This paper examines fraught debates on the nature and legacy of the British Empire, “Empire 2.0”, and a new “Imperial Gothic”, to illustrate how the Empire has become a site of projection for contemporary fears around isolationism, decline, and Britain’s future role in an increasingly changing world.

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