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Embers Of Empire: Towards A World History Of End Of Britain

December 4, 2013


Date: Friday, 6 December 2013

Time: 10.30 am

Venue: British Institute in Eastern Africa, Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa, Nairobi

Abstract: Since the 1970s, writers, historians and journalists have reflected widely on the impending "Break-up of Britain", a theme that has acquired new momentum in the light of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Equally, there has been a tendency to link the crisis of Britishness with the decolonization of the British Empire, as though these two processes were somehow intrinsically linked. But rarely, if ever, is this link established in any coherent or convincing way. These papers offers new perspectives on an old problem by looking at Britishness as the world's first global civic idea, which ran into increasing difficulties after WWII as the credibility of its transnational reach was increasingly called into question by the pressures for global decolonization. By studying the fate of British civic culture around the world, from Africa to Australasia, the Caribbean, South Asia and Canada since the 1950s, we can gain a new purchase on the problems of national cohesion and civic purpose that have erupted periodically in Britain and elsewhere since that time. This seminar focuses on two talks by Prof. Stuart Ward and Christian Damm Pedersen, both historians from Copenhagen University, Denmark. Both speakers are part of a collaborative research project at Copenhagen University on 'Embers of empire: The receding frontiers of post-imperial Britain', funded by the Velux Foundation. For more information on this project please visit:  Seminar by: Professor Stuart Ward & Christian Damm Pedersen, University of Copenhagen Chair: Professor Ambreena Manji, British Institute in Eastern Africa  


Professor Stuart Ward  

"Learning to live in Europe, as mere Europeans: Decolonizing Europe." Professor Stuart Ward specializes in European imperial history and the settler-colonies of the British Empire. He divides his research time between the political and cultural impact of imperialism and decolonization in post-WWII Europe, and the legacies of empire in Britain's former settler colonies. He is currently writing A World History of the End of Britain.

Christian Damm Pedersen

"Learning to live in Africa, as mere Africans: The Eclipse of Britishness in Africa” Christian Damm Pedersen is a doctoral research fellow currently working on Kenya, Rhodesia and Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. His research interests lie in the comparative history of empires with a particular emphasis on African contexts, which he combines with an interest in world history. He is a visiting researcher at BIEA during the fall semester 2013.

Please RSVP for Friday 6th December 2013, 10:30am to let us know if you are coming and if you have guests. For more information please contact or call us on +254 20 815 5186