The manner in which empire is remembered, forgotten or imaginatively reconstructed plays a key role in forging national identity in many countries in the twenty-first century; it also, arguably, shapes how they imagine their future role on the global stage. The issue of how Britain engages with its imperial past, for example, has recently come to the fore through debates about how imperial and BAME history should be taught at schools, whether contentious imperial actors should be publicly commemorated, and through questions about the provenance of many museum collections. At the same time, citizens of its former empire in postcolonial nations have pressed the need for Britain to come to terms with its colonial legacies.
Within postcolonial states, moreover, the issue of who is forgotten or remembered as participating in anti-imperial struggles is itself contentious, with some commentators arguing that nationalist political elites have shaped the story of anti-colonial struggles to aggrandize their own roles at the expense of other subaltern actors.
The conference will seek to tackle these themes head on. We encourage applications from scholars at all career stages who engage with questions that include (but are not limited to):
• What are the debates in postcolonial nations about how their anti-imperial struggles are remembered and commemorated?
• How should educators around the world represent/present empire to the public, in schools and universities?
• How has the engagement of nations with their imperial past helped to define their identity in the twenty-first century?
• What roles do museums play in shaping how we see, understand and engage with imperial pasts?
• How might museums and heritage sites such as historic houses engage with their own imperial legacies?
• What challenges face scholars working on the public history of ancient empire?
We invite individual 20-minute papers, or panels of 3 papers. Skype panels are also welcome. Abstracts should not exceed 250 words, and should be accompanied by a short CV and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 9 September 2019. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 27 September 2019
Bursaries: A limited number of bursaries of £300, covering the conference fee, travel, and accommodation, are available for postgraduate, ECR (within three years of PhD), and museum practitioners who are delivering a paper but not in receipt of institutional support. Anyone seeking to avail of this should indicate when emailing their abstract.
Further information is available here: https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforPublicHistory/Events/UpcomingEvents/CONFERENCE-REFRAMINGEMPIRE.html