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FRIAS Reflections - Jürgen Osterhammel

Jürgen Osterhammel
University of Freiburg

What is a "colony"?
When Mar 17, 2021
from 03:00 PM to 03:30 PM
Where Zoom-Meeting
Contact Name
Attendees Universitätsoffen/ open to university members
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 What Is a "Colony"?


The debates for and against "postcolonial studies" – or, increasingly, "postcolonialism" as an activist movement – have strangely bypassed historical colonialism, a field of study that existed long before the rise of postcolonial studies in the 1980s. Does postcolonialism offer an analytically useful approach to colonialism? Moreover, does it give us an idea of what a "colony" was like? Preparing an up-dated edition of an old book of mine (Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview, 1997, German original 1995), I suggest to revisit the issue in the light of two recent publications: (a) the first-ever history of colonialism based on strictly postcolonial premises (Kris Manjapra, Colonialism in Global Perspective, Cambridge 2020), and (b) a document, issued a few weeks ago, that is bound to have considerable practical consequences: the third edition of Guidelines for German Museums: Care of Collections from Colonial Contexts. When we talk of "colonial contexts" – do we still need the concept of "a colony"?