The Impact of Decolonisation on the Making of Post-war Europe

The unravelling of European empires was foundational to the making of the modern world. An old imperial order was swept away, and a new age of nation states rapidly replaced it.

Whilst decolonisation played a fundamental role in the shaping of post-war world, its repercussions for Europe itself, and its legacies in a host of political, social and cultural spheres, are still relatively little examined. This project will examine how the global dynamics of decolonisation had an impact not only on the 'western core' of the continent, but also in state socialist eastern Europe, and in southern Europe, which have been hitherto little considered in this light.

This project will begin will a conference, in collaboration with the Imre Kertész Kolleg at the University of Jena and the Centre for Area Studies at the University of Leipzig, which will be held at Exeter in December 2013. This event will explore, variously, the new ways in which Europeans engaged with the post-colonial world, the reshaping of European identity in the light of decolonisation, its impact in European nations that saw themselves as anti-colonial, its appeal in European radical politics, the writing of 'entangled histories' of the end of Empire, and legacies of decolonisation across the continent. It will be followed by a conference at the Imre Kertész Kolleg on the relations between eastern Europe and the 'global South' in March 2014.

For more information about the December 2013 Postwar Decolonisation conference, please see the History conference page.

This project is led by Professor James Mark.