Universiteit Leiden

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Colonialism and the Age of Revolutions (1780-1830)

Wednesday 22 November 2023 - Thursday 23 November 2023
Boerhaave Museum Leiden
Lange Sint Agnietenstraat 10
2312 WC Leiden
Foyer & Conference Room

This conference is part of the NWO VIDI project:
Institutional memory in the making of colonial culture: history, experience and ideas in Dutch colonialism in Asia, 1700 – 1870.

Conference theme

The period 1780-1830 is often perceived as a one of a radical transformation of European and imperial politics. During this conference we question this approach to the so-called Age of Revolutions, by shifting the focus from discussions in the metropole to the colonial localities and from change to continuities.

Bringing together researchers on both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds, it explores how revolutionary concepts intersected with locally-formed colonial cultures and vice versa. What were the interactions between these deeply-rooted colonial cultures and new ideas and ideals about equality? And why could revolutionary ideas – perhaps counterintuitively - lead to new, racialized, social hierarchies and authoritarian structures? At the same time, spanning the colonial realm from Ambon to Curaçao, and from the Cape to Delaware, this conference focuses on how revolutionary ideas and ideals were taken up and reshaped by colonial subjects to rethink their position and resist colonial power.

During this two-day programme, new and ongoing research will be presented on a) colonial resistance and negotiation, b) changes in colonial governance and citizenship, c) notions of colonial legitimacy, d) processes of displacement and exile, e) discussions on how theories and practices about colonial extraction and slavery changed in this period, and f) the complex relationship between religion and empire. As such, this conference analyses the experience of a broad range of colonial actors, ranging from enslaved subjects to high-ranking colonial elites, whose lives were all – in one way or another – touched by the Age of Revolutions.

Please find the detailed conference programme here


To register for the conference, please send an email to Philip Post: p.g.post@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

(Research) Master students of Colonial and Global History are also very welcome to attend.

Pattimura’s revolution: violent encounter on the Moluccas in 1817. By Q.M.R. Ver Huell. Collection Museum Arnhem.
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