CfP New Perspectives on Anti-Colonialism in the Metropolis

Opening of the 5th Pan-African Congress 1945 in Manchester. © British Library

Date: 17-18 June 2021

Venue: Online

CfP-Deadline: 28 March 2021

The transnational networks of colonialism and increased mobility led to a sharp rise in anti-colonial activism in London and other metropoles in the first half of the twentieth century. A central role can historically be ascribed to activists resisting against imperialism from within, as they played a crucial role in the organization of anticolonial resistance in metropole and colony. They developed strategies and alliances against colonial oppression and racism. For these radical intellectuals and independence activists in exile, European cities offered a productive environment as they were able to pursue their political work in relative freedom compared to their countries of origin, despite censorship, repression and widespread surveillance by local authorities.

This workshop for PhD students and early career researchers aims to examine poignant examples of anti-colonial activism in the European metropolis in the 1930s, the Second World War, and in the immediate post-war period. An emphasis is placed on London, as the melting pot of movements, activists and refugees in political exile. Applicants working on metropoles such as Paris, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin or other cities are also very welcome.

Among others, the workshop will address the following questions:
How have ideas that criticize colonialism developed in European metropoles, regarding national or federal independence, imperial reforms, antiracism and pan-national movements? To what extent can we spatialize the global thinking of anti-colonial movements in the framework of the urban? What were the connections between anti-colonial actors from the global South and the political left of European metropolises? How can we conceive of the Second World War as a catalyst for anti-colonial independence movements in European metropoles?

This workshop will be held digitally via Zoom on 17.-18. June 2021, due to the Coronavirus pandemic and is part of the research project “The London Moment”, funded by the Volkswagen-Stiftung. Proposals for papers should include the title, an abstract of maximum 300 words, and a short CV of the applicant. Please send proposals to by 28. March 2021. Notification of acceptance will be announced shortly after the deadline has passed. Participants are expected to submit a written paper or project description ahead of the workshop in April.

PhD-students from the Global South are particularly encouraged to send in their contributions. For further information and questions please do not hesitate to get in touch at

Link to the CfP on HSozKult:

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