School of Advanced Study, Senate House

London 21-22 June 2018

The Global Decolonization Workshop (GDW) is a new collaboration between the School of Advanced Study (University of London) and New York University.  It seeks to forge a global forum for knowledge exchange in the interdisciplinary field of decolonization studies. 

This series was launched at the University of London in Paris (ULIP) in July 2017 with a workshop exploring the ‘Concepts and Connections’ associated with the fields of decolonization and postcolonial studies. The series will be continuing with a second workshop, this time in London, which will take as its theme ‘The Invention and Reinvention of Decolonization’. 

Was ‘decolonization’ a European invention designed to ease the ‘White Man’s Burden’ and pave the way for a neo-colonial system of extraction and dependency?  Was it a Latin American invention intended to undo ‘the colonial system?’  Or was it an Indian, French Algerian or Caribbean invention? Or all the above?  Is the received ‘wave’ narrative (first, second, third, fourth waves) currently used to tell the global history of decolonization still adequate? Or would notions such as ‘invention’ and ‘reinvention’ be more useful? 

Papers that address any of the following are sought:

• When, where and how was the concept and act of ‘decolonization’ invented or reinvented?

• The circulation and deployment of concepts or cognate concepts of decolonization and independence across linguistic and imperial spheres

• The invention and reinvention of the concepts or cognate concepts of ‘colonialism’ and ‘anti-colonialism’

• Assessments and critiques of the ‘waves’ narrative of decolonization

• Case studies that clearly engage with any of the above

Please submit a 200-word abstract, paper title, and one-page biographical notecopied jointly to Professor Philip Murphy ( and Professor Mark Thurner ( by Friday 16 February 2018.