University of London Institute in Paris
9-11 rue de Constantine
Rob Walker once provocatively wrote that ‘Europe Is Not Where It Is Supposed to Be.’ He emphasised that dominant narratives tell us what is Europe and where it is in terms of rigid conceptions of geography and history. Knowing what Europe is and where it is forces us to imagine what’s contained in it. This also shapes our capacity to know what Europe must become and is becoming. Europe is always a somewhere and something. Yet, for Walker, we need ‘to think of Europe as a site of multiple identities/subjectivities, or of networks, or of movements that consistently exceed boundaries trying to contain them.’ Today we ask ‘where is Europe’ by discussing its place in historical imagination. Engin Isin will discuss how Europe shaped the world in its own image. Charlotte Chopin will discuss how Europe was imagined in the colony. Anna-Louise Milne will chair the questions and debate to follow. We hope that this event will raise questions about emplacements of Europe as an imagined continent and how these emplacements shape belongings, identifications, and attachments today.
16:00 - Reading Workshop (for more information and to receive the readings please click here)
18:00 - Lecture and Discussion
19:30 - Drinks Reception
Pages Without Borders: Global Networks and the Settler Press in Algeria, 1881-1914
This paper traces processes of political and cultural identification in the settler press in Algeria at the turn of the twentieth century. These processes, the article argues, extended beyond the triangular dynamics of the settler colonial situation, to be shaped by the wider global networks which sustained the rapid growth of the settler press in this period. Press networks created interimperial connections which allowed Europeans in Algeria to compare themselves to other settler societies across the world, providing points of reference for their own debates about sovereignty. If historic and contemporary examples of rebellion set by Europeans in the USA, the Transvaal, and Cuba proved attractive to journalists who resented the political authority and cultural influence of the French state, they were also perceived as risky in a demographic context of settler diversity and minority. Instead, journalists drew upon their global networks to imagine a transnational model of ‘Latin’ community. Their claims to ‘Latin’ identity expressed a profound ambivalence towards French authority, allowing them to seek protection from the French state without abandoning their mixed European heritage to the assimilative projects of the ‘one and indivisible’ republican regime. While journalists’ promotion of an internally differentiated ‘Latin’ cultural and racial community may have disrupted the ‘register of sameness’ amongst settlers, it ultimately reinforced the exclusion of Algerian Muslims and Jews as agents and subjects of news.
Europeanisation of the World
Europe shaped the world in its own image since at least the fifteenth century. The birth of European empires and their colonial occupations, slavery, and settlement left indelible marks on the world. As generations of scholars studying histories of imperialism, colonialism, and slavery illustrated, European empires managed the ‘Europeanisation of the world’ through various technologies. Amongst these technologies perhaps most insidious yet most visualising one has been cartography – a way of representing the world. I want to raise and discuss some questions about understanding how Europe represented itself as both the centre of the world and at the same time as a contained continent. The centrality and containment became dominant aspects of Europe’s image of itself and in the eyes of the other. Can the performative force of cartography perhaps explain how Europeans came to think of and present ‘themselves’ as righteous travellers and ‘others’ as migrants without rights?