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Archive: Sep 2016

Postcolonial Seas Research Seminar Series


The Centre for Postcolonial Studies is kicking off the new academic year with another ‘Postcolonial Seas’ research seminar. To register please contact catherine.gilbert@kcl.ac.uk.

21 September 2016, 5pm, Senate House, room 243

Silent Sentinels in Seas of Sand: French Fortresses in the Sahara, 1850s to the present day

Dr Berny Sèbe (University of Birmingham)


How can empires expand into seas of sand, which by definition pose significant logistical challenges to any intruding force? How can technology compensate for the relative weakness induced by the conquerors’ limited knowledge of the human and physical geography of openly hostile spaces? From the Romans to the British, these two questions have remained pertinent

The use of fortresses in desert environments, as late modern empires started to come into contact with sparsely populated and arid areas, reflected clearly a strategy of symbolic assertion of sovereignty towards predominantly nomadic populations. At the same time, the practical benefits bestowed by secure strongholds able to shelter troops and supplies from potentially hostile forces were also significant, since they provided invading armies with useful intelligence-gathering bases, from where policing operations could be launched.

Looking at the role of fortresses and fortified outposts in the French expansion in North Africa, this talk explores the pivotal role played –in reality or in the public imagination- by military buildings erected in the vast expanses of the Sahara, from the nineteenth century to the present day.

Dr Berny Sèbe (D. Phil Oxon, FRGS, FRHS, FHEA) is a Senior Lecturer in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of Heroic Imperialists in Africa: The Promotion of British and French Colonial Heroes (1870-1939)(Manchester University Press, 2013 and 2015) and the co-editor of Echoes of Empire: Memory, Identity and Colonial Legacies (IB Tauris, 2015). He is the principal investigator of the ‘Outposts of Conquest’ research project, which has given rise to the Empires of Emptiness circulating exhibition.

Visit Dr Sèbe’s website for more information.

Postcolonial Studies at NTU: Activism, Resistance, Consciousness


By Jenni Ramone

Following the launch of the Centre for Postcolonial Studies in January 2016, we have invited heads of other Postcolonial Studies research institutes, centres and networks to share information about their current research activities and to enter into the debate about the future of the field. Here, Dr Jenni Ramone showcases the activities of the Postcolonial Studies Centre at Nottingham Trent University and the Centre’s commitment to exploring the connections between activism, resistance and consciousness.

My name is Jenni Ramone and I’m Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies at Nottingham Trent University. My research interests include postcolonial and translation theories, reading cultures and the literary marketplace, and I focus in particular on the literature and contexts of South Asia, Cuba, Nigeria, and Black Writing in Britain. I am currently writing a monograph, Postcolonial Literature and the Local Literary Marketplace: Locating the Reader, contracted with Palgrave, which explores instances of reading in postcolonial literature from those four locations, contextualised within their local literary marketplaces.  I co-direct NTU’s Postcolonial Studies Centre with my colleague Dr Anna Ball. The centre was established in 2000 and has been home to a number of prominent conferences as well as the journal, Interventions, which was based at NTU for a number of years. Centre members work in a number of disciplines, including English/Literary Studies, International Relations, Global Studies, Travel Writing, History, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Art, Media, and Creative Writing. The centre is currently very active and I maintain the website and Twitter account for the centre, as well as hosting the current research seminar series.

IMG_9048Filmmaker Perivi Katjavivi screening his post-production film The Unseen.

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