Jeudi 8 avril 2021 à 17 h : Gareth Curless (University of Exeter), “Labour, Decolonization and Class: Re-Making Colonial Workers at the End of the British Empire”
The strikes and labour riots that swept through the empire during the late 1930s are widely regarded as a watershed moment in the history of British imperialism. According to conventional histories, the unrest was a catalyst for a major reorientation of not just colonial labour policy but colonial attitudes towards social and economic development in the empire. Gareth Curless reconsiders this established narrative, using comparative case studies from Singapore, British Guiana and the Gold Coast.
While accepting that colonial states intervened more directly in the social and economic spheres of colonial rule after the late 1930s, Gareth Curless argues that these policies emerged out of pre-existing policies and debates in both London and the colonies, which in some instances can be traced back to the late 19th century; as the civilising mission gave way to the language of modernisation, colonial labour regimes continued to be concerned with the control, regulation and reproduction of African and Asian workers. Curless shows that the power of the colonial state was not absolute, however, considering African and Asian workers who frequently practiced more subterranean or `everyday’ forms of resistance such as absenteeism, industrial sabotage, theft and go-slow protests. He emphasises the role of class and `ordinary’ Africans and Asians, focusing on the emergence of class identity and consciousness as a result of struggles between colonial workers and employers and the state.
Participer à la réunion Zoom :
Lien habituel, disponible auprès de Yann Béliard
Helen Berry (Université de Newcastle), “Problems with philanthropy in eighteenth-century Britain: industry, empire and the fate of London’s foundlings”. Jeudi 18 avril 2019 de 17h30 à 19h. Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e , salle D421
« Helen Berry’s new book Orphans of Empire: the Fate of London’s Foundlings (Oxford: OUP, 2019) tells the story of what happened to the thousands of children who were raised at the London Foundling Hospital, Coram’s brainchild, which opened in 1741 and grew to become the most famous charity in Georgian England. It provides vivid insights into the lives and fortunes of London’s poorest children, from the earliest days of the Foundling Hospital to the mid-Victorian era, when Charles Dickens was moved by his observations of the charity’s work to campaign on behalf of orphans. Through the lives of London’s foundlings, this book provides readers with a street-level insight into the wider global history of a period of monumental change in British history as the nation grew into the world’s leading superpower. Some foundling children were destined for Britain’s ‘outer Empire’ overseas, but many more toiled in the ‘inner Empire’, labouring in the cotton mills and factories of northern England at the dawn of the new industrial age.
Through extensive archival research, Helen Berry uncovers previously untold stories of what happened to former foundlings, including the suffering and small triumphs they experienced as child workers during the upheavals of the Industrial Revolution. Sometimes, using many different fragments of evidence, the voices of the children themselves emerge. Extracts from George King’s autobiography, the only surviving first-hand account written by a Foundling Hospital child born in the eighteenth century, published here for the first time, provide touching insights into how he came to terms with his upbringing. Remarkably he played a part in Trafalgar, one of the most iconic battles in British Naval history. His personal courage and resilience in overcoming the disadvantages of his birth form a lasting testimony to the strength of the human spirit. »
Répondant : Isabelle Robin, Sorbonne Université
Laura Schwartz, de University of Warwick, présentera sa communication “Feminism and the Servant Problem: Class and Domestic Labour in the British Women’s Suffrage Movement” le jeudi 11 avril 2019 de 17h30 à 19h. Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e , salle D421
“In the early twentieth century, more and more women fought for the right to professional employment and political influence outside the home. Yet if liberation from household ‘drudgery’ meant employing another woman to do it, where did this leave domestic servants? Both inspired and frustrated by a growing feminist movement, servants began forming their own trade unions and demanding better conditions and rights at work. Feminism and the Servant Problem is the first ever history of how these militant maids and their mistresses joined forces in the struggle for the vote but also clashed over competing class interests. Laura Schwartz uncovers a forgotten history of domestic worker organising and early feminist thinking on reproductive labour, offering a new perspective on the class politics of the suffrage movement and challenging traditional notions of who made up the British working-class.”
Laura Schwartz is Associate Professor of
Modern British History at the University of Warwick. She has published
widely on the history of British feminism, and is the author of A Serious Endeavour: Gender, Education and Community at St Hugh’s, 1886-2011 (2011), and Infidel Feminism: Secularism, Religion and Women’s Emancipation in England, 1830-1914 (2013).
Discutante : Rebecca Rogers (Paris-Descartes)
Contact : Fabrice Bensimon firstname.lastname@example.org