Centre for Imperial and Post Colonial Studies

India, transfer of power

The seven leaders accept the plan for the transfer of power, 3 June 1947. Image courtesy of the Broadlands archive

India, transfer of power


The Centre for Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies (CIPCS) was founded in 2006 to bring together a wide range of research interests from staff in History and other disciplines in Humanities at the University of Southampton. It provides a multi and increasingly inter-disciplinary research culture for academics and postgraduates working in the fields of Anglophone and non-Anglophone imperial and post-colonial studies. The Centre hosts research seminars, workshops and conferences as well as providing specialist expertise in postgraduate teaching and supervision.


The Centre benefits from the Special Collections in the Hartley Library. The Library is home to the papers of the Duke of Wellington, Lord Palmerston (including the journals of Lord Shaftesbury) and Earl Mountbatten. It also contains a comprehensive run of British Parliamentary Papers. These archival materials, together with the Oates collection of books and ephemera relating to slavery in the Caribbean, provide a unique resource for research around themes in colonial history relating to decolonization, migration, diaspora, identities, and diplomatic history.


The centre was formally launched in July 2007 with a major international conference on the theme ‘The Independence of India and Pakistan: Sixtieth Anniversary Reflections.'

Forthcoming Events

On 23-25 April 2014, the Centre will be hosting a conference entitled ‘Towards the Ends of the Earth: Exploring the Global History of American Evangelicalism, 1840-2010'. The conference is co-organized with the David Bruce Centre for American Studies (Keele University), the Institute for North American Studies (KCL) and the Roosevelt Study Center, Middelburg, the Netherlands. A provisional programme is available on the right. Speakers include Axel Schafer (Keele), David Swartz (Asbury University), and Markku Ruotsila (University of Helsinki). You can register for the conference here  


The conference keynote, entitled ‘The Global Conscience of American Evangelicalism: Humanitarianism and Social Concern in the 1970s and Beyond,' will be delivered by Professor Melani McAlister (George Washington University). A reduced rate is available for six postgraduate students on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply for this reduced rate, or for further information about the conference, contact Professor Kendrick Oliver at ko@soton.ac.uk.

In collaboration with the Faculty of Humanities, the Centre will be hosting a summer school on the topic of ‘War and Resistance' on 25 and 26 June 2014, marking the centenary of the start of the First World War. The summer school is targeted at sixth-form students and will combine academic sessions focusing upon the home and imperial fronts during the conflict with an advice panel on ‘University Life and Admissions'. There is no charge for this programme, but participants would need to bring a packed lunch or money for use in the campus cafe. Please contact Sarah Shawyer (ss1705@southampton.ac.uk) for further information.

On 16 September 2014, the Centre will be hosting a network event for imperial and post-colonial history from the AHRC South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnerships.  Admission is free, but those wishing to attend should register for a place at http://go.soton.ac.uk/5th. A sandwich lunch will be provided. A programme for the event will be available shortly.

On Wednesday 15 October 2014, the Centre is pleased to present ‘Thomas Glave: An Evening of Readings and Conversation'. Thomas Glave is an O. Henry Award-winning author whose books include Whose ong? And Other Stories, Words to Our Now: Imagination and Dissent, The Torturer's Wife and Among the Bloodpeople: Politics and Flesh. He is also the editor of the anthology Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles. Glave is a Professor of English at the State University of New York in Binghamton. He will be in conversation with Professor Stephen Morton (English) and Dr. Christer Petley (History). 

Recent News

Dr. Priti Mishra was awarded one of six Fung Global Fellowships at the University of Princeton 2013-14. She will be working on the broad theme of the intersection of language and authority and finishing her book manuscript, Vernacular Homeland: Language and Territory in Colonial Eastern India, which explores the myriad labours performed by Indian regional vernaculars in the making of the Indian nation.

On 5 June 2013, the Centre for Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies and the Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research held a special joint seminar featuring a paper by Professor Suzanne Marchand (Louisiana State University) on the subject of ‘Appreciating the Art of Others: Josef Strzygowski and the Origins of Anti-Imperial Art History'.

Members of the History Department at Southampton participated in 'Jews, Colonialism and Postcolonialism,' a conference held at the University of Cape Town, 8-10 April 2013. The conference was jointly organised by the Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research (University of Cape Town), the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations (University of Southampton), and the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies (University of Sydney).
The Fifth Wellington Congress was held at the University of Southampton on 5-7 April 2013. Keynote speakers included Rory Muir, Emma Clery and Chris Woolgar.

On 19 February 2013, the Centre hosted a seminar on ‘Museums and Empire,' to mark the publication of Curating Empire: Museums and the British Imperial Experience, ed. Sarah Longair and John McAleer (Manchester University Press). Sarah Longair (British Museum) and John McAleer (Southampton) introduced their book, followed by comments from Edward Chaney, Stephanie Jones, Stephanie Moser and Chris Prior and general discussion from an audience of over 60 people. An audio recording of the talk by Sarah Longair and John McAleer can be accessed via the link on the right.

On 30 November 2013, the Centre hosted a one-day workshop entitled ‘‘Crossroads of Empire': Latin America, the South Atlantic and the British Empire in the long nineteenth century'. Scholars increasingly acknowledge the profound connections that existed between Europe and South America in the nineteenth century: economically, culturally, and politically. This workshop explored the various ways in which colonies and newly independent states in this Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking region, as well as its contiguous maritime spaces, interacted with Britain and its global empire in the long nineteenth century. Speakers included Matthew Brown (University of Bristol), Helen Cowie (University of York), Mark Thumer (University of Florida) and Trevor Boyns (Cardiff University).


Scholars associated with the centre include:

Professor David Brown (History)
Research interests include British political history of the nineteenth century, focusing in particular upon the life and career of Lord Palmerston, British foreign policy and the politics of social reform. Author of Palmerston: A Biography (2010).
Email: d.s.brown@soton.ac.uk

Dr Ilyas Chattha (Honorary Research Fellow, History)
Author of Partition and Locality: Violence, Migration, and Development in Gujranwala and Sialkot 1947-1961 (2011).

Dr Claire Eldridge (French)
Research interests include colonial and postcolonial French history and memory, particularly the relationships between empire, migration, and memory - focusing on the cultural and commemorative legacies of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62) within the pied-noir and harki communities. Author of ‘Remembering the Other: postcolonial perspectives on interfaith interaction between Jews and Muslims in French Algeria', Modern Jewish Studies, 11.3 (November 2012).
Email: c.eldridge@soton.ac.uk

Dr Stephanie Jones (English)
Research interests include literary and legal narratives of the Indian Ocean, law and literature; East African literatures, literatures of the South Asian diaspora and postcolonial theory. Author of ‘Literature, geography, law: the life and adventures of Captain John Avery (circa 1709),' Cultural Geographies, 19, (1) (2012).
Email: s.j.jones@soton.ac.uk

Dr John McAleer (History)
Research interests include (1) the relationships, interactions and patterns of exchange created by the British Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly in the Indian Ocean world, and the impact of these experiences on both British and colonial societies; (2) museums and the representation of empire. Author of Representing Africa: landscape, exploration and empire in southern Africa, 1780-1870 (2010).
Email: j.mcaleer@soton.ac.uk

Dr Jane McDermid (History)
Research interests include 18th and 19th century British women's history, including women in the Empire. Author of ‘Home and away: a Scottish schoolmistress in colonial Australia and lowland Scotland in the second half of the nineteenth century,' History of Education Quarterly, 51, (1), (2011).
Email: j.mcdermid@soton.ac.uk

Dr Pritipuspa Mishra (Research Fellow, History)
Research interests include language politics in India, focused particularly on the creation of Orissa Province, 1866-1936. Author of: ‘Beyond powerlessness: institutional life of the vernacular in the making of Modern Orissa (1866-1931),' The Indian Economic and Social History Review, 48, (4) (2001).
Email: priti.mishra@soton.ac.uk

Dr James Morgan (Independent Scholar, Centre Associate)
‘Research interests include the historiography of American imperialism. Author of Into new territory: the emergence of the idea of US imperialism (forthcoming 2014).
Email: jgmorgan100@yahoo.co.uk

Professor Stephen Morton (English)
Research interests include Anglophone literatures from Canada, South Asia and the Caribbean, postcolonial theory, critical theory, poetics and politics, visual culture and globalisation. Editor of (with Elleke Boehmer) Terror and the postcolonial: a concise companion (2009); author of ‘Fictions of sedition and the framing of Indian revolutionaries in colonial India,' Journal of Commonwealth Literature (2012).
Email: s.c.morton@soton.ac.uk

Professor Kendrick Oliver. Director of Centre (History)
Research interests include the Vietnam War; the global history of American evangelicalism; the history of spaceflight; and the history of cosmology . Author of The My Lai massacre in American history and memory (2006) and To touch the face of God: the sacred, the profane and the American space program 1957-1975 (2013).
Email: ko@soton.ac.uk

Dr Christer Petley (History)
Research interests include the history of colonial settlers and slaveholders, particularly the social and cultural history of the Jamaican planter class. Author of Slaveholders in Jamaica: colonial society and culture during the era of abolition (2009).
Email: c.petley@soton.ac.uk

Dr Ranka Primorac (English)
Research interests include African literatures and cultures (with emphasis on Southern Africa), narrative constructions of space-time, the social functioning of literary fictions, city cultures and texts, new cosmopolitanisms. Author of The Place of Tears: The Novel and Politics in Modern Zimbabwe, (2006).
Email: rprimorac@soton.ac.uk

Dr Chris Prior (History)
Research interests include the British empire in Africa. Author of Exporting Empire: Africa, colonial officials and the construction of the British imperial state, c.1900-1939 (2012).
Email: c.prior@soton.ac.uk

Dr Sujala Singh (English)
Research interests include communalism and Indian partition in literature; children in South Asian literature; terrorism and Indian cinema; literatures of the British diaspora. Author of ‘Postcolonial children: representing the nation in Arundhati Roy, Bapsi Sidhwa and Shyam Selvadurai,' Wasafiri, 41, (2004).
Email: s.singh@soton.ac.uk

Professor Adrian Smith (History)
Research interests include sport, cinema and the British empire, Lord Mountbatten and modern biography. Author of Mountbatten: apprentice war lord (2010).
Email: as5@southampton.ac.uk

Professor Ian Talbot (History)
Research interests include colonial Punjab, the partition of India and the emergence of Pakistan; refugee resettlement following the partition; the political history of post-Independence Pakistan; religion and violence in South Asia. Author of Pakistan: a new history (2004).
Email: iat@soton.ac.uk

Dr Carl Watts (Honorary Fellow, History)
Research interests: (1) British decolonisation in Africa, especially the Central African Federation and Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence; (2) US foreign policy since 1945, especially towards southern Africa; (3) The Origins of the Falklands War. Author of Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence: an international history (2012).
Email: c.watts@soton.ac.uk Web: http://soton.academia.edu/CarlWatts

Professor Chris Woolgar
Research interests include the history of food, archives and the Duke of Wellington. Editor of Wellington Studies IV (2008).
Email: c.w.woolgar@soton.ac.uk