2013 Decolonization Seminar Details
Eighth International Seminar on Decolonization in the 20th Century
Sunday, July 7 to Saturday, August 3, 2013
Seminar Details and Structure
The National History Center of the American Historical Association is now accepting applications from early-career scholars to participate in the eighth international seminar on decolonization, which will be held for four weeks, from Sunday, July 7, through Saturday, August 3, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
As in the previous seven seminars, fifteen participating historians will engage, along with six seminar leaders, in the common pursuit of knowledge about various dimensions of 20th-century decolonization, primarily in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. The seminar is expected to inspire participants to move the historiography of decolonization in new directions.
The participants are historians—from the United States and other countries—at the beginning of their careers (including advanced PhD candidates) studying various aspects of the process of decolonization. They are selected each year after a worldwide call for applications. The National History Center covers the cost of an economy roundtrip airfare between their workplace or place of normal residence and Washington, D.C. The Center will also arrange and pay for participants’ accommodation in Washington. Each participant receives a stipend for expenses such as meals and local transportation. Participants selected for the seminar commit themselves to actively participating in that seminar for its duration.
Scholars selected for participation who are not U.S. citizens must make their own arrangements to obtain the necessary U.S. visas; the National History Center provides any documentation that may be required.
Aims of the seminar:
- A. Provides an opportunity for historians at the beginning of their careers to interact and exchange ideas with others working in the field of decolonization. Participants bring to the seminar multiple viewpoints and take away new ideas about the topic, knowledge about research methods, and new skills in communicating their ideas to fellow historians and to the public.
- B. Enables the participants to conduct archival research on projects within the overarching theme of decolonization at the Library of Congress, National Archives, and other repositories of historical research materials in Washington, D.C.
- C. Requires participants to produce a draft article or chapter of a book (approximately 6,000 words). The focus will be on developing and improving the participants’ writing skills as the seminar also functions as a writing workshop. Seminar faculty and participants offer comments and critiques on the research, content, style, and argument of the evolving draft papers. The goal is to produce a piece of scholarly writing that meets the rigorous standards demanded by fellow historians yet can be understood by those with no specialized knowledge of the subject. Discussions concentrate on style, argument, and points of historical evidence, including the challenge of making historical writing comprehensible to a broader or general audience.
- D. Offers guidance on teaching and professional development to the participants.
Seminar Faculty Members:
Wm. Roger Louis, noted historian of the British Empire, directs the seminar. Louis holds the Kerr Chair of English History and Culture and is director of the British Studies Program at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of over 30 books on the British Empire, editor-in-chief of the five-volume Oxford History of the British Empire, and author of a collection of essays, Ends of British Imperialism: The Scramble for Empire, Suez and Decolonization. He is also the director of the National History Center.
Dane Kennedy is the Elmer Louis Kayser Professor of History and International Affairs at George Washington University. He is the author of four books on various aspects of the British imperial world in the 19th and 20th centuries, along with articles that address, among other concerns, historiographical and theoretical issues within the field. He was a Guggenheim fellow in 2003-4 and a National Humanities Center fellow in 2011–12. His book about British explorations in Africa and Australia is in press.
Philippa Levine is the Mary Helen Thompson Centennial Professor in the Humanities and co-director of the British Studies Program at the University of Texas at Austin. She taught at the University of Southern California before joining the UT faculty in 2010. She has also taught in her native Britain and in Australia. Her publications include Gender, Labour, War and Empire in Modern Britain: Essays on Modern Britain (co-edited with Susan Grayzel); The British Empire, Sunrise to Sunset; and Gender and Empire in the Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series.
Jason Parker is associate professor of history and Rothrock Faculty Research Fellow at Texas A&M University. His research centers on the interplay of the Cold War and decolonization in U.S. relations with the “Third World.” He is the author of Brother’s Keeper: The United States, Race, and Empire in the British Caribbean, 1937–1962. His current projects are a history of U.S. Cold War public diplomacy in the Third World, and a comparative study of postwar federations in the decolonizing European empires.
Pillarisetti Sudhir is the editor of the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History and Perspectives Online. Sudhir received his PhD in South Asian history from the University of London and has taught in universities in India and in the United States. His interests focus on the British Empire and cultural history as well as computers. He was a coeditor of Interrogating Modernity: Culture and Colonialism in India.
Lori Watt is associate professor of history at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is also associate professor, international and area studies program and is the coordinator for the university’s study abroad program in history. She is the author of When Empire Comes Home: Repatriation and Reintegration in Postwar Japan. A participant in the summer 2008 seminar on decolonization, she has been teaching a course on decolonization in the 20th century.
The Schedule of the Seminar
The four weeks of the seminar are devoted to intensive research, writing, and discussion. The seminar schedule provides time for research in local libraries and archives as well as for the discussion sessions and writing. Seminar meetings take place at the Library of Congress.
During the first week of the seminar, participants discuss their project synopses as well as explore the chronology and key themes of decolonization. Participants tour the Library of Congress and other local archives The second and third weeks are devoted to the elaboration of the research proposals, conducting research, and discussions of the intellectual content as well as the writing style of the evolving drafts. Two public lectures are held during these weeks and guest speakers attend seminar meetings to discuss the issues raised in the lectures. The fourth week of the seminar is given over mostly to writing (and reading) of the final drafts of 6,000-word chapters or articles and their presentations.
Application and Selection Process
The application deadline is Tuesday, November 1, 2012. Applications should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications should include the following:
(a) Cover letter of not more than two pages that includes a brief (not more than 100 words) description of the proposed research project relating to decolonization.
(b) Statement certifying that the applicant is fluent in both written and spoken English. All seminar proceedings and the written work is in English.
(c) A c.v. of not more than two pages.
(d) Research statement of about 1,000 words outlining the project and its goals, and briefly indicating work on the topic already done by the applicant. The statement should have a title that conveys a sense of the project.
(e) Selected bibliography (one to two pages) of works relevant to the project.
(f) List of the major archives or sources in Washington, D.C. the applicant proposes to use during the four weeks, including specific collections, if known, or record groups.
(g) Three letters of recommendation in support of the application, sent directly to the National History Center. The letters should preferably e-mailed to email@example.com and should follow the “Guidelines for Letters of Recommendation”
When preparing their applications, applicants may find it helpful to consult these guides to research resources in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere:
“Research Repositories in Washington, D.C.”
and the American Historical Association’s Archives Wiki
A committee composed of the seminar faculty selects the 15 participants. Participants are notified in January 2013 of their acceptance into the program. Questions about the application process should be addressed to Marian J. Barber, associate director of the National History Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-450-3209.
The series of international seminars on decolonization are supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.