Peo Hansen, Professor of Political Science, REMESO, Linköping University & Stefan Jonsson, Professor of Ethnic studies, REMESO, Linköping University

Eurafrica: The Untold History of European Integration and Colonialism

Today’s European Union was founded in a 1950s marked by its member states’ involvement in numerous colonial conflicts and with the colonial question firmly entrenched on the European and international agenda. This notwithstanding, there is hardly any scholarly investigations to date that have examined colonialism’s bearing on the historical project and process of European integration. In tackling this puzzle, the presentation proceeds in two steps. First, it corroborates the claim that European integration not only is related to the history of colonialism but to no little extent determined by it. Second, it introduces a set of factors that explain why the relation between the EU and colonialism has been systematically neglected. Here the presentation seeks to identify the operations of a colonial epistemology that has facilitated a misrecognition of what postwar European integration was about. As will be argued, this epistemology has enabled colonialism’s historical relation to the European integration project to remain undetected and has thus also reproduced within the present EU precisely those colonial or neo-colonial preconceptions that the European partner states, in official discourse and policy, falsely claim that they have abandoned.

Peo Hansen and Stefan Jonsson are both Professors at the Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO), Linköping University. Their book Eurafrica: The Untold History of European Integration and Colonialism was published with Bloomsbury last year.

Find out more about the Migration cluster at the Department of Social Anthropology.

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