Trauma of De-colonization Project ~ A Conference and Book Project
Author’s Workshop – Friday, May 5 & Saturday, May 6, 2017
Yale University, New Haven, CT
Ron Eyerman, Yale Sociology
Giuseppe Sciortino, Trento University
Rui Pena Pires, Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology, University Institute of Lisbon
Sung Choi, Bentley College
Akiko Hashimoto, Portland State University
Gert Oostindie, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Pamela Ballinger, University of Michigan
With Generous Support From:
The Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund
European Studies Council at The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center
for International and Area Studies at Yale
Yale Center for Cultural Sociology
Post- Colonial Trauma: A Comparative Study of Return
Our aim with this project is to study and compare the effects of post-colonial migration after World War 2 in six countries, Belgium, Portugal, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Japan. The main concern lies with those who returned to their respective countries as a result of failed colonial projects. We will focus on these countries, whose selection will be explained below, but will make reference to other important European imperial powers, such as Britain, Spain and Germany, as we elaborate the historical context in which postwar decolonization occurred. As with any historical comparative project we hope that individual differences along with international similarities will be uncovered. We will use cultural trauma as our prime theoretical point of reference, while at the same time framing our analysis within European migration studies.
The Context of Decolonization
We will use discussions of decolonization along with the framework of cultural trauma (Alexander, et al 2004; Eyerman, et al. 2013) to uncover and elaborate the levels and layers of this involuntary migration, with focus on its consequences for the individuals and collectivities involved.
In its dictionary definition, decolonization is more or less restricted to the struggle for independence and the liberation from colonial domination. We seek a broader understanding where the term can also incorporate migration flows. Where colonialization has generally involved the flow of people between a home country and its colonies, decolonization involves a reversal, where migration flows only in one direction, from a former colony to the home country. Colonization is often celebrated as a signifier of raised status for a nation; decolonization is entwined with loss and is often encased in trauma.