A growing number of scholars are interested in colonial and postcolonial relations in societies without (former) colonies. They study “colonialism from the margins” by investigating the colonial entanglements of, for example, Switzerland or Denmark, and thus help to develop a general approach on shared histories. This insight that colonialism should not be simply equated with colonial rule opens up multiple areas of cultural and social science research including research on economic and political involvement, on the Christian mission and so forth.
While this new field encompasses research on a variety of social actors, studies on immigrants from (former) colonies to countries without colonies are still largely missing. Migration research concentrates on migration to the metropoles, e.g. from Northern Africa to France, including studies on those who, in the wake of decolonization, moved “back home” like pieds noirs and retornados.
The panel proposes to comparatively approach the non-metropole migration as a particular mode of colonial and postcolonial entanglement on the margins. It starts from the assumption that it is important to see these mobility phenomena and the ensuing social developments as being related to longstanding and encompassing processes of colonial and postcolonial mobilities and relationships. By inviting contributions on (post)colonial migrant groups in various non-metropolitan places, the panel strives to reflect the multifariousness of these historical connections and thereby put the appropriateness of categorical distinctions such as labor migration/colonial migration, South-North migration/inner-European migration into question – categorizations that form the basis of current political discourses and migration politics.