In the last three decades, the place of Europe and the 'West' in global historiography has been fundamentally redefined: most importantly, a growing number of accounts by non-Western scholars has questioned Western historiography by arguing that Europe's global rise occurred much later and was more uneven than previously assumed, and that Europe was and remains only one of several global centres. Moreover, these critiques have also helped to rethink the intellectual foundations of the Enlightenment itself as a “co-production” of thinkers from all world regions and especially from colonised regions. However, anti-colonial intellectuals such as Poma de Ayala (Inca Empire), Kandiaronk (Petun/North America), Jean Louis Vastey (Haiti), José Rizal (Philippines) or Edward Wilmot Blyden (Liberia), have so far hardly gained any visibility in European historiography, and even less in school curricula.
With this commented anthology of primary texts, we seek to contribute to the above mentioned turning points in global historiography. We invite historians to identify anti-colonial primary texts and to propose commentaries. These primary texts should preferably come from authors who were themselves, in one way or another, confronted with practices of colonisation. In particular, we are looking for accounts by intellectuals, politicians and others that not only document colonial exploitation but also criticise the practices, institutions, and ideas of colonialism. In addition, we encourage the presentation of cases of colonisation at close range, e.g. within the geographical area of 'Europe'. Based on the current state of research, we propose a broad understanding of colonialism defined as the coercive incorporation into an expansionist state that involves not only physical violence but also ideological and administrative consolidation of rule.
We plan to divide the reader into two volumes, the first of which is scheduled for publication in spring 2024 and will only take up primary texts that were written up to the end of WWI. The second volume will cover the period after WWI. The deadline for the second volume is not yet defined.
The anthology will be published in German (Mandelbaum) and English (ongoing negotiations) in cooperation with the Austrian thinktank “Mattersburger Kreis für Entwicklungspolitik”. Depending on the type of the source, the number of characters can vary greatly, but we would ask for a maximum of 30,000 characters for primary texts and of 20,000 characters for commentaries. The primary texts should also be usable in university teaching without the commentaries, which means that we can only accept texts and text passages from one source or document. The commentaries can be made in two forms: either a contribution by a single author or a commentary in the form of a dialogue between two researchers.
As a first step, we kindly ask for an email indicating the name of the selected primary text and its availability (e.g. archives). The deadline for these indications is March 15, 2023. We are planning a zoom meeting with all potential contributors for early April. The deadline for the submission of the primary texts is July 1, 2023, the one for commentaries is October 1, 2023. English and French primary texts and commentaries can be translated by the editors – other translations should be taken care of by the contributors themselves.
We particularly invite colleagues from the formerly colonised regions and countries in question to participate in the project.
Propositions and any general inquiries can be sent to the editors at: