CFP: Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914

By the time the First World War erupted in 1914, most inhabitants of the globe resided within an empire, either as citizens of a colonizing power or as subjects of colonial rule. The preceding “long nineteenth century” had witnessed the rise of various empires with significant overseas colonial possessions—such as Britain, France, the Dutch Republic (subsequently the Kingdom of the Netherlands), and Meiji Japan—to coexist alongside imperial powers contained within contiguous land masses, including the Ottoman, Russian, and Qing empires.

For its first world congress to be held in Singapore from 19 to 22 June 2023, the Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies is pleased to invite proposals on the theme of “Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914.” We welcome proposals for papers and panels that consider forms of interimperial exchanges between empires during this period. Topics may include (but are not limited to):

• trading, manufacturing, and financial activities between and across empires
• comparative literary undergrounds
• anticolonial aesthetics
• enslavement, exile, displacement, and forced or unforced migration
• microhistorical and biographical comparisons of the experience of empire
• frontiers, borderlands, boundaries
• forms of diplomacy (embassies, consulates, treaties, accords), modes of foreign relations (bilateral, multilateral)
• oceanic and overland journeys, travel, tourism
• comparative figures of empire (portraiture, sculpture, decorative objects)
• cultures of exploration (botanical, missionary, statistical, cartographic)
• historiographies of empire
• explanations for empire: economic, geopolitical, cultural, institutional
• conceptualizations of empire (the what, how, and why of empire) as well as conceptual terminology (transimperialism, postcolonialism, and so on)
• colonial propaganda
• cross-cultural literary texts, theories, and practices as well as comparative realisms, epic, comics/illustrations, etc.
• competition over colonial possessions (wars, conflicts, scrambles) and over expansionist strategies
• continuities and differences among empires across the long nineteenth century
• evidencing empire (photography, oral history, documentation, archives)
• imperial networking and networks
• literary traffic, circulations, contacts outside the centre–periphery model
• cultural traffic between imperial powers and colonies
• movements of animals, objects, ideas, and knowledge across empires
• responses to the global spread of disease (sharing of medical knowledge, differing forms of treatment)
• the language(s) of empire and linguistic homogenization and differentiation
• Colonial music institutions, intercultural theater collaborations and performances
• religion and colonialism
• the politics of empire and the practices of anthropology

Although individual paper and panel proposals that confine themselves to the study of a single empire will be considered, we are especially interested in work that encompasses more than one imperial power.

Workshops include, among others:

Leah Lui-Chivizhe (University of Technology, Sydney), “Decolonising Museum Collections? What’s In It for Origin Communities?”

Donna Brunero (National University of Singapore), “Empire and Imperial Identity: Royal Tours and Pageantry in the Long Nineteenth Century”

Joshua L. Reid (University of Washington), “The Indigenous Pacific in the Age of Colonialism”

To learn more about the conference or to submit a proposal, please visit the 2023 Congress website:


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