Colloque - Practices of Order : Colonial and Imperial Projects (Copenhague)

Practices of Order : Colonial and Imperial Projects

With this conference we wish to explore practices developed by colonial states and empires in order to govern the behavior of their subject populations. Studies of colonialism and empire have increasingly drawn attention to the problem of conceptualizing the political logic of colonial projects and the circumstances of state formation processes in colonial contexts. Concepts such as ‘colonial governmentality’ (Prakash, Thomas, Scott, Legg), ‘state effect’ and ‘enframing’ (Mitchell), ‘rule of difference’ (Chatterjee), ‘ethnographic state’ (Dirks), ‘the colonial state as a social field’ (Steinmetz), ‘affective state’ (Stoler) have contributed immensely to the analytical framing of the peculiarities of colonial rule.

By evoking the concept practices of order we wish to highlight the complexities of colonial power relations and political processes. These practices were not only utilized by colonial authorities to secure social control, but were also essential in establishing abstract visions of colonies as ordered and governed spaces. The practice of governing entails processes of thinking about governmental strategies and planning for order as well as efforts to effectuate ordering programs. Accordingly, contributors to the conference are encouraged to investigate the different ways in which colonial space and subjects were rendered calculable and governable and how these abstractions were in turn invested in interventional programs of order. We therefor invite papers that address the heterogeneous field of thought and action, within which a multiplicity of authorities sought to govern the conduct of colonial subjects through a diversity of practices.

Benoît Henriet présentera une communication intitulée "Failures of Colonial Governmentality: Controlling Native’s Mobility in the Lusanga Concession (Belgian Congo, 1923-1941)".


28 janvier 2015

11.00-12.00 - Arrival and light lunch

12.00-12.30 - Welcome

12:30 - George Steinmetz keynote address

13:30 - Break

13:45 - Panel 1: Situating Governance


Allen Chun, Rethinking Govern-Mentality in the Cultural Sociology of the Colonial State

Julian Go, Regimes of Power in the Anglo-American Empires

Kristoffer E. Christensen, A Paradoxical Modernity – Global Processes of Governance in the Colonial Backwater of 19th century Tranquebar

Martin Müller, Putting Them into Their Right Place: Ordering and Othering Southeast Asian Itinerant Cultures in Colonial Conceptualization and Practice

15:15 - Mariana Valverde keynote address

17:00 - Reception and conference dinner

29 janvier 2015

09:00-10:15 - Panel 2: Police, Law and Punishment


Atef Said, U.S. Imperial Sovereignty, Imperial Subjecthood, and the No Man’s Jurisdiction

Aaron Freundschuh, Political Assassination in French-Occupied Egypt: The Case of Soliman El-Halabi

Ashley Wright, Maintaining the Bar: Ordering the Employment of European Women in Colonial South Asia

Danielle Boaz, Witchcraft, Witchdoctors, and Empire: African Spiritual Practices and British Colonial Law in the Nineteenth Century

Francesca Di Pasquale, The ‘Anthropologists Judges’. The Influence of the Positive School on the Italian Colonial Jurisprudence

Richard Stephen Hill, Coercion, Carcerality and the Police Patrol

Sandra Aoújo, A Double Sided COIN: Repression and Cooption in the Colonial Governance of Islam during the Liberation War in Mozambique(1964-1974)

12:00 - Lunch

13:00 - Stephen Legg keynote address

14:00 - Break

14:15-15:30 - Panel 3: Ordering Practices


Benoît Henriet, Failures of Colonial Governmentality: Controlling Native’s Mobility in the Lusanga Concession (Belgian Congo, 1923-1941)

James L. Hevia, Bring Order to Army Transport: The Punjab Military Transport Animals Act (1903) and the Animal Management Regime of the British Indian Army

John Straussberger, Colonial Disorder: Fulbe Chiefs and Emerging French Rule in Guinea, 1897-1911

Marie Muschalek, Violence as Usual: Everyday Police Work and the Colonial State in German Southwest Africa, 1905-1918

Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo, Ordering Resistance: The late colonial state in the Portuguese Empire

Stacie Kent, Colonization of Commercial Governance in China

S. N. Nyeck, Incomplete Contracting and State Formation in Africa 1620-1919

19:00 - Conference dinner

30 janvier 2015

09:00-10:15 - Panel 4: Civilization, Space and Normative Justification


Camilla Boisen, The Normative Justifications of Colonisation: Principles of Colonialism and Native Land Acquisition in South Africa

Daniel Walther, Race, Space and Toilets: ‘Civilization’ and ‘Dirt’ in the German Colonial Order

Guillemette Crouzet, ’Periphery or Centre’? Curzon’s Tour of 1903 and the Enforcement of Anglo-Indian Rule in the Arabo-Persian Gulf

Joost Coté, The Intimate Embrace of Modernity: The Construction of an Urban Order in Colonial Java

Matthew Woodbury, Humanitarian Governance, Aboriginal Protection, and    Establishing New Zealand’s Native Reserve System (1840-1852)

Nivi Manchanda, Rendering Afghanistan Legible: Discourses of State Failure and the Practices of (dis)order

Reynaldo Ortiz-Minaya, Spatiality and the Control of the Colonial Body. Visual Economies of Penality, Slavery, and Empire in the Spanish Caribbean, 1820- 1886

Simon Jackson, Mandatory Development: the Imperial Vernaculars of Political Economy in French Syria‐Lebanon, 1916‐1946

12:00 - Lunch

13:00 - Patrick Joyce keynote address

14:00 - Break

14:15-15:30 - Panel 5: Education

Jenna Marshall, Education as Practice of Colonial Order and the Reproduction of the Global (Colonial) Modernity

Samuel D. Anderson, Domesticating the Médersa: Orientalist Knowledge, Islamic Education, and Colonial Rule in Northwest Africa

Jon Moore, Homogenizing the British Colonial State: Training and Recruitment Between the Wars

Robert Ivermee, Colonial Education as a Practice of Order in Nineteenth Century India

15:30-16:00 - Concluding remarks

Informations pratiques

28-30 janvier 2015

Université de Copenhague, Danemark

Nørregade 10

Contacts :

Søren Rud, PostDoc 

Tél. : (45) 51 29 96 05

Email : sorenru[at]

Søren Ivarsson, Associate Professor

Tél. : (45) 51 29 94 75

Email: ivars[at] 

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