Aesthetics of Empire Research Cluster

In the age of climate emergency, global inequality, and – most recently – the uneven effects of pandemic illness, it is increasingly clear that the way people and environments are categorized in dominant imaginaries continue to produce serious effects.

Our Research

The Aesthetics of Empire Research Cluster within the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies examines cultural media – literary, visual, aural and others – in light of these circumstances. Motivated by a sense that cultural production matters in the shaping of material realities, the cluster explores how texts affirm, contest or subvert imperial agendas, both historically and into the present. Cluster members join with conversations at the frontline of postcolonial studies by examining not only how different imperial situations have been represented in texts, but also how textual imaginaries participate in making the world legible to imperial agendas, and how they contest, critique or disrupt these processes into the present.

Research within in the cluster is oriented by questions around the aesthetic strategies – fictional, narrative, visual, performative – through which empire is legitimated and hegemonized into the present day. Further, the cluster asks what cultural resources – what genres, epistemic practices or modes of sensing – make possible a rethinking of imperial logic, and which research and reading methodologies help to bring these resistant practices into view.

The cluster includes researchers from a range of regional specialisms and theoretical backgrounds, including post- and decolonial studies, ecocriticism, political ecology, world-systems analysis, gender and intersectionality studies – and more.