Cluster for Colonial Connections and Comparisons

The Research Cluster for Colonial Connections and Comparisons aims to uncover the complex links that operated within and across the borders of empires, and to highlight the differences as well as the similarities between colonial regimes and colonial contexts, both temporally and spatially.

In seeking to contribute to more nuanced narrations of the past, the Cluster’s interdisciplinary approach is informed by both postcolonial theory, Indigenous knowledge and the burgeoning field of Global History. Much of the Cluster’s research is based on the study of archival and documentary sources, but the Cluster also aims to promote other sources and methods, such as digital tools and oral history.

The researchers of the Cluster emphasize themes such as migration, mobility, identity, religion, gender and sexuality, ethnicity, slavery, racism, violence, inter-cultural diplomacy and mutual influences between colonies and metropoles. Being at the frontlines of current international research efforts in the discipline of History to write new, actor-oriented histories of modern colonialism that take both micro and macro developments into account, the members of the Cluster are interested both in highlighting connections and in problematizing disconnections and silences. In doing so, the Cluster’s research aims to contribute to a critical and multivocal global history that takes into account the long-term impact of colonial encounters and imperial forms of domination.

The empirical research undertaken by the members of the Cluster also seeks to uncover the nuances and complexity of the processes and phenomena subsumed under labels such as 'imperialism', 'European expansion', 'colonial oppression', 'civilization', and 'postcolonialism'. The critical study of these and other concepts associated with colonialism thus challenges us to question what we think we know about the modern history of asymmetrical power relations and resistance, as well as the contemporary legacies of colonialism.

Colonial encounters and negotiation processes in Southeast Asia, a region that has not yet been fully integrated in the field of Global History, is a strong area of research in the Cluster. Another prominent part of the Cluster’s research is centred on the archive of the southern Swedish estate of Huseby and its owner Joseph Stephens (1841−1934), which testifies to the networks of knowledge and capital that existed between Scandinavia and the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A third focus area highlights the participation of Nordic states and actors in colonial ventures, both in the Nordic region, particularly Sápmi, and overseas. Other parts of Asia and the Americas are also strongly represented in the Cluster’s research.



Affiliated Researchers

  • Henrik Cheetan Aspengren, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs
  • Bruce Buchan, Griffith University, Australia
  • Linda Andersson Burnett, Uppsala University