Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies

The Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies is a leading centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies in Europe and the major research environment for global and non-European history in the Nordic countries.

About us

Our mission

Initially a ten-member project funded by the Swedish Research Council in 2010, the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies is one of six prominent research environments at Linnaeus University. As an interdisciplinary centre, it brings together twenty Linnaeus University researchers, from graduate students to full professors, in eight disciplines: Archaeology, Comparative Literature, English Literature, French Literature, History, the Study of Religions, Social Work, and Sociology.

The Centre hosts regular seminars, workshops, conferences and other research activities. A guest researcher program was established in 2012, which to date has allowed around thirty scholars − including many from the Global South and Indigenous groups − to spend between one and six months at the Centre. Each semester contains a two-day workshop focused on a specific concept or topic, with invited guests or in collaboration with other leading research centres and institutions in the fields of Colonial and Postcolonial Studies and Global History.

Most of the Centre's research is organized into research clusters: the Cluster for Colonial Connections and Comparisons, the Cluster for Cultural Encounters, and the Cluster for Nordic Colonialism.

What is Colonial and Postcolonial Studies?

The interdisciplinary field of Colonial and Postcolonial Studies analyzes the human consequences of colonial and other forms of domination throughout the history of the world, particularly on those dispossessed and marginalized by colonial and imperial expansion. Researchers in the field analyse meetings and clashes between different cultures and identities, primarily in the context of  European overseas expansion from the fifteenth century onwards. By taking into account multiple experiences and perspectives in the study of global history and culture, a multifaceted view on both the history of colonialism and its legacies in the present world can be constructed.

Colonial and Postcolonial Studies takes a critical stance, not only against colonialism and its legacies as such, but also against much of the received knowledge about the history of colonialism and cultural encounters over the last 500 years. The field also aims to highlight the occluded and subaltern aspects of colonialism, as well as the persistence of colonial forms of exploitation, oppression and violence in the contemporary world. A particulary source of inspiration for the field of Colonial and Postcolonial Studies as practiced at the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences is Indigenous Studies, which focuses on the historical and contemporary experiences of Indigenous Nations around the world. In doing so, the field challenges mainstream research in history and other disciplines by adding novel perspectives and critical standpoints and by giving voice to holistic forms of knowledge and alternative ways of understanding and relating to the world.

The Framework of Concurrences

Research at the Centre revolves around the concept of Concurrences as developed by Professor Gunlög Fur and her collegues at Linnaeus University. Taking colonial encounters as the starting point of the investigation, Concurrences directs attention to the uneasy relationship that has existed between universalism and human diversity in an increasingly globalized world since the onset of European overseas expansion. It is in encounters that fundamental cultural differences become visible, both to the actors involved and to historians. However, whereas colonial encounters in general have been studied from Eurocentric perspectives – with Europeans cast as active and non-Europeans as passive or reactive − a central purpose of the Concurrences framework is to promote a more balanced and empirically sound historiography of global encounters throughout modern history. Doing so means taking into account the multiple voices and hidden aspects of historical encounters, including events and interpretations of the world that were forgotten, ignored, purged, oppressed or eliminated from the official or dominant versions of history.

As a theoretical concept, Concurrences recognizes both confluence and competition, and insists that any understanding of the world take into account both entanglements and tensions between equally weighty jurisdictions. Concurrences suggests that different perspectives and locations are always, inescapably, entangled and that human beings constantly negotiate the different, and sometimes incompatible, demands arising out of these concurrent conditions. The word 'concurrence' is not only synonymous with 'simultaneous' (Sw. samtidighet) which is a frequently employed concept in contemporary research. Both 'concurrence' and 'simultaneity' mean 'the temporal property of two things happening at the same time'. 'Concurrent', however, contains several other meanings that give it a slightly different, but significant, tinge. In addition to 'occurring or existing simultaneously' it can mean 'having equal authority or jurisdiction,' and 'tending to or intersecting at the same point.' In an archaic noun-form it means 'a rival or competitor' (Sw. konkurrent). While the English verb 'concur', at the root of both the noun 'concurrence' and the adjective 'concurrent', has the connotation of agreement and acceptance, the Swedish noun 'konkurrens' still denotes competition.

The term Concurrences thus contains in its reservoir of meanings both agreement and competition, entanglement and incompatibility as it slides uneasily across time and space. It signals contestations over interpretations and harbors different, diverging, and at times competing claims that will inflect studies of themes such as home, traveling, subjectivity-identity, voice, and space. A focus on Concurrences, rather than simultaneity, challenges scholars to grapple with the universalizing perspectives contained in colonialist claims and modernizing imperatives, wherever they occur. Against this background, the researchers at the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies aim to account for intersections, contentions, imbalances, and bridge-building as part of the manner in which human beings narrate and engage with their world(s).

For a more thourough discussion of the concept of Concurrences and some examples of its research applications, see Diana Brydon, Peter Forsgren & Gunlög Fur (eds.), Concurrent Imaginaries, Postcolonial Worlds: Toward Revised Histories (Leiden: Brill 2017).

Advisory Board

Concurrences' Advisory board consists of leading scholars within postcolonial studies and studies of colonial encounters who represent a variety of academic disciplines:

Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English at Wolfson College, Oxford University

Diana Brydon, Professor of Globalization and Cultural Studies, University of Manitoba

Ashleigh Harris, Associate Professor of English Literature, Uppsala University

Stefan Helgesson, Professor of English Literature, Stockholm University

Ann McGrath, Professor of History and Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History, Australian National University

Maria Olaussen, Professor of English, University of Gothenburg

News and Events

Research Visits 2018

The Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies will host guest researcher visits of 1-3 months during 2018 for scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences with a focus on postcolonial and decolonial studies. The aim is to contribute to a deeper understanding of how voices and narratives become structured culturally and politically in the meeting between scholars and their sources, in the formation of colonial archives, and in cultural encounters.

The guest researcher positions are non-salaried. The Centre can provide funds to cover travel and accommodation costs and also provides office space.

There are currently no open calls for guest research fellowships.


The research at the Centre is organized around three thematic research clusters, with most members of the Centre belonging to one or two of the currently three research clusters. The clusters organize seminars, workshops, guest lectures and other activities designed to stimulate synergy and collaboration between cluster members and associated members at other universities in Sweden and worldwide.

Research projects

Ongoing projects


Researchers at Linnaeus University

Team members at Linnaeus University

Guest researchers

Diana Brydon, University of Manitoba, Canada. 2013
Wumi Raji, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. 2013
Alexander Bubb, Oxford University, UK. 2014
Ashleigh Harris, Uppsala universitet, Sweden. 2014
Lucienne Loh, University of Liverpool, UK. 2014
Bruce Buchan, Griffith University, Australia. 2015
Paul Giffard-Foret, La Sorbonne University, France. 2015
Kristian Van Haesendonck, University of Antwerpen, Belgium. 2015
Ingeborg Høvik, The Arctic University of Norway, Norway. 2015
Radhika Krishnan, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. 2015
Erica Lombard, Oxford University, UK. 2015
Mohammad Sakhnini, University of Exeter, UK. 2015
Isabel Cristina Sá Valentim, University of Coimbra, Portugal. 2015
Ernest Pineteh Angu, Cape Peninsula, South Africa. 2016
Jaqueline van Gent, University of Western Australia, Australia. 2016
Raphael Hörmann, University of Central Lancashire, UK. 2016
Dhiraj Nite, Ambedkar University, India. 2016
Yvonne Reddick, The University of Central Lancashire, UK. 2016
Hilda Härgestam Strandberg, Umeå universitet, Sweden. 2016
Malica S. Willie, University of the West Indies, Barbados. 2016
Iain Chambers, University of Naples L'Orientale, Italy. 2017
Gabriella Elgenius, Göteborgs universitet, Sweden. 2017
Malin Gregersen, Universitetet i Bergen, Norway. 2017
Ivan Sablin, National Research University, Russia. 2017


Post-graduate Education

One of the most imporant tasks of the Centre for Concurrences is the training of the next generation of researchers, and to date three students associated with the Centre have completed their PhD theses in the field of Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. Currently, one PhD student is attached to the Centre and another three will be appointed during 2018. Furthermore, a Master's Program in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies is due to start at Linnaeus University in 2019.

PhD Training

Doctoral students working in the field of Colonial and Postcolonial Studies based at Linnaeus University are attached to the Centre while completing their doctoral thesis in one of the Humanities disciplines of the Centre (Archaeology, Comparative Literature, English Literature, History, or the Study of Religions). The PhD candidates take part in the Centre's regular actvities, such as seminars and workshops, and benefit from a vibrant research environment.
Admission to the PhD programs at Linnaeus University is in principle linked to a four-year employment as a PhD student. Positions are announced at the Linnaues University employment website. In addition, PhD candidates wishing to pursue a PhD program at their own expense may, in extraordinary circumstances, be admitted to a PhD program at Linnaeus University and be affiliated with the Centre.
For more information about pursuing a PhD in the field of Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at Linnaeus University, please contact Åse Magnusson.


Planning is underway for launching an MA-program in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, starting in September 2019. The program will be given in English by the Department of Cultural Sciences at Linnaeus University with teachers mainly drawn from the members of Centre for Concurrences.

For more information about the MA-program, please contact Åse Magnusson.