Pierre Du Bois Doctoral Workshop

Minorities and the Making of Post-Colonial Europe

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Geneva Graduate Institute, Maison de la paix, Room S12

Welcome to the 4th Pierre du Bois Doctoral Workshop

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Minorities and the Making of Post-Colonial Europe

How have minorities and immigrant communities contributed to present-day Europe? This poorly explored question in contemporary European political debate often takes a security-oriented perspective, painting minorities as potential threats. In the context of decolonial and postcolonial studies and their relationship with minority communities, the notion of ‘postcolonial’ continues to be applied to former colonies rather than Europe, despite the latter being home not only to former colonial powers but also an increasing number of former colonial subjects.

The 4th Pierre du Bois Doctoral Workshop seeks to understand the contributions of minorities to shaping European history and society post World War II. The workshop also seeks to investigate shifting perspectives on the idea of ‘minorities’, viewing it not as an analytical category fixed in meaning but as being historically and sociopolitically conditioned. Thus, it will be a forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges to conducting interdisciplinary research, especially for historians and sociologists. A rather pressing need given the choices that one must make to conduct such research, especially as young scholars.

The workshop, organised by Michele Benazzo and Gauri Saxena, therefore intends to think along the following lines: how did state practices of decolonisation influence minorities’ trajectories of settlement? How did the latter react in turn? In what ways has the perpetual conversation between the colonisers and the colonised impacted present-day Europe? Ultimately, is present-day Europe postcolonial? And, most importantly, how can we study it? 



Michele Benazzo is a PhD candidate at the International History and Politics Department at the Geneva Graduate Institute. His SNSF-funded PhD research focuses on the evolution of British Asian radicalism after the demise of the British Empire, with a particular emphasis on the interactions between local and international dynamics. He is research associate to the Pierre du Bois Foundation and affiliate to the Global Migration Center.

Gauri Saxena is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology and Sociology Department at the Geneva Graduate Institute. Her PhD research analyses the historical and contemporary narratives of belonging among Indian origin doctors in the NHS in the UK, with a focus on the ways in which the structure of the NHS itself creates discourses of ‘deservingness’ and how doctors respond to them.




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