Left to right: James Belich, Dan Butt, Judith Brown, Sudhir Hazareesingh, Andrew Hurrell
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Balliol and Current Work on Colonial Histories

Beyond Balliol’s own history, a number of current Fellows work extensively in the fields of colonial and post-colonial culture, histories and theory. They include:

  • James Belich (Beit Professor of Commonwealth and Imperial History, and Professorial Fellow), who is working on a book that tries to globalise the history of European expansion, and provide a contingent historical explanation for it, provisionally entitled The Black Death and the Spread of Europe. He was a co-founder of the Oxford Centre for Global History (2011), which seeks among other things to transcend Eurocentric approaches to empires and has advocated the conversion of History Faculty posts to non-European history as they become vacant.
  • Daniel Butt (Tutorial Fellow in Political Theory), who teaches both contemporary political theory and the history of political thought, and whose research to date has concentrated on modern-day questions of rectificatory and distributive justice, particularly with reference to the rectification of past wrongdoing. He is course provider and co-creator of two new Politics papers that directly deal with the ethical aftermath of Empire. The political theory of historic injustice is a core topic in the undergraduate ‘Advanced Paper in Theories of Justice’, and the central subject of the graduate paper ‘Mitigating Historic Injustice’.
  • Judith Brown (Emeritus Fellow, Beit Professor of Commonwealth History 19902011) has written extensively on the history of modern South Asia and is the author of books including Modern India: The Origins of an Asian DemocracyNehru: A Political Life, and Gandhi and Civil Disobedience: The Mahatma in Indian Politics 19281834. She continues to write and speak on a range of topics including taking part in Balliol’s panel discussion on Gandhi and Oxford in 2019 to mark the 150th anniversary of the Mahatma’s birth.
  • Sudhir Hazareesingh (1983, Fellow and Tutor in Politics), who is writing Black Spartacus, a biography of the Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint Louverture (17401803). The book explores Louverture’s struggle against slavery, settler colonialism, and imperialism, and the emergence of his distinct brand of republicanism, which combined European, Caribbean, and African influences. 
  • Andrew Hurrell (Montague Burton Professor of International Relations and Professorial Fellow), who, as a Delegate of Oxford University Press, in addition to his own research and contribution to curriculum reform, has been heavily involved in the globalisation of academic production especially in the emerging world.

In addition to the individual contributions of the above Fellows, Balliol supports an ongoing programme of research into its links to Empire which includes hosting a series of lectures and events on related themes and subjects. To learn more about the Balliol and Empire project, or to comment on any of the material on this site, please contact Sebastian Pender, research coordinator for the programme. Sebastian received his PhD in British Imperial History from the University of Cambridge and has held postdoctoral appointments at the School of Advanced Studies, University of London, and the International Centre of Advanced Studies in New Delhi. His own research focuses on practices of commemoration in colonial and postcolonial settings and he is currently completing a book entitled 1857 and the Politics of Commemoration: A One-Hundred-and-Fifty Year Struggle for Meaning, Memory, and the Right to Narrate.