Empire and Post-Colonial Self-Government: Divergent Paths in the Westminster World

Thursday, May 18, 2023 14:00to15:30
680 Rue Sherbrooke O, 6th floor, Montreal, QC, H3A 0B8, CA

This talk examines the critical relationship between the British constitution and empire. Concentrating on the period from the mid-nineteenth century until the last days of colonial rule in the twentieth century, it focuses on three key areas. Firstly, it looks at the resonance of empire in British constitutional thinking as well as the contradictions and limitations of the late imperial constitutional project. Secondly, it delves into the divergent ways Britain sought to govern its vast empire, especially with the marked difference between the growing autonomy of the settler dominated states and the majority who were deemed unable to govern themselves. Finally, in the last stage of imperial rule when self-government was demanded, it will show how British constitutional traditions, concepts and institutions fared in the colonial context and what this meant for those living under the British Empire.


Dr. Harshan Kumarasingham

Senior Lecturer in British Politics

School of Social and Political Science

University of Edinburgh

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