Imperial Inequalities: States, Empires, Taxation


Europe’s past is an imperial and colonial past. Often presenting itself as a continent of nations, it is, in fact, one of national projects buttressed by colonial and imperial undertakings. Colonial settlement, land dispossession, resource extraction, and the taxation of overseas populations have been some of the most important ways in which Europeans have established their hegemony across the globe. While much of the wealth was simply appropriated by elites, there was also a distribution to national populations in Europe via philanthropic initiatives and, later, via welfare states. This occurred both directly and indirectly. Imperial enclaves continue to form the basis of tax avoidance and the accumulation of wealth by elites, now more explicitly constituted as a global elite. The legacies of these historic processes continue to define the contours of global inequality today. This workshop seeks to draw together historians, sociologists, anthropologists, legal scholars, economists and others interested in discussing these issues.

The intention is to hold a one- or two-day workshop at the University of Sussex in mid-September 2020 on these themes (economy travel expenses and accommodation would be covered). Participants would be requested to submit a 5000 word paper for circulation to workshop attendees by the end of August 2020. This would form the basis of a longer chapter to be part of an edited volume that we would submit to a well-regarded press.

If you are interested in being part of this workshop and edited volume, please send us a title and short abstract by the end of January 2020, and we will get back to you with further information by early February.

Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Sussex

Julia McClure, University of Glasgow




IMAGE: By Edinburgh Geographical Institute. – Imperial Gazetteer of India, Secretary of State for India in Council, OUP, 1907. Scanned from personal copy Fowler&fowler, 2007, Public Domain



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