Gurminder K. Bhambra's research addresses how, within sociological understandings of modernity, the experiences and claims of non-European 'others' have been rendered invisible to the dominant narratives and analytical frameworks of sociology. While her research interests are primarily in the area of historical sociology, she is also interested in the intersection of the social sciences with recent work in postcolonial studies. Her current research project is on the possibilities for historical sociology in a postcolonial world. She is editor of the new monograph series, Theory for a Global Age, published by Bloomsbury Academic.


Modernity, Multiple Modernities, and Arguments for Connected Sociologies

Dans le cadre du séminaire de Kapil Raj  “Une histoire globale des sciences? À quel prix...”

  • Mardi 7 mars, de 17h à 19h - EHESS (Salle 9), 105 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris

Theorists of multiple modernities argue that two fallacies are to be avoided. The first, associated with earlier modernization theories, is that there is only one modernity. The second, attributed to postcolonialism, is that looking from the West to the East is necessarily a form of Eurocentrism. The argument is that, while the idea of one modernity, especially one that has already been achieved in Europe, would be Eurocentric, theories of multiple modernities must, nonetheless, take Europe as the reference point in their examination of alternative modernities. In challenging the dominant accounts of the emergence and development of modernity, I argue for the idea of ‘connected sociologies’ and for a reconstruction of historical sociology at a global level.

From Cosmopolitanism to the Postcolonial Reconstruction of Europe

Dans le cadre du séminaire de Kapil Raj “Une histoire globale des sciences? À quel prix...”

  • Mardi 14 mars, de 17h à 19h - EHESS (Salle 9), 105 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris

Most accounts of ‘cosmopolitan Europe’ acknowledge only the diversity between states and do not account for the diversity within states as expressed through multicultural ‘others’. This diversity, I argue, can only be properly understood if we take seriously the colonial histories that constitute ‘postcolonial Europe’. Standard understandings of postcolonialism limit the ‘postcolonial’ to those ‘others’ who migrate to Europe, and render invisible the long-standing histories that connect those ‘others’ with Europe and as European. In this way, the issues that reference to what the ‘postcolonial’ signifies are seen as beginning with immigration and carried by the non-European ‘other’. In contrast, I argue for the need to understand Europe itself as postcolonial – not in the sense of being beyond colonialism, but as a provocation to think its colonial history as constitutive of its postcolonial present.

Contesting the Political Implications of Conceptual Distinctions:   Citizens and Migrants

Dans le cadre du séminaire de Nancy L. Green “L’histoire comparée et les migrations contemporaines”

  • Mardi 21 mars, de 13h à 15h - EHESS (Salle 5), 105 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris

 The idea of the political community as a national political order has been central to European self-understanding and to European social science. Yet, many European states were imperial states as much as they were national states – and often prior to or alongside becoming national states – and so the political community of the state was always much broader and more racially stratified than is usually acknowledged. Questions of citizenship and belonging are usually organised within national frames and in this talk I want to ask how taking seriously the broader histories of empire and colonialism would enable us to rethink these central concepts. Such questions have become particularly acute in the context of a renewed atavism in Europe sparked in part by the recent attention given to the refugee crisis on Europe’s borders as well as the fiscal crisis and related continent-wide politics of austerity.

Locating Brexit: From Commonwealth to the EU and Back Again?

Dans le cadre du Séminaire international des sciences sociales de l'EHESS

  • Lundi 27 mars, de 17h à 19h - EHESS (Salle 13), 105 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris

The UK referendum on continued membership of the European Union, which produced a victory for the ‘Leave’ campaign, was less a debate on the pros and cons of membership than a proxy for discussions about race and migration; specifically, who belonged and had rights (or should have rights) and who didn’t (and shouldn’t). One of the key slogans of those arguing for exit from the EU was: ‘we want our country back’. The racialized discourses at work here were not only present explicitly in the politics of the event; they are implicit in much social scientific analysis. Populist political claims are mirrored by an equivalent social scientific ‘presentism’ that elides proper historical context. In this talk, I discuss the importance of understanding Brexit in the context of an historical sociological understanding that would enable us to make better sense of the politics of the present.