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Imperial Entanglements

Latecomer Colonial Empires and the “Politics of Comparison” (1880s-1940s)

The Research Project

«Imperial Entanglements» is a research project supported by the Italian government within the framework of the Next Generation EU Program. Our reasearch group comprises scholars of the 19th and 20th century from three different Universities, with different backgrounds and expertise in fields such as imperial/colonial history, political and economic history, history of citizenship and human rights. Thanks to intense discussion and extensive readings, we have developed a transimperial approach to the study of imperialism which foregrounds the circulation of ideas and praxes among different empires.

«Imperial Entanglements» investigates four cases of latecomer imperialism, namely those of Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Japan. Each of these countries entered the phase of colonial expansion only in the late nineteenth century. Because of this delayed inception, when their power elites and experts shaped new structures of imperial rule, they had to consider existing models of imperial rule and colonial administration, as previously established by other powers. In pursuit of original visions of their imperial project, they critically engaged with the existing models, adopting, refashioning, or rejecting their constituent features.

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