Tensions of Empire: Colonial Control and Visions of Rule


Nov 11-13, 1988

Organized by

Frederick Cooper and Ann L. Stoler


Hotel Mijas, Mijas, Spain


1989, F. Cooper, A.L. Stoler. “Tensions of Empire: Colonial Control and Visions of Rule.” American Ethnologist 16(4):609-621.


  • David Arnold SOAS, UK
  • Talal Asad University of Hull, UK
  • Scott Atran Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France
  • John G. Butcher Griffith University, Australia
  • Partha Chatterjee Center for Studies in Social Sciences, India
  • Bernard Cohn University of Chicago, USA
  • John Comaroff University of Chicago, USA
  • Frederick Cooper University of Michigan, USA
  • Robert J. Gordon University of Vermont, USA
  • Nancy Hunt University of Wisconsin, USA
  • Jacques Marseille l’Université de Paris VIII, France
  • Sidney Mintz Johns Hopkins University, USA
  • Randall Packard Tufts University, USA
  • David Prochaska University of Illinois, USA
  • Sydel Silverman Wenner-Gren Foundation, USA
  • Verena Stolcke Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain
  • Ann L. Stoler University of Wisconsin, USA
  • Michel-Rolph Trouillot Johns Hopkins University, USA
  • Joan Vincent Barnard College, USA
  • Luise White University of Minnesota, USA

ORGANIZER’S STATEMENT: While anthropologists have been concerned with the consequences of conquest for the colonized and historians have described colonial policies and their implementation, much less understood is the extent to which colonial regimes and ideologies were themselves problematic and contested. The goal of this symposium was to rethink the anthropology of colonialism and develop alternatives to approaches that treat colonial rule as a monolithic form. The focus was on the historical processes by which the categories of colonizer and colonized were created and on the competing agendas of different Europeans in the colonies. The participants, an ap­proximately equal number of anthropologists and historians, drew on their diverse regional expertise in order to look at commonalities and differences in colonial rhetorics and patterns of change in colonial rule.

Wenner-Gren Symposium #107

Kneeling: N. Watson Smart, R. Gordon, T. Asad, B. Giebus, S. Mintz, L. Obbink. Standing: V. Stolcke, B. Cohn, J. Marseille, P. Chatterjee, S. Silverman, F. Cooper, M.R. Trouillot, J. Comaroff, L. White (w/ cane), S. Atran, J. Vincent, R. Packard, A. Stoler, D. Prochaska, N. Hunt, D. Arnold, J. Butcher.