Colonial practices of governing the diversity. Panel discussion

Tamara Gella, Orel State University 


East Africa in the political discourse of the English

liberals of the end of the 19th century 


The paper is devoted to the  British colonial policy in Uganda. Establishing control over Uganda became crucial for British plans in East Africa, as well as its plans in Egypt and Sudan. Basically, the question was whether the private company’s control over those territories should be replaced by the state control, so that Britain could in fact occupy them; or Britain should withdraw from Uganda. This paper   addresses  the question as exemplified by  the  discussions in the English liberal party.


Key words: liberals, Uganda, Gladstone, protectorate, lord Rosebery.



Irina Gorsheneva, Voronezh State University


«Orientalists» and the educational policy of East India Company in the first half of 19th century


Modern researchers of British colonial cultural and educational policies (M. Moir, L. Zastoupil, T. Allender) define three views on education  in South Asian colonies among the representatives of British colonial administration of the first half of XIX century: the “Orientalists” thought it  important to  develop and preserve the local cultures, spoke about the necessity of study of Sanskrit, Persian, Hindi and other indigenous languages, considered education  an instrument of “reconciliation” between the colonial authorities and peoples and communities of India, and criticized the wide spread of European education among locals. They were confronted by both Christian missionaries and followers of J. Bentham, or “Utilitarians”, who desired to reform the Indian society on the model of  European understanding of law, social justice and progress.  One more power in the forming of the colonial educational policy were the representatives of the educated elites of Hindu and Muslim communities, as well as leaders of so-called “Bengali Renaissance”. 

The “orientalist” approach, started by the first Governor-General of India, W. Hastings (1773-1785), was predominant in the educational policies of East India Company before 1835, when Minute on Indian Education written by the historian and the Secretary of the Board of Control Th. Macaulay found the support of General Governor Lord Bentinck. Macaulay`s Minute marked the transition towards the new educational strategy that implied  teaching in English and “westernization” of education in South Asian colonies. The “Orientalists” criticized this new strategy; debates about it continued in 1840s and 1850s. After 1835, so-called “neo-orientalism” came to life. Its followers extended their work beyond Bengal, in North-Western Provinces, Bombay and Madras. The ideas of “neo-orientalists” became applicable  when in 1840s more than 2000 schools teaching in local languages were opened in NWP and Punjab. 

This paper analyzes the educational concepts and strategies of both “orientalists” (H. Wilson, H. Prinsep, W. Adam, M. Elphinstone, J. Sutherland) and “Neo-Orientalists” (L. Wilkinstone, B. Hodgson)  exemplified  by colonial practice of diversity management.


Key words: Orientalism, Colonialism, education, India, British Empire, South Asia.



Bakhtijor Alimjanov, Khasan Babadzhanov, Tashkent University of Information technologies; Doston Tulanov, National University of Uzbekistan; Zhavokhir Zhakparov, Tashkent Islamic university, Uzbekistan


Imperial ideologies of Russia and Great Britain:«conservative liberalism» versus «liberal conservatism»? 


In the report we will try to consider the nature and essence of the economic policy of Russia and the UK in their colonies. The Russian authorities "geographically" mastered Turkestan, but culturally and economically could not change the face of Turkestan. The economic and cultural "failure" of Russian power is a characteristic feature of the policy of the Russian empire in relation to Turkestan.  Britain, on the contrary, achieved "high" results  in the spiritual and economic spheres of Indians. English liberalism was instrumental   in the transformation of the Indians on  the "Western" pattern. In India there was a whole layer in the society that thought in English and acknowledged  the "superiority" of the West over the East. It was this layer of " the educated" who subsequently became the leaders of the national liberation movement. The British considered India an "experimental laboratory", where they tested their ideas and views. Although not all experiments were successful, ideologists did not lose hope for "improving" the economic, social and political situation in India. Although the "mission" of the British in India was "noble", they were not above enriching themselves. Britain was able to turn India into a raw material appendage of the metropolis.  There was a duality in the English policy: on the one hand, the British "enlightened", "developed" the province, on the other hand, India was transformed on the English pattern. The British were confident in the superiority of their own model of economic development, and all that did not correspond to this model, was declared "superstition" or a relic of "feudalism." The British regarded India as a "test" sent from above, so  they "were obliged" to civilize the country according to the Western model (until 1858), but since 1858 India had become an inseparable part of the empire,  the high "mission" of the English was overshadowed by economic interests. However, they had never abandoned the "civilized" rhetoric. Typically, the British sought to combine spirituality (ie, religiosity) with the material and "base", and hence the basic definition of British imperialism - a symbiosis of ideal truths with low feelings. The British "measured" the eastern civilization from the standpoint of their absolute superiority and rightness over the "East", while the Russians sought to reconcile these "two worlds". Proceeding from this provision, British policy in India can be characterized as "conservative liberalism", and Russian policy in Turkestan as "liberal conservatism".


Key words: empire, ideology, Turkestan, British India, civilizationalism, liberalism, conservatism.



Mikhail Zabotkin, Moscow State Institute of International Relations


Nations vs the nation: multinational federations as

failed British imperial project


The new political order that emerged as a result of decolonization was based on the nation-state. However, this political form had an alternative, namely, the multinational federation. It was the form that suited  the British imperial ideology and interests. This paper analyses the cases of the West Indian Federation, the Central African Federation, and the Malay Federation as deliberate attempts to transform and , thus,  preserve the British imperial order. A comparison with a successful democratic multinational federation, India, makes it possible to establish the causes of the failure of these federal projects which lie in  the specific traits of their territorial-political structure. The institutional colonial legacy made it impossible to reach political equilibrium and to counter centrifugal forces. The (neo)colonial diversity governance practices proved unable to construct a common identity and to effectively manage the ethnopolitical cleavages of these plural societies. The unwillingness of the political elite to reform the political system in order to include all the ethnopolitical segments in the decision-making process  played the critical role in the failure of these federal experiments. 


Key words: federalism; colonialism; decolonization; imperial order; multinational federations; ethnopolitical cleavages. 



Nikolai Dobronravin, Saint Petersburg State University


Unplanned nations as a by-product of Colonialism


Many modern nations are a product of colonial planning within well-defined administrative boundaries. Even before the proclamation of independence, such expressions as "Nigerians", "Kenyans", "Congolese", etc., referring to all the native population associated with a colony or protectorate had entered  the colonial discourse. Thus, the foundations were laid for the further formation of national identity in post-colonial countries.

In some colonies and protectorates, the common name of the native population was absent or not tied to a specific territory. For example, in the Spanish (Western) Sahara, local people were known to the colonial authorities as "Moors" or "Arabs". In British Somaliland, the ethnonym “Somalis” was commonly used.

Regardless of the intentions of the colonial authorities, their activities in the Spanish Sahara and British Somaliland led to the formation of the foundations of national identity. In Western Sahara, a special Saharan identity is recognized nowadays not only by the supporters of independence, but also by the authorities of Morocco, which control the "useful" part of this territory. From the Moroccan point of view, the Saharans are part of the Moroccan nation with special customs and language (that is, a sub-ethnic group). For the supporters of the partially recognized Saharan Arab Democratic Republic, they are a separate nation. In Somaliland (in 1960-1991 part of Somalia, since 1991  an unrecognized state within the boundaries of the former British protectorate), all the local population is officially regarded as the Somaliland nation. For the supporters of Somalian unity, Somaliland is only a political construct, despite the the separate existence of Somalilanders for many years.


Key words: colonialism, Sahrawis, Somalilanders, Nicaraguan Creoles, unrecognized states.




Elena Valieva, Saint Petersburg State University


«Chief» and «chiefdom» of the colonial and postcolonial periods: terminological aspect (the case of Nguni-speaking peoples)


In societies of ngunispeaking peoples of South Africa (such as Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa, Matabele and close to them, historically and culturally, Ngoni) there has existed a post of inkosi (chief) since pre-colonial times until the present day . It is necessary to  reconsider  the widespread use of the same term applicable to various  periods in accordance to the change of the position  of  a chief:  from a head of a pre-colonial chiefdom, to a subordinate as an administrative officer in the colonial time and an adviser on "traditions" today. However, it should be remembered that  the languages of studied communities retain continuity of  pre-colonial and modern terminology , and the figure of inkosi is a cornerstone in the formation of ethnic identity. First, we face the dilemma:  it is impossible to abandon the word inkosi and its direct counterpart,  "chief". To use quotation marks or to add something to the ethnic term is incorrect: not only because of  potential offensiveness, but due to its situational use.  Secondly, as far as  chiefdom is concerned, the term "chiefdom" can be used with reference to  the period from the mid–late XIX century (the time of establishing the power of the colonial administration for all reporting companies) and afterwards as  with the arrival of colonialists a socio-potestas institute denoting this term, ceased to exist and transformed into part of a state apparatus. 

The situation described above is not unique even for South Africa, and understanding this issue will be useful to all who is studying colonial and post-colonial societies. We  consider it appropriate to: 1)  use , for example, such terms as "colonial chief" (as a special form of leadership) and the term with a wider meaning of "nominal chief" (which applies to modern period too); 2) not to use the term "chiefdom"  in relation to the period mentioned above.


Key words: chief, chiefdom, Nguni, South Africa, Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa, Matabele, Ngoni.



Maxim Volkov, Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg 


A comparative analysis of the Fennoscandian states’ policies on Sami people


The report examines the transformation of ethnic diversity management institutions in relation to Sami people in the nation-states of Fennoscandia (Norway, Sweden and Finland). A comparative analysis of the development of state policies on Sami people is carried out within the theoretical framework of historical institutionalism. A special emphasis is placed on the critical junctures in the development of diversity management which had affected the transition from assimilationism and marginalization to recognition and dialogue.

Sami people had faced the pressure from the Nordic countries at the beginning of Modernity. By early twentieth century these states started the assimilation of Sami people trying to achieve national homogenization. In transnational context, the Sami people had experienced similar practices of racism, marginalization and non-recognition of their own way of life. During this period educated activists contributed to the formation of the national identity of the Sami people. 

Then there two parallel processes developed: the transformation of state agencies on Sami affairs and the subtle activity of national activists seeking to incorporate Sami concerns into public discourse. The three countries had implemented assimilationist policies until the 1970s, before the intensification of economic activity in the Arctic region, which attracted widespread public attention to the problems of Sami people, and led to new institutional solutions.

Finally, the Sami Parliaments were created, as a part of transnational institutional network. At the moment, there are lots of discussions on the further development of the Sami Parliaments in connection with the unification of indigenous people’s law.

The report also challenges the possibility of considering Sami policies in terms of colonialism. It can be linked with frequent criticism of international legislation on indigenous peoples by some politicians who consider it impossible to extrapolate models of colonial administration to the states of Fennoscandia.


Key words: indigenous people, Sami people, historical institutionalism, diversity management, cultural autonomy.



Sun Yizhi, Saint Petersburg State University


Shanghai International Settlement - the Formation of

Administrative & Tax Authorities


This report studies the characteristics of the formation of Shanghai International Settlement. Shanghai International Settlement was the largest colonization of East Asia upon that time, which was also different from those in rest of Asia and Oceania due to its unique self-autonomy. Suzerain rarely controlled Shanghai’s Settlement which led to Shanghai Settlement’s 

development into the biggest port and financial center in the early 20th century. The study of Settlement’s administration and its taxation mechanism can help us understand its advancement at that time.

The establishment of Municipal Council and Custom was critical to the development of concession. Afterwards, the administration power of concession returned to the taxpayers. It’s also important to study the Custom for a better understanding towards the development of concession. In this regard, we have the work from Russian historical study area— V.S. Couses <Shanghai Knives Uprising 1853-1855>. However, since the work was written in USSR time, and the topics within discussed the class struggling, thus it’s objectivity is challenged. As a result, we think it’s necessary

to restudy the topic by using the latest findings from Chinese and English historical researches.


Key words: Colonization, East Asian, China, Shanghai, International Concession, Great Britain, France, USA, Municipal Council, customs.



Oksana Nesterova, Michurinsk State Agrarian University


Relationships between Austrian-German elites and national elites in the empire of Hapsburgs in the last third

of the 19th century and the practice of dualism 


Austro-hungarian agreements concluded in 1867  led to  the emergence of the state with two political centers and liberal political regime in Europe. The union was based, primarily, on the coordination of interests of political elites of two states - the Austrian bourgeoisie and the Hungarian landowners. The conclusion of dualistic agreements and  a number of events simplified a national situation in the empire to a certain extent.  Italian and German ethnic questions had practically ceased to pose an internal factor of its existence. For Austrian Germans «leaving» Germany brought about  the first political prerequisite  for  their self-identification as an independent nation, separate from Germany. At the same time, the Habsburg empire continued to remain the multinational state whose people  perceived the conclusion of agreements as a step to creating federation. The Austrian government  in its internal policy had to manoeuvre between representatives of the Slavic people comrising Austria-Hungary. Very often, resolving certain questions, the government played various nationalities off against one another.  It was evidently reflected in the interaction between Czechs and the Poles living  in  the empire. 

In Hungary,  some political elites inspired by the success of Hungarians put forward unrealistic aims given the circumstances. At the end of  1860s - the beginning of 1870s the ruling class in  Hungary was still inclined to solve ethnic questions taking into account  minimal needs of non- Hungarian people. But by the end of  the century  the process  of Magyarization of peoples of  Hungary had began. 

Thus, there was imbalance in the  relations  between political elites of ruling nationalities and other national elites: encouraging some people, the Austrians and Hungarians oppressed  others.


Key words: the Habsburg Monarchy empire , dualism, national self-identification, political elite, national interests.



Timur Aloev, Кabardino-Balkarian institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nalchik


The Belgrade Treaty 1739 and Kabarda: the prerequisites for recognition and the potential of implementation 


The Belgrade Treaty (September, 1739), which was signed by Russia and Austria, on the one side, and Ottoman Porte, on the other side, with the mediation of France, put an end to the war of 1735-1739. In the paragraph six of the Treaty, it is mentioned that  “Both Kabardas, that’s is to say, the Big Kabarda and the Small Kabarda, and of Kabardian people”. It declares an agreement between sides to acknowledge “freedom” of Kabardas. 

The mention itself in such a significant diplomatic document, to the emergence of which the majority of the European states contributed, heralded the inclusion of eastern Circassian counties into Westphalian system of international relations. Moreover,  it is extremely important that those counties were marked as free. 

At the same time,  skeptical viewpoint prevails  in historiography on a status of Circassian polities of the New Age, articulated in that international treaty. However, set of interpretative options provided in many researches is superficial, and may be characterized by substitution of comprehensive historical analysis of situation, which arose on the edge of imperial interaction, with one-dimensional simplified schemes. In particular, excessive bias of authors’ approaches and depressing anachronism of the languages of description involved in the research can be perceived as a factor which aberrate focus of the scholars. Meanwhile, while explaining realities that conditioned acknowledgement of political existence of a small country (to be more precise in the ethnocultural context, a part of the country known since the Middle Age as Circassia) by actors of imperial level, it seems necessary to reduce the effect of a historiographic burden by means of application of the additional research efforts to constantly problematized "imperial perspectives", and by means of reference to the position of the actor from the "third space" (in-between) whose (outward) political "habitus" was determined for centuries decisively by the endogenous factors. An additional source, which amplifies the stereoscopic nature of the research view within this initiative, is the consideration of the potential for "thick" interpretation of the text of the international treaty itself.


Key words: Kabarda, international relations, political status, empire, borderland, Porte, Russia.



Islam Aidarkanov, Saint Petersburg State University


The perception of the Russian administration in the Turkestan Governor-generalship of the peculiarities of the image of the Middle Asian ‘native’ (the second half of 19th century – the beginning of the 20th century)


On the basis of intra - and inter-departmental correspondences, bills, certificates, notes, etc. local and partly central government this report  considers the development of the image of "native" from the perspective of officials of the Russian administration of Turkestan General-governorship.  The paper analyzes the most characteristic features of the image of the Central Asian "native", constructed by the Russian administration of the province. Despite the results of various scientific expeditions and the General census of 1897, which revealed a lot of different ethnic groups and characteristics of Islam depending on the regions, the management often ignored the diversity of facts and the complexity of the situation, preferring to standardise the image of  " the native" on the basis of various stereotypes of the Turkestan General-governorship. The constructed perception created  narrow framework  for  political action: administration endowed the population of Central Asia  with general characteristics, exaggerating their importance (Islamic fanaticism, and cultural backwardness, lawlessness, alienation to nation-building, rebellion;  demoting all nomads "Kyrgyzs", and the urban residents and merchants- "sartaj", "Uzbeks", etc.). A typical image prevailed in the eyes of the governing apparatus over the ethnic diversity of the region. This unification brought about the perception of  such a complex territory as  a single whole, eliminating the distinctive characteristics of each region of the Turkestan General-governorship.


Key words: aboriginal population, Kyrgyz, Muslim institutions, sarty, migrants, land reform, Russian administration constructed the image