Header Classical Roots Of (early) Modern Colonisation

Settler Colonial Paradigms (SECOPS)

Classical Receptions – Territoriality - Legality - Indigeneity

Throughout world history, the occupation of new territories by settler communities has informed the formation of specific colonial regimes, combining territorial control, the imposition of legal authority, and the eradication of indigenous cultures. The newly developed field of settler colonial studies characterizes these regimes as the elements of a particular structure with an eliminatory logic. While scholars have studied the mechanics of this logic in various modern contexts, the deep historical roots of settler colonial paradigms remain largely unexplored. Connecting experts from the humanities, social sciences, law, and geosciences, this research network aims to unveil the dominant paradigms shaping the historical development and (re)activation of settler colonialism, with a particular focus on the formative or legitimizing role of classical models and classical scholarship in this process.

SECOPS explores a series of cases to connect settler colonial practices and imaginaries in antiquity and postclassical contexts. It uncovers long-term developments across time and space by establishing the recurrent paradigms of territorial organization, legal governance, and identity discourse in settler colonial societies worldwide. Innovatively applying the insights of classical reception studies and landscape archaeology to the field of settler colonial studies, SECOPS builds a new interpretative and empirical framework for the interdisciplinary analysis of the organization and impact of settler colonialism.

Making connections
Embedded in the Caput Mundi network program, SECOPS facilitates interdisciplinary research collaboration between the faculties and departments of the University of Groningen (UG) and the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), while also establishing connections with the thriving international academic environment in Rome, with its vast resources of leading research institutes, data archives, libraries, museums and international organisations. Leveraging these resources, SECOPS provides an interdisciplinary platform that builds upon the strong research tradition at KNIR and UG in the field of colonization studies. Focusing on the organization, mentalities and impact of colonial rule, this research highlights the long history and resilience of colonial paradigms, often leading back to classical antiquity, which continue to shape the modern world.

To cultivate strong professional and personal connections and foster enduring and successful interdisciplinary research collaborations, SECOPS sponsors and organizes:

  • Research seminars held at both KNIR and UG, providing a platform for scholars and selected guest speakers to engage in discussions about their work. These sessions contribute to the establishment of academic networks and the development of research agendas for future studies;
  • In-depth round table meetings at KNIR, bringing together scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to collaboratively identify research synergies among themselves and with international partners. The academic setting at the KNIR campus provides an exceptional context for building robust professional and personal connections, which are essential for establishing enduring and successful research collaborations;
  • Interdisciplinary courses at various academic levels, aimed at equipping the next generation of scholars with skills in thematic and interdisciplinary thinking;
  • An international conference at Groningen, bringing together international experts working on settler colonialism;
  • Post-doctoral research by Dinah Wouters, focusing on the role of the classical tradition in Dutch colonialism;
  • Collaborative initiatives with governmental and other societal partners, such as museums, dedicated at investigating and conveying the mechanisms and consequences of settler colonialism.

Project directors: Tesse Stek (KNIR), Jeremia Pelgrom (UG)

Core team: Susanna de Beer (KNIR), Mark Thompson (UG), Maria Bonaria Urban (KNIR), Arthur Weststeijn (UU), Dinah Wouters (UG)

Connection to existing KNIR projects