Patrick Soulsby – The Legacies of Colonialism and the Final Solution: An Intellectual History of British and French anti-racist memory culture c. 1980-2000

Patrick is a second-year History PhD candidate affiliated with the Department of English, History and Creative Writing.

“As a GTA, my research is funded by the University and has afforded me a valuable opportunity to develop my professional and academic skills.

“My thesis explores the various ways in which memory cultures (particularly of the Holocaust and British/French colonialism) manifest, develop and are expressed by anti-racist movements on both sides of the Channel. To what extent is memory used as part of anti-racist activism and how is it invoked? I am particularly interested in the way in which post-colonial communities in Britain and France draw upon the respective legacies of the colonial past as a means of holding society to account for contemporary racism. How do colonial memories migrate to a post-colonial context? How are such memories negotiated and contested by various anti-racist movements?

“My focus is largely on anti-racist literature published in the 1980s and 1990s. By reading anti-racist journals such as Le Droit de Vivre by the Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme (LICRA) and Searchlight magazine (to name only a few) this thesis will explore the central tropes and points of reference of anti-racist memory. The thesis will also make use of interviews with veteran and contemporary anti-racist activists on both sides of the Channel.

“In addition to my research, I am also active in the Ethnicity, ‘Race’ and Racism Seminar (ERRS). I assist in the organisation of talks and presentations and co-ordinated the successful fifth annual symposium last year on the subject ‘The 1970s: The High Tide of British Anti-Racism?’”.