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Published on Tuesday, November 23, 2021


Les communications attendues pour ce colloque mettront en lumière les transformations du travail, ses conditions, sa mesure, la manière dont il est compté, pris en compte, classé et encadré, dans différentes configurations impériales et coloniales. Elles correspondront chacune à une période et une aire géographique différente de la période post-esclavagiste. La comparaison de ces situations vise à acquérir à une connaissance plus fine de la main d’œuvre en situation coloniale, ressource essentielle du développement des empires (coloniaux). Elle conduira à une clarification des enjeux de l’organisation et de la mobilisation du travail, et à une meilleure compréhension des tensions qui les traversent, des luttes et des consensus qu’elles génèrent dans des circonstances historiques et géographiques différentes.



Expected communications will shed light on the transformations of work, its conditions, its measurement, the way it is counted, taken into account, classified and framed, in different imperial and colonial configurations. They will each correspond to a different period and geographical area of the post-slavery period. The comparison of these situations enables a better and finer knowledge of an essential resource in the development of (colonial) empires, labour. It will lead to a clarification of the stakes involved in the organisation and mobilisation of work, and to a better understanding of the tensions that run through them, the struggles and the consensus that they generate in different historical and geographical circumstances. In doing so, the congress intends both to analyse and compare the organisation, conditions and performance of labour in imperial configurations, in metropoles or colonies, in a period, between the 18th and 20th centuries, shaped by significant critical junctures and major political transitions, such as global colonial expansionism, technical and technological revolutions, the growing importance of international and transnational organizations, decolonisation, the Cold War rivalries, and the collapse of the Soviet bloc, among others. 

The comparisons made in these communications will enable the clarification of the extent to which labour outcomes (productivity - profitability) were meaningfully connected - or not - with the forms and degree of constraints imposed on workers, if they depended on the latter. They will also provide an opportunity to discuss the effects of efforts to standardise the discourses and normative assessments about labour since the formation of international institutions in the aftermath of the First World War. Finally, they will clarify how the different political or economic organizations of empires and states shaped, or at least influenced, the (in)efficiency of labour. This criterion of ‘efficiency’ will be discussed in each of the configurations discussed. Accordingly, some of the communications will shed light on the impact of technical and political transitions on mobilising manpower. Others will question the centrality of productivity in late colonialism and decolonization and the organization of labour. The last group will examine the characteristics of labour, its composition or its coerced and forced modalities.

This congress aims to cross-reference the approaches of both experienced and novice researchers who put labour, as a resource, and workers, as a category, as well as the comparative and imperial dimensions at the heart of their concerns. 

The congress will be organized at the campus of Condorcet-Aubervilliers (France) just before the WEHC in 21-22 of July 2022, salle 0.010.


  • Beatrice Touchelay
  • Emmanuelle Sibeud
  • Miguel Bandeira Jeronimo 

Submission guidelines

Proposals (a page of presentation, mobilized archives, principal research questions) with a tittle and half a page of biography (function, institution and the last publications) have to be send to:

  • beatrice.touchelay@univ-lille.fr 


  • mbjeronimo@gmail.com

before the 30th of January

The answers will be quick (before the end of February), in order to organize the congress. 

Scientific committee

  • Gareth Austin, University of Cambridge 
  • Miguel Bandeira Jeronimo, University of Coimbra
  • Andreas Eckert, Humbolt University, Berlin
  • Guy Pierre, University of Haiti
  • Laure Piguet, University of Geneva
  • Emmanuelle Sibeud, University of Paris 8-Saint Denis
  • Alessandro Stanziani, EHESS, Paris
  • Sarah Stockwell, King’s College London
  • Béatrice Touchelay, University of Lille



  • Salle 0.010 - Campus Condorcet
    Aubervilliers, France (93)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


  • Sunday, January 30, 2022


  • empire, travail, colonisation, statistique, mesure


  • Beatrice Touchelay
    courriel : beatrice [dot] touchelay [at] free [dot] fr

Information source

  • Beatrice Touchelay
    courriel : beatrice [dot] touchelay [at] free [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« La mesure du travail à l’échelle des empires », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, https://calenda.org/938375

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