Putting Africa back into the politics of British decolonisation

Emeritus Professor Deryck M Schreuder

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 03 September 2019


APCD Lecture Theatre, Ground floor, Hedley Bull Building #130, corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU


Emeritus Professor Deryck M Schreuder, The University of Sydney


Coral Bell School

Anthony Low Commonwealth Lecture 2019

This annual public lecture - in honour and memory of Professor Anthony Low AO, ANU Vice-Chancellor (1975-82) distinguished scholar and university administrator in Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom - will focus on Professor Low’s acute observation that African decolonisation owed as much (if not more) to local African agency as to the high global winds of change in the aftermath of World War II. Drawing from not merely recently released British State Papers, but the ‘lived experience’ of colonial Central Africa, this lecture will explore certain ‘dissonances’ between African social dynamics and global narratives of the demission of European power in the African colonial empires.

Emeritus Professor Deryck M Schreuder was born and educated in Africa – Kansenshii High (Ndola, Zambia) and Rhodes University (Grahamstown). He returned to Zambia as a history teacher during Decolonization, before taking up a Rhodes Scholarship to New College, Oxford, where he was elected Kennedy Research Fellow. He has since worked in eight universities across the Commonwealth - as lecturer and professor, research director, and twice as an Australian Vice-Chancellor (University of Western Sydney and The University of Western Australia).

He has a special connection with ANU: a Research Fellowship in the Research School of Social Sciences first brought him to Australia (1976-80) when Professor Anthony Low was Vice-Chancellor, during which time he wrote The Scramble for Southern Africa: the Politics of Partition Re-appraised, 1877-95 (1980) - awarded the ‘American Library Prize in History’ (and recently re-published in the ‘Cambridge Classics’ series).

Among his many publications, ‘colonial nationalisms’ in colonies of white settlement have been a related interest – beginning with Gladstone and Kruger: Liberal Government and Colonial ‘Home Rule’ (1969); The Rise of Colonial Nationalism (with JJ Eddy:1988); Studies in British Imperial History (ed G Martel; 1986); Imperialisms (ed, 1991); Africa Today (ed with PF Alexander and R Hutchison, 1991); and Australia’s Empire (with Stuart Ward).

Most recently, he has drawn together historical and educational interests in an edited volume on Universities for a New World: Making a Global Network International Higher Education 1913-2013 (2013). He is currently researching on Decolonisation in Central Africa.

About Professor Donald Anthony Low AO

Professor Donald Anthony Low AO (1927–2015) was Vice Chancellor of the Australian National University from 1975–1982. A distinguished scholar and renowned student mentor his work spanned modern African, Asian and Commonwealth history. He was Founding Dean of the School of African and Asian Studies and a founder of the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University (1964–1972). Other distinguished posts included Director in the Research School of Pacific Studies, ANU (1973–1975), Smuts Professor of the History of the British Commonwealth, (1983–94) and President of Clare Hall, (1987-1994), Cambridge and Founding Convenor, CRTA Canberra, 2002. His numerous publications include: (ed.) Soundings in Modern South Asian History (1968), Constitutional Heads and Political Crises (1988), The Egalitarian Moment 1950–80 (1996), Fabrication of Empire: The British and the Uganda Kingdoms, 1890–1902 (2009).

The annual Commonwealth Lecture has been an initiative of the CRTA which is grateful to the ANU for the assurance of its ongoing support for the lecture into the future.

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