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From Barataria to Utopia: Economic-Positivism, Scientific Governance, and Colonial Discourses of International Order, 1880-1940


EPOSSCIGOV examines how colonial governments in Australian Papua/New Guinea and British West Africa broke with 'humanitarian' practices of governance in the early 20th C, began implementing 'scientific' rule, eventually transferred 'scientific' principles to League of Nations mandates that they administered, and therefore made unrealized contributors to the rise of the concept of 'economic interests' in interwar international discourses of world order. It does so by building on recent methodological innovations in the examination of colonial, imperial, and international governance, considering each as necessarily entangled both in time and in colonial space. Recovering and reassembling the archive of colonial-to-international transfers, as EPOSSCIGOV proposes to do, reveals the significant number and substance of such entanglements. Likewise, EPOSSCIGOV considers the substance of these entanglements in a more complex intellectual topography, one that for the first time in any dedicated way examines such transfers in the context of the new legal theory of economic-positivism, gaining currency during the first half of the 20th century. EPOSSCIGOV's results will therefore offer new historical knowledge about the origins of European and global discourses of development, international justice, and governance that are still operational today.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/planetary science/planetary geology
  • /social sciences/sociology/governance

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Sussex House Falmer
BN1 9RH Brighton
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 224 933,76