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Lecture Series on Colonialism | 29 May, 14:00 | William Nelson (Toronto) | The Effects of Colonial History on the French Revolution

When? Wednesday, 29 May, 14:00

Where? H 22, University Campus

William Nelson, Associate Professor at the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto, is currently a visiting fellow of the Leibniz ScienceCampus. Prof. Nelson is an expert in the intellectual history of the Enlightenment and French Revolution, holding a MA from University of Chicago as well as a MA and PhD from University of California–Los Angeles. His research interests span from the emergence of ideas about time, race, colonialism, and biopolitics in eighteenth-century France and the Atlantic world. Notable works include "Enlightenment Biopolitics (Chicago, 2024), "The Time of Enlightenment (Toronto, 2021)," and co-editing "The French Revolution in Global Perspective (Cornell, 2013)." 

The talk is part of the lecture series Colonialism: Different Approaches and Different Areas, organised by Rike Krämer-Hoppe, Professor of Public Law and Transregional Norm Development at DIMAS and the Faculty of Law at UR. Find the full programme here.

The event is open to the public and all interested colleagues and students. Students wishing to receive credits sign up for the course via SPUR. The Lecture Series is supported by the Hans-Vielberth University Foundation.


The lecture will explore the effects of the colonial project on metropolitan France in the eighteenth century, with a special focus on ideas of regeneration and projects to transform the population during the French Revolution. Ideas of regeneration and biopolitical projects developed out of the historical movement of people, ideas, objects, and administrative practices between the metropole and the colonies, particularly those in the Atlantic world.