“Suočavanje Evrope sa Njenom Kolonijalnom Prošlošću” [Europe Facing Its Colonial Past], eds. D. Babić, R. Petrović, J. Vićentić, Institute of European Studies, Belgrade 2021.
The collection of papers “Europe Facing Its Colonial Past” came from the series of lectures of the same name organized by the Institute for European Studies, which lasts from January to May 2021. The collection was published by the Institute for European Studies, the editors are MSc Danilo Babić, MSc Rajko Petrović and MSc Jelena Vićentić, and the reviewers are Prof. Dr. Radmila Nakarada and Dr. Aleksandar Saša Gajić.
Before us is a collection that, in a thorough and systematic way, strives to re-actualize decolonial and postcolonial studies in the Serbian academic community after several decades. The aim of this collection is not to preserve the memory of colonialism, but, as Robert Young would say, to pay tribute to the triumph over it. The papers describe the mechanisms of action of various colonial powers, their effects on colonized countries as well as the consequences of colonialism on modern societies of colonizers and colonized. In the attached works, we can clearly establish the distinction between the narratives of different colonial models. In the case of Portugal and Spain – the pioneers of colonialism, there is a desire for enrichment and adventure from which only subsequently develops colonialism as an organized system of exploitation. Scandinavian countries perceive their colonialism as a benevolent activity completely separate from any suffering and horror. In Belgium, its own colonial model is presented as the well-intentioned adoption of an unwanted orphan. However, in the face of criticism, the well-intentioned confusion instantly grows into passive aggression aimed at preserving the monarchy’s reputation. By analyzing Dutch colonialism, we see the unbreakable link between colonialism and the modern capitalist system. British colonialism is represented through the eyes of India, whose economy paid the price for the industrialization of Great Britain. Colonized peoples must become the subject, not the object of analysis. That is why the French colonial model has been observed throughout the history of the Haitians. The German colonial model is certainly the most tragic, not because it differs from others in its brutality, but because the monstrosities over the population of Namibia have gone unnoticed only because of the skin color of the victims. Attention is also paid to the Middle East region and the actualization of the somewhat forgotten topic of Iran’s encounter with European colonialism and aspects of internal colonialism in the Ottoman Empire, which later itself became the prey of the colonial appetites of European countries.