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Barbara Arneil

Barbara Arneil

NIAS Theme Group

Project title

Origins of Domestic Colonies in Europe

Research question

This research project seeks to identify what the first origins of domestic colonialism were and how the idea of colonies for the poor and/or disabled circulated amongst leading thinkers in England, Scotland, France and the Netherlands at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century.

Project description

Building upon my research in my book, Domestic Colonies (2017) that examined colonies within Europe for the ‘idle poor’ and disabled, this research seeks to identify how the idea of domestic colonies circulated amongst leading thinkers in England, Scotland, France and the Netherlands at the end of the 18th century and first half of the 19th century. The Colonies of Benevolence in the Netherlands and Belgium, recently designated by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage sites were created by Johannes van den Bosch and are amongst the first colonies in Europe.  Through this research project I hope to examine the creation of similar colonies in the UK around the same time and whether there was a circulation of ideas between various correspondents in Britain, France and the Netherlands about such colonies; including the degree to which specific proposals by Sir John Sinclair, the Scottish Founding President of the British Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement, Arthur Young, Editor of the Annals of Agriculture and the famous English philosopher Jeremy Bentham were known and circulated in continental Europe.  Given such colonies in the Netherlands and the UK were seen by their defenders as comprehensive solutions to poverty and provided universal primary education, the degree to which they can be understood as origins of the welfare state in Europe in its most embryonic form will also be examined.

Selected publications

Domestic Colonies: The Turn Inward to Colony, Oxford University Press, 2017.

  • Co-winner, David Easton Book Award, American Political Science Association Foundations of Political Theory (2017)
  • Winner, C.B. MacPherson Prize, Canadian Political Science Association Best Book in Political Theory (2016-17)
  • Winner, British Columbia Political Studies Association Best Book in Politics (2016-17)

Disability and Political Theory (co-edited with Nancy Hirschmann), Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Diverse Communities: The Problem with Social Capital, CUP, 2006.

  • Shortlisted for CB MacPherson Prize, CPSA (Top three books in political theory 2006-7)

Sexual Justice/Cultural Justice: Critical Perspectives in Theory and Practise, Arneil, Barbara, Avigail Eisenberg, Monique Deveaux, Rita Dhamoon (eds.) London: Routledge, 2006.

Politics and Feminism, Blackwell’s Press, Oxford, 1999.

John Locke and America: The Defence of English Colonialism, Oxford University Press, 1996.