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Building Eurafrica: Reviving Colonialism through European Integration, 1920-2007


This project investigates the relation of European integration to colonialism by retrieving a once influential notion: Eurafrica. Through sources mainly in the EU's historical archives, it demonstrates that the incorporation into the EEC of the member states' colonial possessions was a necessary condition for the agreement on the Rome Treaty in 1957 and hence for the founding of today's EU. This by now forgotten fact is clarified by a historical investigation of how, from the 1920s until the late 1950s, practically all of the movements and institutions working towards European integration placed Africa's geopolitical and economic incorporation into the European enterprise as a key objective.


Colonial/postcolonial, European integration , Globalization


Eurafrica was a geopolitical representation, an intellectual beacon and a political project that from the 1920s saw Europe's future survival, its continued existence in history as a power shaping global history, as totally bound up with Europe's successful merger with Africa. According to this view, Europe could rise out of the two world wars only in the shape of Eurafrica. In its time, Eurafrica was tremendously influential in the process of European integration. Today, the Eurafrican project is largely forgotten, yet the content of current EU policy-making towards its African 'partner' demonstrates that it has continued influence under the surface, and the only way to comprehend the deep structures of today's EU-African relations is to bring this history to life.
Primarily based in archival reserach, the project also contains an examination of the international news reporting and other printed material of the 1940s and 1950s that reveal how the Eurafrican project was intensely debated in the very period when European integration, the future of colonialism and budding African independence movements were at issue. The project goes on to analyze how the association to the EEC of colonial Africa impacted on the process of decolonization, and how the 'Eurafrican legacy' continues to affect the EU's relations to Africa. Finally, the project seeks to explain why the link between European integration and colonialism is neglected in both EU studies and historiographies, and it develops new theoretical approaches that situate European integration in the context of global history.
The project is a continuation of a former one 'European Integration and European Colonialism: Reconstructing a Historical Relation, Deconstructing a Current Historiography' also funded by Vetenskapsrådet, Swedish Research Council. Apart from articles, seminars and lectures, the project will result in a compact academic book manuscript entitled Eurafrica: The Untold History of European Integration and Colonialism (Bloomsbury Academic), and a second, more comprehensive book Building Eurafrica: Reviving Colonialism through European Integration, 1920-2007, a fully documented, in-depth discussion of all aspects of the Eurafrican project -- its history, implementation, significance for EU-history, continued consequences for Euro-African relations, effects on African history and repercussions in today's conflicts around the Mediterranean -- as well as a complete treatment of previous research on European integration and colonialism.


(Including publications written in the previous project European Integration and European Colonialism.)

Hansen, Peo & Jonsson, Stefan. Eurafrica: The Untold History of European Integration and Colonialism. London: Bloomsbury Academic. Forthcoming 2014.

Hansen, Peo & Jonsson, Stefan (2014) 'Building Eurafrica: Reviving Colonialism through European Integration, 1920-1960'. In Echoes of Colonialism: The Present of Europe's Past, ed. Kalypso Nicolaidis and Berny Sèbe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hansen, Peo & Jonsson, Stefan (2014) 'Another Colonialism: Africa in the History of European Integration'. Journal of Historical Sociology.

Hansen, Peo & Jonsson, Stefan (2013) 'A Statue to Nasser? Eurafrica, the Colonial Roots of European Integration, and the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize'. Mediterranean Quarterly, 24: 4.

Hansen, Peo & Jonsson, Stefan (2012) 'Imperial Origins of European Integration and the Case of Eurafrica: A Reply to Gary Marks.' Journal of Common Market Studies 50: 6.

Hansen, Peo & Jonsson, Stefan (2012) 'Demographic Colonialism: EU-African Migration Management and the Legacy of Eurafrica', i Migration, Work and Citizenship in a Global Age, ed. Delgado-Wise, Munck, R. and Schierup, C-U. London: Routledge.

Hansen, Peo & Jonsson, Stefan (2011) 'Demographic Colonialism: EU-African Migration Management and the Legacy of Eurafrica.' Globalizations 8: 3: 261?276.

Hansen, Peo & Jonsson, Stefan (2011) ''Bringing Africa as a Dowry To Europe': European Integration and the Eurafrican Project, 1920-1960.' Interventions: Journal of Postcolonial Studies 13: 3: 443?463.

Jonsson, Stefan (2010) 'Två försök till Europa.' I Rapport från Sopornas planet: Kritiska essäer. Stockholm: Norstedts.

Hansen, Peo (2010) 'More Barbwire or More Immigration, or Both? EU Migration Policy in the Nexus of Border Security Management and Neoliberal Economic Growth.' The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, Vol. 11, No. 1.

Hansen, Peo & Jonsson, Stefan (2010). 'Eurafrika.' Invandrare & Minoriteter, No. 3, June.

Jonsson, Stefan (2009) 'Europe through Africa, Africa through Europe: Reconstructing the Relation of European Integration and Colonialism', in Mai Palmberg (ed.) What's Culture Got to Do with it? Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.

Hansen, Peo (2004). 'In the name of Europe.' Race & Class: A Journal on Racism, Empire and Globalization, Vol. 45, No. 3.

Hansen, Peo (2003). 'Ett 'EUropa' i avkoloniseringens väntrum.' Sociologisk Forskning, No. 4, 2003.

Hansen, Peo (2002). 'European Integration, European Identity and the Colonial Connection. European Journal of Social Theory', Vol. 5, No. 4.

2011 - 2015


Linköpings universitet

REMESO Project Leader

Stefan Jonsson, Professor

Participants from REMESO

Peo Hansen

Contact for project


Last updated: 2013-12-12

Page responsible: erik.berggren@liu.se
Last updated: 2020-05-27