Loading Events

The unraveling of the British colonial regime

5 May 2023 @ 14:00 - 6 May 2023 @ 13:00


  • Past event


5 May 2023 @ 14:00
6 May 2023 @ 13:00
Event Category:
Outreach Events

The unraveling of the British colonial regime

A Symposium on “America before 1787”, Jon Elster’s latest book (Princeton UP, 25 April 2023)

With America before 1787, Jon Elster explores the increasingly uneasy relations between Britain and its American colonies and the social movements through which the thirteen colonies overcame their seemingly deep internal antagonisms.
Elster documents the importance of the radical uncertainty about their opponents that characterized both British and American elites and reveals the often neglected force of enthusiasm, and of emotions more generally, in shaping beliefs and in motivating actions. He provides the first detailed examinations of “divide and rule” as a strategy used on both sides of the Atlantic and of the rise and fall of collective action movements among the Americans. Elster also explains how the gradual undermining in America of the British imperial system took its toll on transatlantic relations and describes how state governments and the American Confederation made crucial institutional decisions that informed and constrained the making of the Constitution.

Drawing on a wide range of historical sources and on theories of modern social science, Elster brings together two fields of scholarship in innovative and original ways. The result is a unique synthesis that yields new insights into some of the most important events in modern history.

The author will participate in person and reply to the speakers’ comments.


Friday 5th May
14:00 Welcome – Diego GambettaCollegio Carlo Alberto 

    Chair Stephen Holmes, New York University

14:15 Richard Bourke, Cambridge University
15:15 Adam Lebovitz, Cambridge University

16:15 Coffee break

16:45 Stephanie Novak, Ca’ Foscari University

Saturday 6th May
10:00 Coffee

    Chair Adam Przeworski, New York University

10:30 John Ferejohn, New York University
11:30 Stephen Holmes, New York University

12:30 Conclusions