The Language of ‘Authoritarian’ Regimes

Currently based in the University of Sheffield’s Department of History, ‘The Language of ‘Authoritarian’ Regimes is a collaborative project intended to explore and problematise ‘authoritarianism’, broadly defined. The concept of ‘authoritarianism’ has through overuse been somewhat emptied of critical meaning. Often considered a shorthand descriptor for political ‘others’ of the West, the term can serve to disregard the political plurality and cultural diversity of and within ‘authoritarian’ regimes, as well as the social histories of their populations.

The project therefore aims to provide nuance to the rigid distinction between ‘authoritarian’ and ‘democratic’ politics, or of similar binaries and oppositions which are often informed by Cold War and (neo)colonial assumptions, in order to more fully understand the nature and practise of power and relationships within and between states and populations.

The project seeks to provide a space in which those working on ‘authoritarianism’ can share critical reflections on usages and practises of ‘authoritarianism’ in the study of contemporary and historical contexts, enriching knowledge of the diverse cultures and societies frequently written off as ‘authoritarian’, and making connections between history and issues in the present day.

We welcome contributions that speak to this aim from a range of geographical, methodological or historical perspectives, and from all levels of study inside and outside ‘the academy’.

For more information or queries, please contact:
Hannah Parker:
Stephanie Wright: