Teresa Segura-Garcia, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Unexpected Voices in Imperial Parliaments, ed. by Josep M. Fradera, José María Portillo, and Teresa Segura-Garcia. London: Bloomsbury, 2021
This collection follows the extraordinary careers of nine colonial subjects who won seats in high-level parliamentary institutions of the imperial powers that ruled over them. Revealing an unexplored dimension of the complex political organisation of modern empires, the essays show how early imperial constitutions allowed for the emergence of these unexpected members of parliament, asks how their presence was possible, and unveils the reactions across metropolitan circles, local communities and the voters who brought them to office. Unearthing the entanglements between political life in metropolitan and non-European societies, it illuminates the ambiguous zones, the margins for negotiation, and the emerging forms of leadership in colonial societies. From a Hispanicised Inca nobleman, to recently emancipated slaves and African colonial subjects, in linking these individuals and their political careers together, Unexpected Voices in Imperial Parliaments argues that the political organisation of modern empires incorporated the voices of the colonised and the non-European, in an ambiguous relationship that led to a widening of political participation and action throughout the imperial world. In doing so, this book offers a comprehensive but nuanced reassessment of the making and unmaking of modern empires.