A demographic history of colonial populations: Pioneers, settlers and mixed populations (16th-20th Centuries)

Lyon, France, 25-26 November 2013

IUSSP Panel on Historical Demography and Centre Jacques Cartier


Deadline for submissions: 25 March 2013


Continental populations, and more specifically the African and American populations as we know them today, are the result of complex historical processes. Thus, from the 16th Century, European powers established colonial empires in the African and American continents. Settlement histories have been quite diverse and generated new populations formed through immigration and sometimes mixed unions.


The establishment of those new populations did not only depend on the size of the native populations at the time of European contact, but also on the interactions between the aboriginal groups and the newcomers. Three kinds of processes can be identified. First, in some cases, indigenous populations that were demographically numerous lived close but strictly separated from European settlers. Despite prohibitions of marriages and sexual relations between members of different “races” children of mixed ancestry were born from these contacts, as was the case for example in Algeria and South Africa. In a second case, unions between natives and settlers or their descendants were frequent and led to the creation of new populations with mixed ancestry. It was for example the case in Brazil, Mexico, and to some extent in Angola. In many countries, such as Brazil, slaves coming from Africa and their descendants also contributed to the formation of multiracial / mixed societies. Third, some original populations were decimated and replaced by populations of pioneers, as in most of North America. One interesting case is when the European immigrants, from various origins, mixed together (for example in New-Orleans, Canada, but also Algeria). Moreover, extra-European migrants made sometimes even more complex the relations between different populations. We can cite the presence of Indians in South Africa or in La Réunion, as well as Japanese in Peru, and Syrians and Lebanese in Brazil. 


The objective of this workshop is to take stock of present knowledge on the formation of new colonial populations and the role played by the mix of people from various ancestries in those processes. The first day could be devoted to global approaches: volume of immigration, occupation of the land, social structures, categorization and durability of the new populations. During the second day, the emphasis could be on a more precise approach based on marriage records. Demographic behaviours (differential reproduction, mobility …) could also be considered here. 


Scientific committee:

Alain Bideau, CNRS

Guy Brunet, University of Lyon 2

Alain Gagnon, University of Montreal

Raquel Gil Montero, University of Tucuman / IUSSP Panel on Historical Demography

Kamel Kateb, Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques, Paris

Michel Oris, University of Geneva / IUSSP Panel on Historical Demography

François-Joseph Ruggiu, University of Paris IV


Practical information: 

The workshop will be held in Lyon, 25 and 26 of November 2013, with 15 participants.

It will be part of the 26th edition of the Entretiens Jacques Cartier.

We invite proposals until March 25. A title and a half-page abstract have to be sent to Guy.Brunet@univ-lyon2.fr

Submissions can be made in English or in French. Presentations and discussions will take place in French or in English. No simultaneous translation will be provided.

Submission should be made by the author who will attend the seminar. If the paper is co-authored, please indicate the names and affiliations of co-authors at the end of the abstract. 

The scientific committee will immediately proceed to the selection and give an answer by March 31.

The Centre Jacques Cartier will generously cover the travel cost and the lodging in Lyon for one author per selected paper.


Submit title and a half-page abstract by email to: Guy.Brunet@univ-lyon2.fr