When I was an undergraduate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the early 1980s, the School had a motto: knowledge is power. Students of a radical inclination would denounce this explicit evocation of the School's imperial origins, and evidently the criticism took its toll.
As the bicentenary of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade approached, the past few years saw a great outpouring of scholarship on subjects related to the relationship between Britain, slavery, race and empire, with particular focus upon Britain's entry into participation in the slave trade and plantation agriculture, and upon the rise of popular opposition to slavery.
This study has several claims for attention, not least on account of its focus on Van Diemen’s Land from the time of its colonial beginnings as a place of secondary punishment from New South Wales in 1803 to the conclusion of direct transportation in 1853: the fifty years covered by the work offer a substantial analysis of the whole period of its existence as a penal colony from its inception u
The interaction between western men's and native women's sexuality makes the human body central to the articulation of colonial/imperial ideologies. Setting her study in eighteenth-century British India, Ghosh emphasises a pan-imperial understanding of body, and the role of race, gender and sexuality in empire-building in the early modern period.
Mary-Anne (Read) Rawson (1801–87) was everyone and no one. Raised in a family on the cusp of a professionalizing industrial Sheffield, as presented in Alison Twells’s study, Mary-Anne and women like her both personified the absolute personal intimacy of evangelical piety, and married their belief and middle class privilege with a public critique of both the poor and poverty.
Sascha Auerbach’s Race, Law and ‘The Chinese Puzzle’ in Imperial Britain is a truly unsettling account of how in the 19th and early 20th centuries media, politicians, trade unionists, writers, thespians, film makers, and not least police and court officials across the British realm stolidly and uncompromisingly articulated and executed racist, Sinophobic judgements, deliberately whippe
Scholars continue to find new things to say about the Irish Diaspora. For many of them-especially those in Ireland and America-the term Diaspora, when applied to the Irish, has a deep, politicised meaning. We can see this point exemplified in two observations.
In 1994 I published a now widely cited and highly regarded volume entitled Immigration, Ethnicity and Racism in Britain, 1815–1914 (1), which, at the time, faced critical comment.
John Smolenski, Associate Professor of History at University of California- Davis, begins his tome, Friends and Strangers: The Making of a Creole Culture in Colonial Pennsylvania (a work within the Early American Studies series) with an appropriate discussion of and lesson on the complex etymology of the word creole.
Why are so many West Indians who were born in the first half of the 20th century so enamoured with Britain, British culture and its monarchy, even in the early 21st century?