It has begun to seem clear that the modern British Empire was driven by a remarkable amount of uncertainty. Far from the shameless and confident enterprise some once imagined, the value and proper shape of overseas expansion was – from Hakluyt to Hobson – a matter of constant and consistent debate.
Globalization, some have argued, has created a borderless world by breaking down the physical barriers to the movement of people, products and ideas. Technological advance further facilitates the free circulation of information. Despite their obsession with the past, historians, archivists and publishers in the history field have not been slow to embrace the new digital technology.
ProQuest Historical Newspapers has been in existence for a decade. The version under review includes runs of 30 newspapers, predominantly from the United States, spanning the years 1764–2005 and totalling some 27 million pages.
‘When did the West first seek reconciliation with Communist China?’, asks the blurb on the dust jacket of Patrick Wright’s latest book, Passport to Peking.
In a 2009 review article on the study of Ireland’s relationship with the British Empire, Stephen Howe lamented the polarity of historiographical opinion surrounding the problems of Irish identity in a British imperial context.
Despite the flurry of works over the past 20 years or so which have explored the course and consequences of colonial rule in India, and increasingly the impact that such rule had upon British society, the period before the Battle of Plassey has remained for the most part insulated from questions about the ideologies and operations of territorial governance.
Popular references to Calcutta (now Kolkata) – once the gleaming capital of British India – in Anglo-American contexts often conjure images of poverty, crowded city streets, unbearable traffic, smog, and residents that require a savior.
In 1920, Sir Lionel Abrahams, an Assistant Under Secretary of State at the India Office, likened India’s finances in Britain to ‘rivers running into a lake on one side and so many rivers running out of the lake at the other side’.
The historical literature on Afghanistan and the various armed conflicts fought on its soil has greatly increased in recent years, due to the tragic events following the American-led invasion of the country in October 2001.