Alan Lester
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Spatial concepts and the historical geographies of British colonialism
in Writing imperial histories
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The boundaries that used to delimit separate domains of British history, imperial history, area studies and the histories of former colonies have been traversed promiscuously. John MacKenzie's own challenge to the artificial boundary often placed between Britain and its empire has been amplified by the emergence of an already large and still growing body of work now conventionally referred to as the 'new imperial history', In more recent years geographers have participated in the new imperial history's revised understanding of colonial spatiality. The conventional way of escaping the confines of a singular spatial unit in order to gain broader perspective in the writing of history has been the comparative method. Julie Evans and her team, for example, tell the story of the betrayal of Britain's 'civilising mission' during the nineteenth century through the parallel histories of racial exclusion from the franchise in each of the settler colonies.

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