Empires, diasporas and cultural circulation
in Writing imperial histories
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The Studies in Imperialism series has pioneered a comparative and connected approach to imperial history. This chapter aims to reflect on the circulation of peoples, ideas and cultures across empires, and to probe the challenge that the study of diasporas poses for writing imperial histories. It focuses on the British empire; diasporas crossed imperial boundaries and their journeys might provide the basis for an interimperial history. By the late Victorian period, consciousness of an Anglophone cultural community gave rise to expansive visions of a 'Greater Britain', of an imperial federation of English-speaking peoples. At the dawn of the twentieth century, Gandhi was among the large number of intellectuals in colonised parts of Asia and Africa who remained loyal to the British empire. The Chinese diaspora was also the source of the ideas that animated the colonial public sphere.


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