in Britannia’s children
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This chapter shows that Britain, at the zenith of Empire and in its aftermath, believing it to be necessary and expedient, deployed racial imagery to build 'character' at home and maintain the Empire abroad. Ideas of racial difference and hierarchy were certainly alive in Britain before the end of the nineteenth century. One of the characteristics of these racial constructs in the history textbooks and popular publications was their flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of nationality and Empire. The reality of the British Empire was that it encompassed a great variety of peoples and places. In the texts which children encountered at school and at home, the colonial subject was essentially dehumanised and recast as a rationale for the maintenance of European dominance. In the post-colonial world, efforts have been made to remove the distortions from materials which children encounter in their formative years.

Britannia’s children

Reading colonialism through children’s books and magazines


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