By the time George Lamming wrote In the Castle of My Skin, he was able to translate the fear, misery and violence he had witnessed into a sophisticated literary analysis of the complexities of poverty and powerlessness. His arrival in Britain coincided with an explosion of Caribbean literature and poetry. Freedom was essential if the individual was to become fully human and the ego whole rather than incomplete. For Lamming, the search for authenticity necessitated a profound reworking of the colonial relationship. All of Lamming's fiction is concerned with migrants, leaving or returning to the Caribbean. He has been as involved in politics as in literature and for over a decade published no novels, focusing instead on critical, editorial and political work. His aesthetics led him to reflect on authenticity and oppression, to translate those philosophical musings into political action and critical reflection on the lingering impact of colonialism.
George Padmore represents a particular variant on the theme of emigration which underwrites the story of twentieth-century Caribbean intellectuals. He was an intellectual formed deep in the vortex of the age of extremes, and for most of his life he espoused positions which others perceived to be both extreme and fanatical. He was also inducted into politics in the USA and through Communism, though from the outset he was fired by the injustices of race and colonialism. The main contours of Padmore's political thought from the days of The Negro Worker to the time of the Pan-African Congress in Manchester in October 1945 are reviewed. Padmore showed every sign that he had mastered the culture of the colonisers, having learned to inhabit Englishness at perfect pitch. He expressed the elementary truth that colonialism has neither moral nor intellectual justification.
On 26 August 1913, Emma (Meg) Gehrts embarked on a one year journey to the German “Schutzgebiet” Togo. She accompanied the explorer and film‐maker Hans Schomburgk to perform the female lead in the first movie filmed on site with African supernumeraries, called “The White Goddess of the Wangora.” As the first European woman to set foot into many villages of the hinterland, her pale skin sent little children screaming, afraid of an ugly man‐eating monster. Gehrt’s travel journal has been lauded as one of the primary examples of German “humanistic” colonial literature, characterized by a growing respect of African peoples and their cultures. In contrast to this interpretation, this chapter argues that her text was in fact part of a multimedia complex (also including film and photographs) which was located in both, British and German colonial discourses alike. It sketched an intricate picture of the preconceptions, misunderstandings, and bargaining processes that structured the African‐German encounter.
This chapter focuses on the accomplishments of Gordon, once appointed governor-general of the Sudan. Gordon felt compelled to remain in Khartoum and the Government did not have courage order him to withdraw. The Government endorsed the plans of Wolseley and his Red River veterans for an expedition up the Nile as a purportedly less expensive, less risky and less difficult option than constructing a railway from Suakin to Berber, with another 200 miles upstream to Khartoum. The ensuing expedition involved the despatch of 9,000 men and 40,000 tons of stores and munitions up the Nile. Wolseley arrived in Cairo on 9 September 1884, with plans to send his soldiers by train and steamer to Wadi Halfa, then south of the second cataract by specially designed whale-boats. Wolseley's forces remained in the Sudan until mid-summer despite failing to relieve Gordon, who was killed in the storming of Khartoum (26 January 1885), and Graham commanded another 13,000 soldiers in operations near Suakin.
This chapter focuses on the progress of missions with the history, the literature, the customs, and the mythology of Indian people, and which combined a general view of this interesting field, with the advancement of the truth. The notion of caste emerged during the formative stages of the British imagination of India. Caste attracted the hostility of evangelicals because it was seen as a powerful barrier to conversion, enlightenment and progress, and the mainstay of arguments against intervention in Indian customs. And yet caste was understood with neither rigour nor consistency. The term caste was used interchangeably with race, sect, tribe and even nation to denote a population seen to possess common traits. Indeed, it was this versatility that promoted the cavalier use of caste to provide pseudo-scientific status to theories on the nature of Indian society.
Julie Evans, Patricia Grimshaw, David Philips and Shurlee Swain
This chapter traces the story of the expansion of the British Empire up to the mid-1830s in North America, southern Africa and Australasia, and offers a subsequent reappraisal of colonial administration in these regions. An overview of Britain's gradual acquisition of settler colonies as men and women of European origin appropriated Indigenous peoples' lands in these regions is presented. In the later 1830s, British imperial policies towards the rights of the Indigenous peoples of the Empire, and towards the political rights of settlers, made as they were from the British Empire's center in London, showed a degree of uniformity. The settler colonies later diverged from the central control to form their own governments. The key tensions from which these differing paths emerged can be illustrated by examining the content, recommendations and subsequent implementation of two influential reports, both emanating from the British Parliament of the 1830s: the Report of the Select Committee on Aborigines of 1837 and the Report on the Affairs of British North America, or the Durham Report, of 1839.
This chapter puts forward the idea of racial theory. The pioneering Henry Mayhew borrowed freely from contemporary racial theory, and putative logic was undermined by the plurality of empirical material on the experience of the poor recorded in the corpus of his work. The trope of racialization locates shifts in the construction of the poor within the imperial formation, and provides a more satisfactory explanation of their chronology and nature than those focusing exclusively on domestic politics and social policy. The chapter explores the workings of this symbolic process. To understand the active construction of racial identities in this period, there is a need to go beyond the convention of identifying characteristics of racial stereotyping, to an investigation of the subtle and powerful mechanisms through which they were created. The chapter also considers how modernist impulses transformed the discursive realm of the poor. Toward the end of the century anonymous crowds from an unknown abyss surfaced upon the urban landscape; race, however, remained the principal referent.
The Philippines and its inhabitants in the travel accounts of Carl Semper (1869) and Fedor Jagor (1873)
Hidde van der Wall
This chapter discusses the travelogues of two German anthropologists exploring the Philippines around 1870: Carl Semper (1868) and Fedor Jagor (1873). It analyses how these texts describe and categorise the various groups living in the Philippines, and how they value the impact of colonialism. Presenting several aspects of the country for a general public, these texts stand at the crossroads of travel writing and scholarly literature. These accounts provided a basis for the thriving German scholarly discourse on Philippine peoples, cultures and languages in the late nineteenth century. The archipelago received particular German attention, in a context of the waning of Spanish colonial power, which drew the Philippines into the focus of German imperialist ambitions. The analysis will view the travelogues as part of a scholarly discourse which carried Eurocentric colonial projections, but also fed Philippine nationalism.
This chapter provides the information on several interventions in Egypt that contrasted with recent campaigns in Africa and Afghanistan. The interventions in Egypt involved the largest expeditionary force despatched by Britain since the Crimean War and achieved a decisive outcome in less than two months. The campaign avoided any reverses such that Isandlwana, Maiwand or Majuba, and reflected impressive co-operation between the armed services. The intervention was a response to the growth of the nationalist movement in Egypt under the military leadership of Arabi Pasha, the Egyptian minister of war, and its burgeoning hostility towards European control over Khedive Tewfik's Government and its finances. This hostility reached a crescendo when riots erupted in Alexandria (11 June 1882), involving the so-called massacre of Christians and the flight of many Europeans. The reluctance of the Porte or France to support intervention ensured that it would be an exclusively British affair. The entire First Class Army Reserve was called out and forces were despatched from England, the Mediterranean garrisons and India.
This chapter explores the general crisis in the production of knowledge about India, which rose about from the forged homologies with London, by British observers during the nineteenth century. Attempts to locate India historically similarly drew upon implicit understandings and served to consolidate Company administration. As the century closed, evangelicalism and a radical utilitarianism increasingly displaced the outlook of India. Sympathetic conservatism of orientalism yielded a more aggressive project intent on dragging India into the civilized and modern world. William Jones sought to codify the Indian legal system, and in so doing ‘discovered’ India's ancient past; Thomas Munro laid the foundations for the administration of land settlements; and James Rennell mapped India. Although each relied on knowledges and methodologies that had been developed in the West, there was no obvious reference to metropolitan concerns. Neither topographical maps of London nor Ordnance surveys contributed to the project of mapping India.