By expanding the geographical scope of the history of violence and war, this volume challenges both Western and state-centric narratives of the decline of violence and its relationship to modernity. It highlights instead similarities across early modernity in terms of representations, legitimations, applications of, and motivations for violence. It seeks to integrate methodologies of the study of violence into the history of war, thereby extending the historical significance of both fields of research. Thirteen case studies outline the myriad ways in which large-scale violence was understood and used by states and non-state actors throughout the early modern period across Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Atlantic, and Europe, demonstrating that it was far more complex than would be suggested by simple narratives of conquest and resistance. Moreover, key features of imperial violence apply equally to large-scale violence within societies. As the authors argue, violence was a continuum, ranging from small-scale, local actions to full-blown war. The latter was privileged legally and increasingly associated with states during early modernity, but its legitimacy was frequently contested and many of its violent forms, such as raiding and destruction of buildings and crops, could be found in activities not officially classed as war.
Helen Carr is Pro-Warden Academic at Goldsmiths College. In 1996 she published two monographs: Inventing the American Primitive, 1789–1936 and Jean Rhys. She is co-editor of Women: a cultural review.
Mary Chamberlain is Professor of Modern Social History at Oxford Brookes University and has written widely on Caribbean migration, Caribbean families, on oral history and on Caribbean culture, with a particular focus on Barbados. Her recent work includes Narratives of Exile and Return (1997); Caribbean Migration, Globalised Identities (editor, 1998); Narrative and Genre (co-editor with Paul Thompson, 1998); and Caribbean Families in the Transatlantic World (co-editor with Harry Goulbourne, 2001).
Alison Donnell is senior lecturer in postcolonial literatures at Nottingham Trent University. She has published widely on Caribbean’s women’s writing and is co-editor of the Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature (1996) and editor of the Companion to Contemporary Black British Culture (2002). She is also joint editor of Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies.
Glyne Griffith is Associate Professor of English at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He is the author of Deconstruction, Imperialism and the West Indian Novel (1996) and editor of Caribbean Cultural Identities (2001); he is also completing a book on the BBC’s Caribbean Voices. He is an editorial board member of Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism.
Catherine Hall is Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History at University College, London. She is the co-author of Family Fortunes (1987; second edition 2002) and the author of Civilising Subjects: metropole and colony in the English imagination, 1830–1867 (2002). She is an editor of History Workshop Journal.
Stephen Howe is tutor in politics at Ruskin College, Oxford. His books include Anticolonialism in British Politics (1993), Afrocentrism (1998), Ireland and Empire (2000) and Empire: a very short introduction (2002).
Louis James is Emeritus Professor at the University of Kent. He taught at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, in the early 1960s and was later actively involved in the Caribbean Artists Movement. He has written widely on Caribbean literature, most recently in Caribbean Literature in English (1999).
Winston James is Associate Professor of History, Columbia University. He is the author of A Fierce Hatred of Injustice: Claude McKay’s Jamaica and his poetry of rebellion (2000) and Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean radicalism in early twentieth-century America (1998), which won the Gordon K. Lewis Memorial Award for Caribbean Scholarship of the Caribbean Studies Association. He is also the co-editor of Inside Babylon: the Caribbean diaspora in Britain (1993). He is currently at work on Claude McKay: the making of a Black Bolshevik, 1889–1923.
David Killingray was for several years a schoolteacher in Britain and Tanzania. In 1998 he was appointed Professor of Modern History at Goldsmiths College. His most recent books as editor or author are The West Indies. British documents on the end of empire (1999), Guardians of Empire (2000), The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918–19: new perspectives (2003). He was joint editor of African Affairs from 1990–2002. He is currently writing a study of Harold Moody and the League of Coloured Peoples.
Bill Schwarz teaches in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College. He is an editor of History Workshop Journal.
Sue Thomas is the author of The Worlding of Jean Rhys (1999), co-author (with Ann Blake and Leela Gandhi) of England Through Colonial Eyes in Twentieth-Century Fiction (2001), and compiler of Elizabeth Robins (1862–1952): a bibliography (1994), and many other titles in the Victorian Fiction Research Guides Series. She has published extensively on nineteenth- and twentieth-century women’s writing and decolonising literatures. She is Reader in English in the School of Communication, Arts and Critical Enquiry at La Trobe University, Melbourne.