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Museums and the British imperial experience

Recent cultural studies have demonstrated the weakness of some of the fashionable theoretical positions adopted by scholars of imperialism in recent times. This book explores the diverse roles played by museums and their curators in moulding and representing the British imperial experience. The British Empire yielded much material for British museums, particularly in terms of ethnographic collections. The collection of essays demonstrates how individuals, their curatorial practices, and intellectual and political agendas influenced the development of a variety of museums across the globe. It suggests that Thomas Baines was deeply engaged with the public presentation, display and interpretation of material culture, and the dissemination of knowledge and information about the places he travelled. He introduced many people to the world beyond Norfolk. A discussion of visitor engagement with non-European material cultures in the provincial museum critiques the assumption of the pervasive nature of curatorial control of audience reception follows. The early 1900s, the New Zealand displays at world's fairs presented a vision of Maoriland, which often had direct Maori input. From its inception, the National Museum of Victoria performed the dual roles of research and public education. The book also discusses the collections at Australian War Memorial, Zanzibar Museum, and Sierra Leone's National Museum. The amateur enthusiasms and colonial museum policy in British West Africa are also highlighted. Finally, the book follows the journey of a single object, Tipu's Tiger, from India back to London.

Experts and the development of the British Caribbean, 1940–62
Author: Sabine Clarke

This book produces a major rethinking of the history of development after 1940 through an exploration of Britain’s ambitions for industrialisation in its Caribbean colonies. Industrial development is a neglected topic in histories of the British Colonial Empire, and we know very little of plans for Britain’s Caribbean colonies in general in the late colonial period, despite the role played by riots in the region in prompting an increase in development spending. This account shows the importance of knowledge and expertise in the promotion of a model of Caribbean development that is best described as liberal rather than state-centred and authoritarian. It explores how the post-war period saw an attempt by the Colonial Office to revive Caribbean economies by transforming cane sugar from a low-value foodstuff into a lucrative starting compound for making fuels, plastics and medical products. In addition, it shows that as Caribbean territories moved towards independence and America sought to shape the future of the region, scientific and economic advice became a key strategy for the maintenance of British control of the West Indian colonies. Britain needed to counter attempts by American-backed experts to promote a very different approach to industrial development after 1945 informed by the priorities of US foreign policy.

Author: Joanna de Groot

This book follows a particular thread of investigation and interpretation through the story of history writing in ‘Britain’ since the mid 18th century. The work covers the impact of involvement in empire on historical practice over this period. The purpose of this is to offer a different perspective on existing narratives of history and writing in Britain in its varied scholarly and popular forms by raising questions of imperial influence within those narratives. By positioning imperial themes within an account of ‘British’ history writing, the text thereby offers a postcolonial take on the story of historical practice. The book also aims to contribute to political and cultural histories of the United Kingdom by reframing understandings of the role of history writing and historical texts within those histories.

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Gordon Pirie

The image of Imperial Airways as an organisation, and its iconic status in the Empire, hinged partly on its perceived efficiency and reliability, and partly on the impression created by its senior management. In one of many such public displays, Imperial’s Chairman, Sir Eric Geddes, articulated a glowing, benevolent alignment between

in Cultures and caricatures of British imperial aviation
Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire
Editor: Keith Jeffery

The notion that the British Empire was in any way an 'Irish Empire' is not one that will cut very much ice on the contemporary island of Ireland, north or south. This volume explores aspects of the experience of Ireland and Irish people within the British Empire and addresses a central concern of modern Irish scholarship. The paradox that Ireland was both 'imperial' and 'colonial' lies at the heart of this book. One of the themes which emerges from the studies in this book is the irrelevance of the Empire to some Irish concerns. Popular culture, sport and film are investigated, as well as business history and the military and political 'sinews of Empire'. In cinematic terms, the image of Ireland has been largely in the hands of the British and American film industries. Analogies between Ulster loyalists and zealous British settlers are frequently drawn. The book examines the views of that region's businessmen on the British Empire, including their perception of Empire, the role of Empire as an economic unit and views the status of Northern Ireland within the Empire. The eventual choice of both flags illustrates that pre-partition strands of both loyalism and Unionism continued to survive among leading politicians within Ulster during the 1920s. The British Empire Union of 1915, established to make the Irish more Empire-minded, included the energetic promotion of imperial history in schools and of the idea of Empire Day within the population as a whole.

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English political economy and the Spanish imperial model, 1660–90
Leslie Theibert

a series of embarrassing defeats to the French and Portuguese and the loss of Spain’s European supremacy. 3 To Whig political economist Roger Coke, this decline appeared paradoxical, as Spain possessed ‘greater dominions than any kingdom of the western or perhaps of the eastern world’. 4 Yet the conquest of territory and influx of treasure from around the globe had not made the country powerful. Coke and other seventeenth-century political economists argued that possession of this overseas empire had rendered the Hapsburg monarchy obsolete, as it sapped the

in Making the British empire, 1660–1800

New Zealand’s Empire revises and expands received histories of empire and imperialism. In the study of the imperial past, both colonial and postcolonial approaches have often asserted the dualism of core and periphery, with New Zealand as on the ‘edge’ or as a ‘periphery’. This book critically revises and makes complex our understandings of the range of ways that New Zealand has played a role as an ‘imperial power’, including the cultural histories of New Zealand inside the British empire, engagements with imperial practices and notions of imperialism, the special significance of New Zealand in the Pacific region, and the circulation of the ideas of empire both through and inside New Zealand over time. It departs from earlier studies of both imperial and national histories by taking a new approach: seeing New Zealand as both powerful as an imperial envoy, and as having its own sovereign role in Pacific nations - as well as in Australia and Antarctica - but also through its examination of the manifold ways in which New Zealanders both look back at and comment on their relationships with the ‘empire’ over time. In separate essays that span social, cultural, political and economic history, contributors test the concept of ‘New Zealand’s Empire’, taking new directions in both historiographical and empirical research.

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Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger
Huw Marsh

7 Unlearning empire: Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger Huw Marsh In the opening lines of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981), the novel’s narrator, Saleem Sinai, famously describes himself as ‘mysteriously handcuffed to history’, his ‘destinies indissolubly chained to those of [his] country’.1 In the opening lines of Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger (1987), the novel’s narrator, Claudia Hampton, less famously describes her relationship with the history of her times: ‘The bit of the twentieth century to which I’ve been shackled, willy-nilly, like it or not.’2 In

in End of empire and the English novel since 1945
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Royal travel between colonies and metropoles
Robert Aldrich and Cindy McCreery

Royals have always been a peripatetic species. In the Ancient world, Hadrian spent more than half of his reign travelling the Roman empire, from Britain to the Black Sea to Egypt. When monarchs still led their forces into battle, as did St Louis during the Crusades and as did other medieval and early modern kings, travel to battlefields abroad was necessarily part of the ‘job’. With great pageantry and festivity, ‘royal

in Royals on tour
Joel T. Terranova

Published in 1795, John Palmer, Jun.’s The Haunted Cavern: A Caledonian Tale is a historical Gothic romance that expresses certain unease with the growth of British imperialism at the end of the eighteenth century. In this text, Palmer explores the impact of empire on the colonialized other as well as demonstrating the hypocrisy and abuse of certain imperial practices. With the plot set during the end of the War of the Roses, The Haunted Cavern juxtaposes medieval England as the imperial power with France and Scotland illustrated as the colonialized victims. This article examines the tension towards empire found in The Haunted Cavern which helps clarify the commercialized Gothic romance’s function as a subversive medium towards colonialism.

Gothic Studies