This book explores the influence of imperialism in the landscapes of modern European cities including London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Marseilles, Glasgow and Seville. The first part considers some ways in which the design of urban landscapes articulated competing visions of the imperial city, including large-scale planning and architectural schemes, urban design and public monuments. The final shape of the Queen Victoria Memorial in London suggests an oddly tenuous relationship between the creation of imperial space and the representation of the empire itself. The notions of empire and romanità are expressed through the location, styling and form of the Vittoriano in Rome. The second part of the book considers the role of various forms of visual display, including spectacular pageants, imperial exhibitions and suburban gardens, in the cultural life of metropolitan imperialism. The material transformation of Paris with rhetorical devices reveals a deep-seated ambiguity about just how 'imperial' Paris wanted to appear. Sydenham Crystal Palace housed the Ethnological and Natural History Department, and its displays brought together animals, plants and human figures from various areas of the globe. The largest part of imperial Vienna's tourist traffic came from within the Austrian lands of the empire. The last part of the book is primarily concerned with the associations between imperial identities and the history of urban space in a variety of European cities. The book considers the changing cultural and political identities in the imperial city, looking particularly at nationalism, masculinity and anti-imperialism.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the role of imperialism in shaping the history and geography of a variety of modern European cities. It shows how imperial preoccupations entered into debates over the reconstruction of a key ceremonial site at the heart of London in the opening years of the twentieth century. The book emphasises the ways in which imperial culture was refracted in shaping even the most ordinary forms of display. It considers the cultural history of Glasgow, once renowned as the 'second city' of the empire, examining the complex interplay of imperial, British, Scottish and civic identities. The book explains the instabilities at the heart of the exhibitionary project. It focuses mainly on the first Pan-African Conference of 1900.