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The Calcutta Jute Wallahs and the Landscapes of Empire

Dundee had an interesting role to play in the jute trade, but the main player in the story of jute was Calcutta. This book follows the relationship of jute to empire, and discusses the rivalry between the Scottish and Indian cities from the 1840s to the 1950s and reveals the architecture of jute's place in the British Empire. The book adopts significant fresh approaches to imperial history, and explores the economic and cultural landscapes of the British Empire. Jute had been grown, spun and woven in Bengal for centuries before it made its appearance as a factory-manufactured product in world markets in the late 1830s. The book discusses the profits made in Calcutta during the rise of jute between the 1880s and 1920s; the profits reached extraordinary levels during and after World War I. The Calcutta jute industry entered a crisis period even before it was pummelled by the depression of the 1930s. The looming crisis stemmed from the potential of the Calcutta mills to outproduce world demand many times over. The St Andrew's Day rituals in Calcutta, begun three years before the founding of the Indian Jute Mills Association. The ceremonial occasion helps the reader to understand what the jute wallahs meant when they said they were in Calcutta for 'the greater glory of Scotland'. The book sheds some light on the contentious issues surrounding the problematic, if ever-intriguing, phenomenon of British Empire. The jute wallahs were inextricably bound up in the cultural self-images generated by British imperial ideology.

Colonial war played a vital part in transforming the reputation of the military and placing it on a standing equal to that of the navy. The book is concerned with the interactive culture of colonial warfare, with the representation of the military in popular media at home, and how these images affected attitudes towards war itself and wider intellectual and institutional forces. It sets out to relate the changing image of the military to these fundamental facts. For the dominant people they were an atavistic form of war, shorn of guilt by Social Darwinian and racial ideas, and rendered less dangerous by the increasing technological gap between Europe and the world. Attempts to justify and understand war were naturally important to dominant people, for the extension of imperial power was seldom a peaceful process. The entertainment value of war in the British imperial experience does seem to have taken new and more intensive forms from roughly the middle of the nineteenth century. Themes such as the delusive seduction of martial music, the sketch of the music hall song, powerful mythic texts of popular imperialism, and heroic myths of empire are discussed extensively. The first important British war correspondent was William Howard Russell (1820-1907) of The Times, in the Crimea. The 1870s saw a dramatic change in the representation of the officer in British battle painting. Up to that point it was the officer's courage, tactical wisdom and social prestige that were put on display.

Medicine has always been a significant tool of an empire. This book focuses on the issue of the contestation of knowledge, and examines the non-Western responses to Western medicine. The decolonised states wanted Western medicine to be established with Western money, which was resisted by the WHO. The attribution of an African origin to AIDS is related to how Western scientists view the disease as epidemic and sexually threatening. Veterinary science, when applied to domestic stock, opens up fresh areas of conflict which can profoundly influence human health. Pastoral herd management was the enemy of land enclosure and efficient land use in the eyes of the colonisers. While the native Indians of the United States were marginal participants in the delivery or shaping of health care, the Navajo passively resisted Western medicine by never giving up their own religion-medicine. The book discusses the involvement of the Rockefeller Foundation in eradicating the yellow fever in Brazil and hookworm in Mexico. The imposition of Western medicine in British India picked up with plague outbreaks and enforced vaccination. The plurality of Indian medicine is addressed with respect to the non-literate folk medicine of Rajasthan in north-west India. The Japanese have been resistant to the adoption of the transplant practices of modern scientific medicine. Rumours about the way the British were dealing with plague in Hong Kong and Cape Town are discussed. Thailand had accepted Western medicine but suffered the effects of severe drug resistance to the WHO treatment of choice in malaria.

Editor: David Arnold

In recent years it has become apparent that the interaction of imperialism with disease, medical research, and the administration of health policies is considerably more complex. This book reflects the breadth and interdisciplinary range of current scholarship applied to a variety of imperial experiences in different continents. Common themes and widely applicable modes of analysis emerge include the confrontation between indigenous and western medical systems, the role of medicine in war and resistance, and the nature of approaches to mental health. The book identifies disease and medicine as a site of contact, conflict and possible eventual convergence between western rulers and indigenous peoples, and illustrates the contradictions and rivalries within the imperial order. The causes and consequences of this rapid transition from white man's medicine to public health during the latter decades of the nineteenth and early years of the twentieth centuries are touched upon. By the late 1850s, each of the presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras could boast its own 'asylum for the European insane'; about twenty 'native lunatic asylums' had been established in provincial towns. To many nineteenth-century British medical officers smallpox was 'the scourge of India'. Following the British discovery in 1901 of a major sleeping sickness epidemic in Uganda, King Leopold of Belgium invited the recently established Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to examine his Congo Free State. Cholera claimed its victims from all levels of society, including Americans, prominent Filipinos, Chinese, and Spaniards.

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The armed forces of the colonial powers c. 1700–1964

For imperialists, the concept of guardian is specifically to the armed forces that kept watch on the frontiers and in the heartlands of imperial territories. Large parts of Asia and Africa, and the islands of the Pacific and the Caribbean were imperial possessions. This book discusses how military requirements and North Indian military culture, shaped the cantonments and considers the problems posed by venereal diseases and alcohol, and the sanitary strategies pursued to combat them. The trans-border Pathan tribes remained an insistent problem in Indian defence between 1849 and 1947. The book examines the process by which the Dutch elite recruited military allies, and the contribution of Indonesian soldiers to the actual fighting. The idea of naval guardianship as expressed in the campaign against the South Pacific labour trade is examined. The book reveals the extent of military influence of the Schutztruppen on the political developments in the German protectorates in German South-West Africa and German East Africa. The U.S. Army, charged with defending the Pacific possessions of the Philippines and Hawaii, encountered a predicament similar to that of the mythological Cerberus. The regimentation of military families linked access to women with reliable service, and enabled the King's African Rifles to inspire a high level of discipline in its African soldiers, askaris. The book explains the political and military pressures which drove successive French governments to widen the scope of French military operations in Algeria between 1954 and 1958. It also explores gender issues and African colonial armies.

Imperial power, both formal and informal, and research in the natural sciences were closely dependent in the nineteenth century. This book examines a portion of the mass-produced juvenile literature, focusing on the cluster of ideas connected with Britain's role in the maintenance of order and the spread of civilization. It discusses the political economy of Western ecological systems, and the consequences of their extension to the colonial periphery, particularly in forms of forest conservation. Progress and consumerism were major constituents of the consensus that helped stabilise the late Victorian society, but consumerism only works if it can deliver the goods. From 1842 onwards, almost all major episodes of coordinated popular resistance to colonial rule in India were preceded by phases of vigorous resistance to colonial forest control. By the late 1840s, a limited number of professional positions were available for geologists in British imperial service, but imperial geology had a longer pedigree. Modern imperialism or 'municipal imperialism' offers a broader framework for understanding the origins, long duration and persistent support for overseas expansion which transcended the rise and fall of cabinets or international realignments in the 1800s. Although medical scientists began to discern and control the microbiological causes of tropical ills after the mid-nineteenth century, the claims for climatic causation did not undergo a corresponding decline. Arthur Pearson's Pearson's Magazine was patriotic, militaristic and devoted to royalty. The book explores how science emerged as an important feature of the development policies of the Colonial Office (CO) of the colonial empire.

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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.

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Government, Authority and Control, 1830–1940

From the Victorian period to the present, images of the policeman have played a prominent role in the literature of empire, shaping popular perceptions of colonial policing. This book covers and compares the different ways and means that were employed in policing policies from 1830 to 1940. Countries covered range from Ireland, Australia, Africa and India to New Zealand and the Caribbean. As patterns of authority, of accountability and of consent, control and coercion evolved in each colony the general trend was towards a greater concentration of police time upon crime. The most important aspect of imperial linkage in colonial policing was the movement of personnel from one colony to another. To evaluate the precise role of the 'Irish model' in colonial police forces is at present probably beyond the powers of any one scholar. Policing in Queensland played a vital role in the construction of the colonial social order. In 1886 the constabulary was split by legislation into the New Zealand Police Force and the standing army or Permanent Militia. The nature of the British influence in the Klondike gold rush may be seen both in the policy of the government and in the actions of the men sent to enforce it. The book also overviews the role of policing in guarding the Gold Coast, police support in 1954 Sudan, Orange River Colony, Colonial Mombasa and Kenya, as well as and nineteenth-century rural India.

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Natural history, human cultures and colonial identities

Museums were an expression of the western conviction in the onward march of the rational. Local civilisations were also the prime focus in other Asian imperial museums. This is the first book that examines the origins and development of museums in six major regions if the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It analyses museum histories in thirteen major centres in Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India and South-East Asia, setting them into the economic and social contexts of the cities and colonies in which they were located. Museums in Canada have a longer, though somewhat chequered, history than elsewhere in the British Empire. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto and the Royal British Columbia museum in Victoria were two notable, yet very different, expressions of imperial expansiveness . The book then overviews two representative museums: the South African Museum (SAM) in Cape Town and the Albany Museum in Grahamstown. The origins and development of the National Museum of Victoria (NMV) in Melbourne, South Australian Museum (SAuM) and Australian Museum (AM) are then discussed. New Zealand/Aotearoa, with its Canterbury Museum and War Memorial Museum, has discrete origins as a colony in the nineteenth century. Imperial museums in Asia were unquestionably distinctive compared with those of the territories of white settlement. A number of key themes emerge: the development of elites within colonial towns; the emergence of the full range of cultural institutions associated with this; and the modification of the key scientific ideas of the age.

Author: Mark Hampton

This book examines the place of Hong Kong in the British imagination between the end of World War II and the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in July 1997. It argues that Hong Kong has received far less attention from British imperial and cultural historians than its importance would warrant. It argues that Hong Kong was a site within which competing yet complementary visions of Britishness could be imagined—for example, the British penchant for trade and good government, and their role as agents of modernization. At the centre of these articulations of Britishness was the idea of Hong Kong as a “barren rock” that British administration had transformed into one of the world’s great cities—and the danger of its destruction by the impending “handover” to communist China in 1997.

The book moves freely between the activities of Britons in Hong Kong and portrayals of Hong Kong within domestic British discourse. It uses such printed primary sources as newspapers, memoirs, novels, political pamphlets, and academic texts, and archival material located in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, the United States, and Australia, including government documents, regimental collections, and personal papers.