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Empire and the question of belonging

This is a book-length study of the ideological foundations of British imperialism in the early twentieth century. By focussing on the heretofore understudied concept of imperial citizenship, it illustrates how the political, cultural, and intellectual underpinnings of empire were constructed and challenged by forces in both Britain and the ‘Britains Overseas’, the settlement colonies of Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Debates about imperial citizenship reveal how Britons conceived of the empire: was it an extension of the nation-state, a collection of separate and distinct communities, or a type of ‘world-state?’ These debates were also about the place of empire in British society, its importance to the national identity, and the degree to which imperial subjects were or were not seen as ‘fellow Britons’. This public discourse was at its most fervent from the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902) to the early 1920s, when Britain emerged victorious, shocked and exhausted from the Great War. Drawing on the thinking of imperial activists, publicists, ideologues and travellers such as Lionel Curtis, John Buchan, Arnold White, Richard Jebb and Thomas Sedgwick, the book is a comparative history of how the idea of imperial citizenship took hold in early-twentieth-century Britain and how it helped foster the articulation of a broader British World. It also reveals how imperial citizenship as a form of imperial identity was challenged by voices in both Britain and the empire, and how it influenced later imperial developments.

The Politics of History Teaching in England, 1870–1930

Citizenship, Nation, Empire investigates the extent to which popular imperialism influenced the teaching of history between 1870 and 1930. It is the first book-length study to trace the substantial impact of educational psychology on the teaching of history, probing its impact on textbooks, literacy primers and teacher-training manuals. Educationists identified ‘enlightened patriotism’ to be the core objective of historical education. This was neither tub-thumping jingoism, nor state-prescribed national-identity teaching. Rather, enlightened patriotism was a concept used in the development of a carefully crafted curriculum for all children which fused civic intentions alongside imperial ambitions.

The book will be of interest to those studying or researching aspects of English domestic imperial culture, especially those concerned with questions of childhood and schooling, citizenship, educational publishing and anglo-British relations. Given that vitriolic debates about the politics of history teaching have endured into the twenty-first century, Citizenship, Nation, Empire is a timely study of the formative influences that shaped the history curriculum in English schools.

So the tribune came and said to him, ‘Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?’     And he said, ‘Yes.’ The tribune answered, ‘I bought this citizenship for a large sum.’     Paul said, ‘But I was born a citizen.’ So those who were about to examine

in Imperial citizenship

If there has been a theme characterizing Britain’s relationship with her overseas relations throughout the twentieth century it is ambivalence. This book has evaluated the efforts of a select group of late Victorian and Edwardian imperial ideologues to articulate a concept of citizenship which could unite Britons at home and in the Empire. Their

in Imperial citizenship

The organic imperialism of Lionel Curtis and the nascent cosmopolitan imperialism of John Buchan demonstrate two strains of early twentieth-century thought on citizenship and the Empire. Those men, however, travelled in the worlds of political philosophy and the civil service. They were, with only occasional exceptions, 1 strangers to the world of

in Imperial citizenship
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Arnold White and the parochial view of imperial citizenship

the nation’s health and efficiency – terms which frequently occur in White’s editorials – and to promote patriotism and loyalty applied equally to both England and the Empire. His notion of imperial citizenship was thus the same as his notion of domestic citizenship. He gave little thought to the richly varied nature of the imperium, which is to say that he advanced a parochial

in Imperial citizenship
Thomas Sedgwick and imperial emigration

, should come through British emigration. This would have the added benefit of relieving domestic population pressures without contributing to the economic growth of Britain’s competitors on the global stage. The Prince concludes by invoking citizenship, noting that British emigrants would benefit by moving to the Empire, as opposed to foreign nations. The idea of channelling

in Imperial citizenship
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Imperial citizenship as a prelude to world government

of public relations before that ‘calling’ had crystallized into a profession. 5 Curtis saw Empire as mankind’s best hope of fostering and preserving peace, a goal he believed could be pursued through the means of imperial citizenship. Though this position strikes modern ears as naive, and not a little pretentious, it was consistent with the normative view of politics and the

in Imperial citizenship

an understanding of imperial citizenship in cosmopolitan and cooperative terms. While Buchan shared the organic impetus of Curtis’s thought, he did not share his peer’s desire to locate imperial citizenship within broader debates concerning imperial organization. Buchan was more interested in fostering the shared Britannic identity he believed must necessarily underpin any

in Imperial citizenship
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they were expected to be good citizens. Part of this included their self-conduct in the school, but the demands of citizenship reached further. Lessons in civic values, taught in historical stories, were intended to help them understand the attitudes and characteristics they should emulate for the sake of the enduring national good. As A. Rogers was later to summarise in his assessment of the teaching

in Citizenship, Nation, Empire