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Popular responses to imperialism in France, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Italy

The European scramble for colonies in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was driven by rather more than the interests of an elite, aristocratic and bourgeois. This book is about the 'colonisation of consciousness'. It surveys in comparative form the transmission of imperial ideas to the public in six European countries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book offers six case studies on France, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Italy, providing parallel studies of the manner in which colonial ambitions and events in the respective European empires were given wider popular visibility. The book demonstrates the inter-war years that saw the stepping up of imperial propaganda throughout the surviving imperial powers. Inspired by the directions of research pioneered by John MacKenzie, specialists of the French Empire started to combine methodologies from social and cultural history to revise the perception of French popular imperialism. Germany's imperialism is analysed along the axes of mobility and migration, 'race' and the sciences, commodities and markets, the missions and imperialist social formations, and the vast field of popular culture. What sets popular imperialism in Belgium apart from others is the remarkable yet ironic reverence reserved for Leopold II. Power rivalries, ingenious if tricky diplomacy, and Leopold's tenacity resulted in recognition of his rule over much of the Congo around the time of the Berlin conference. So far as the peoples of Europe were concerned, the imperial experience helped, paradoxically, to further 'Eurocentrism' and install the naturalisation of Europeanness as 'whiteness'.

The age of consent in India

fact of life and a usefully enabling condition of intellectual activity. 9 Said did not discount the point of origin, nor did he suggest that ideas are changed out of recognition as they travel. 10 Dipesh Chakrabarty develops this position by arguing that European texts and ideas have been actively read in the non-European world, their meanings produced rather than simply consumed in situated acts of reading. He seeks to provincialise – not to dismiss, but to de-centre – European thought and action

in Sex, politics and empire
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people perceived in the past. But as John MacKenzie points out, the Age of Empire was for Europe a period of rising literacy, cheaper transport, faster communication and mass politics. To believe people of that era remained unmoved by the proliferation of imperialistic messages at the time is to presume a level of absent-mindedness not reflected in the historical record. Moreover, as historians working since the

in European empires and the people
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This book is about the ‘colonisation of consciousness’. This phrase was coined by the Comaroffs to describe the effects of missionary endeavour among the Tswana people in southern Africa, 1 but it is equally applicable to the domestic populations of the imperial powers, both actual and aspirant, in Europe. The European scramble for colonies in the nineteenth and early twentieth

in European empires and the people
Belgian popular imperialism, 1830–1960

Leopold II did not long outlive the creation for which he is best known, the État Indépendant du Congo (EIC). After years of international and domestic pressure, Leopold ceded his African colony to the European kingdom he ruled, Belgium, on 15 November 1908: Saint Leopold’s Day. From that point forward the EIC ceased to exist, having become the Belgian Congo, which

in European empires and the people
Empire and the Italian state’s pursuit of legitimacy, 1871–1945

presume aimed at creating a common sense of citizenship, never did so in Britain; partly because the ‘ruling class’ had established its hegemony so successfully at a very early stage compared with other European countries the two (or three?) social classes lived out what ‘being British’ (or English) meant in uniquely closed boxes, or more precisely like the two rails of a railway line, both following the

in European empires and the people
Popular imperialism in Britain, continuities and discontinuities over two centuries

‘othering’, both in respect of rival European nations and in relation to peoples of other races. 7 The fact is that imperial events slotted into an exciting adventure and militarist tradition which translated readily into other media, not just the stage and the press, but also popular literature, painting, prints, statuary, memorials and music. 8 As the nineteenth century wore on, this propensity to depict the world as essentially

in European empires and the people
A case study in psychiatry and colonial rule

The rise of the European lunatic asylum European efforts to establish psychiatric institutions in India date back to the eighteenth century. Provision for the confinement of the mentally ill was first made in Calcutta some time prior to 1787. 1 In 1794 the ‘Madras Lunatic Asylum’ was opened in order to afford ‘security against the perpetration of those acts of violence

in Imperial medicine and indigenous societies

other printers, provided literati of the seventeenth century with a visual and semi-realistic acquaintance with the places, peoples and prospects of the East. From the middle of the sixteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth century the writers of Catholic Europe had available in handy sizes the collections issued by the Society of Jesus of the letters sent to Europe by its missionaries in the

in Asia in Western fiction

missionaries, in common with their English counterparts, kept. As several scholars of the German proselytisers have recognised, they formed a highly literate and educated group, who carried out advanced academic-style research in a variety of areas 7 and seem to have recorded their every movement while abroad, partly for the purpose of sending details of their activities back to Europe for fundraising

in The Germans in India