that of slaves present in early British feminist writings, and
identified the emergence of an ‘Anglo-Africanist’ form
of colonial discourse in white British women’s writing about
colonial slavery between Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1688)
and the implementation of the Emancipation Act in 1834. 5 My own work on
British women anti-slavery campaigners has explored links
With the culmination of the West
Indian emancipation movement in 1838, politicians and anti-slavery
leaders turned their attention increasingly to slave-trade
suppression. 1 Public
interest in, if not support for, the cause was roused, as from the
late 1830s until the early 1850s – especially in the 1840s when its
This article examines the effects of early anthropological accounts of other races in producing tropes for monstrosity in the Gothic, such as we see in Frankenstein where the monster, although not of any known race since he is hybridly created from parts of dead bodies, shares features with popular accounts of the racially other, echoes Haitian slave rebellion violence in his responses to ill treatment, and achieves his literacy and independence in the manner of popular slave narratives. Gothic tropes were sometimes employed in anti-slavery narratives such as Uncle Tom‘s Cabin, and many of the descriptions of brutality and terror in realist slave narratives are properly to be considered Gothic (and may in fact borrow from gothic fictional techniques). Slavery itself could be argued to outdo the Gothic in its actuality, as well as serving as a source for gothic fantasy. This provokes a rethinking of the now conventional assumption that Frankenstein‘s acknowledgement of responsibility for his creature implies that it does his unconscious bidding; on the contrary, Frankenstein admits his responsibility as a slaveholder might for the actions of his slave, but without in any way endorsing them.
The British saw Egypt as a major route to India where their interests could be threatened in alarming ways. This book sheds light on the formation of English national identities in relation to Islam as understood in the context of the British imperial mission. It focuses on the late nineteenth century, a period that marks a new departure in Anglo-Muslim relations in the context of the British Empire shifting the ground on which British identity politics operated. The role of the British Government and English activists respectively in the campaign to suppress slave traffic in Egypt and surrounding areas is discussed. Government officials and British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (BFASS) members redefined English culture and proper English gender roles. Anti-slavery campaign had as much to do with English domestic as it did with Egyptian and British imperial politics. The book examines the relationships between activism in England, the implementation of government policy in Egypt and imperial encounters, as well as the production of identities and ideologies associated with these efforts. References to the East, Islam and the harem were used to define the behaviour that the English feminists sought to eliminate from their own society as un-English. The poem 'British Turk' focuses on the oppression of English women, on the burdens associated with marriage. The book also explains how the concept of the English nation as the centre of an empire helped to establish a place in England for Islam.
Gender history is more than the recovery of women's pasts and inclusion of female experiences into history. This book brings together two traditionally separate areas of historical literature: writings on women and gender on the one hand, and scholarship on British imperialism and colonialism on the other. It marks an important new intervention into a vibrant area of scholarship, creating a dialogue between the histories of imperialism and of women and gender. By engaging critically with both traditional British imperial history and colonial discourse analysis, the book demonstrates how feminist historians can play a central role in creating new histories of British imperialism. The first part of the book offers new perspectives on the nature of British imperial power through exploring the gender dimensions of the imposition of British control. It discusses study of the age of consent, body of scholarship, and British women missionaries in India. The second part talks about the gender dimensions of a spectrum of reactions to British imperialism. The focus is on colonising women and the colonized women. The third part switches from colonial contexts to explore the impact of imperialism within Britain itself. It presents both the anti-slavery discourse constructed by women anti-slavery campaigners and the 'triple discourse' of anti-slavery in early feminist tracts of 1790 to 1869 as marking key roots of the 'imperial feminism'. Finally, the inter-war period is explored focusing on the under-researched area of white women's involvement in imperial politics and race issues.
This book collects eleven original essays in the cultural history of the British Empire since the eighteenth century. It is geographically capacious, taking in the United Kingdom, India, West Africa, Hong Kong, and Australia, as well as sites of informal British influence such as the Ottoman Empire and southern China. The book considers the ways in which British culture circulated within what John Darwin has called the British “world system”. In this, the book builds on existing imperial scholarship while innovating in several ways: it focuses on the movement of ideas and cultural praxis, whereas Darwin has focused mostly on imperial structures —financial, demographic, and military. The book examines the transmission, reception, and adaptation of British culture in the Metropole, the empire and informal colonial spaces, whereas many recent scholars have considered British imperial influence on the Metropole alone. It examines Britain's Atlantic and Asian imperial experiences from the eighteenth to the twentieth century together. Through focusing on political ideology, literary movements, material culture, marriage, and the construction of national identities, the essays demonstrate the salience of culture in making a “British World”.
This study of the ‘colour question’, 1870-1914, offers a new account of the British Empire’s most disturbing legacy. Following contradictions within the ideology of empire, the book provides a revisionist account of race in science, and an original narrative of the invention of the language of race relations, and of resistance to race-thinking. Constructions of race in both professional and popular science were rooted in the common culture, yet were presented as products of nature. Ironically, science only gained a larger public when imperialism, not nature, created a global pattern of racial subordination and conflict. Though often overlooked, the longer term legacy of Victorian racism grew out of the newly invented language of race relations. Originating in the abolitionist movement, this language applied to the management of the historically unprecedented multi-racial communities created by empire. A dissenting minority of abolitionists and persons of African and Asian descent championed racial egalitarianism and colonial nationalism in resistance to the dominant discourse. By 1910, they suffered a crushing defeat in contesting white power in South Africa. As a consequence, in the new twentieth century, visions of a colour-blind empire belonged to a sentimentalised, archaic abolitionist past. Under the guise of imperial trusteeship, a new lexicon of race relations gave legitimacy to the institutionalised inequalities of an empire bifurcated by race.
British officials, it
must be understood as part of the larger imperialist project associated
with occupation of that country. 1 Officials were motivated by their loyalty to
the Government as well as by what could be considered a moral
perspective or interest based on the belief that slavery was a violation
of individual liberty and that, as part of the British imperial mission,
The activities of British officials
in Egypt, described in the previous chapter, represent one aspect of the
anti-slavery campaign. Members of the BFASS initiated this movement,
volunteered funds and services and provided the link between women and
men in England and efforts abroad. While British officials had made a
commitment to their Government and accepted responsibility for enforcing
This book has examined the formation
of English national identities in relation to Islam during the late
nineteenth century through the lens of four historical developments:
British anti-slavery efforts in occupied Egypt; the activities of the
BFASS in regard to that campaign; gender conflicts and debates in
English society; and the creation of a place for Islam in England in the