Changing approaches to hunting constitute an important theme in human history. This book uses hunting as one focus for the complex interaction of Europeans with Africans and Indians. It seeks to illuminate the nature of imperial power when exercised in the relationship between humans and the natural world. The main geographical emphasis is on southern, Central and East Africa, as well as South Asia, but reference is made to other parts of Africa and Asia and to the effects of white settlement elsewhere. The great hunters of the ancient world offered protection to their subjects' life and limb and to their crops by destroying wild predators. In Britain the nineteenth-century hunting cult had an extraordinary range of cultural manifestations. Pheasant covert, grouse moor and deer forest, explored and dominated by humans in the Hunt, became prime elements in nineteenth-century Romanticism. Hunting was an important part of the pre-colonial economy and diet of many African peoples. The importance of hunting was very apparent at the court of Mzilikazi, king of the Ndebele. As the animal resources of southern Africa became more important to the international economy in the first decades of the nineteenth century they came to be studied and hunted for science and sport. This apotheosis of the hunting mentality survived at least into the inter-war years and was indeed inherited by the Indianised Indian Civil Service and army in the years leading up to independence. Hunting remains important to those who continue to exercise global power.
The book shows how people have come to approach the writing of imperial histories in the early twenty-first century. It explores the social and political contexts that informed the genesis and development of the Studies in Imperialism series, and the conceptual links it has sought to forge between empire and metropolitan culture. The book provides an insightful account of John MacKenzie's 'Orientalism': the problems of 'power' and 'agency'. The 'MacKenziean moment' needs to be read historically, as a product of the 'delayed arrival of decolonising sensibilities', where contemporary popular phenomena and new types of scholarship integrated Britain and its empire. Sexuality made early appearances in the Series through the publication of 'Empire and Sexuality'. MacKenzie's 'Empire of Nature', 'Imperialism and the Natural World', and 'Museums and Empire' convey the impact of his scholarship in the themes of exploration, environment and empire. The historical geographies of British colonialism have enjoyed a prominent place in the Series, and the book explores the ways in which different 'spatial imaginations' have been made possible. Discussions on colonial policing during the depression years, and on immigrant welfare during and after decolonisation, take their cue from MacKenzie's European Empires and the People. The later nineteenth century witnessed the interaction of many diasporas, which in turn produced new modes of communication. By dealing with the idea of the 'Third British Empire' and the role of the Indian press during and after the British Raj, the book repositions British imperial histories within a broader set of global transformations.
MacKenzie and the Studies in Imperialism series appeared on the scene. Their impact on how we think about the relationship of exploration, empire and the environment is considerable. No single work was more important and innovative in this regard than MacKenzie’s The Empire of Nature (1988). 5 In this book, MacKenzie took up a topic that had been hiding in plain sight – the British landed elite’s fondness
-Century Scotland (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 2017). Patrick Duff (1742–1803) was a high-ranking officer in the Bengal Artillery and an avid hunter. See also V. R. Mandala, Shooting a Tiger: Big-Game Hunting and Conservation in Colonial India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). 4 J. M. MacKenzie, The Empire of Nature: Hunting, Conservation and British Imperialism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988), Chapter 7. The memoir literature of hunters in India is very extensive indeed. To a certain degree, the fascination with hunting was also linked to
Clare Midgley (ed.), Gender and imperialism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), p. 180. 8 John M. MacKenzie, The empire of nature: Hunting, conservation and British imperialism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988 ), p. 45
–7. 16 John M. MacKenzie, The Empire of Nature: Hunting, Conservation and British Imperialism (Manchester, 1988), 168. 17 Edward Blunt, The ICS: The Indian Civil Service (London, 1937 ), 225. 18
John M. MacKenzie, The Empire of Nature: Hunting, Conservation and British Imperialism , Manchester, 1988. 15 Lucile H. Brockway, Science and Colonial Expansion: The Role of the British Royal Botanical Gardens , New York, 1979. 16
imperialism and the natural world, in which he argues that the scientific organisation of knowledge was ‘crucial to the pursuit of power’. 98 His 1988 The Empire of Nature is impressive in its range, from a deep chronology of European and African hunting to imperial hunting and conservation in India as well as Africa. It was welcomed by an Africanist reviewer for examining both African and European hunters
Tsetse Fly Problem , Oxford, 1971; John M. MacKenzie, The Empire of Nature, Hunting, Conservation and British Imperialism , Manchester, 1988. 10 F. I. C. Apted, ‘Sleeping Sickness in Tanganyika: past, present and future’, Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene , 56 (1962
implicit in the colonial relationship give way to a more complex negotiation? The empire of nature One of the most characteristic images of the children’s papers before the Second World War was the hunter in the wild. He appeared on the covers of many papers and annuals in the act of repelling the advance of dangerous beasts or enraged tribesmen