Exporting empire

Africa, colonial officials and the construction of the British Imperial State, c. 1900–1939

This book is a study of the colonial officials who governed British Africa between 1900 and the Second World War. Historians have to date failed to provide a detailed examination of what caused these ‘men on the spot’ to think and act in the ways they did. Drawing on a vast range of hitherto underexplored private papers, this book assesses the scope of their different attitudes and endeavours. It considers the role of background, education, training, British culture, social and intellectual networks across Africa, and personal self-interest in shaping the ways that officials related to Africans and to one another, and their ideas of race, empire, governance, development, and duty. It considers the implications of these officials’ mental landscapes for some of the key theories of empire to have emerged in recent years.

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