Gender and imperialism

Editor: Clare Midgley

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.

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