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February 2015 Newsletter

I. Registration Now Open for 2015 Britain and the World Conference

The British Scholar Society is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 2015 Britain and the World Conference, to be held in Austin, TX on 2-4 April 2015. The registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, and tea/coffee breaks on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Doubletree Hotel, as well as participation in a variety of other plenary social events. Conference participants can register at the following link:

II. Draft Program for Conference Now Available

We would also like to inform our readers that the draft program for the 2015 Britain and the World Conference is now available. Please go to the following link to peruse the many and varied panels that will be featured at this year’s conference.

Check the conference website often (, as we will continue to post updates to the program as they become available.

III. Reminder: Rooms Available at Conference Hotel

We would like to remind our conference participants to book their rooms in the conference hotel before the booking deadline of 6 March 2015. We have a limited number of rooms blocked off for the conference, so please do not wait until the last minute to book.

IV. British Scholar Society Associate Editor on the Anglo-German Relationship

British Scholar Society Associate Editor Dr. Helene von Bismarck has published a thoughtful piece on memory and the Anglo-German relationship with regard to the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. Dr. von Bismarck’s insights into this important issue can be read at the following link:

V. Call for Contributors to Volume on Early Modern Queenship, Empire, Trade, and Piracy

Early modern era specialists are invited to submit chapter proposals to an excited planned volume titled Queenship, Colonization, Piracy, and Trade during the Early Modern Period (1500-1800). Editors Estelle Paranque and Nate Probasco request that interested parties submit chapter proposals of 400-500 words and a short biography, including research interests and not exceeding 250 words, to queenshipcolonypiracytradeatgmaildotcom  (queenshipcolonespionacyatgmaildotcom)   by 1 July 2015. Accepted authors will be notified by 1 October 2015 and first drafts will be due 1 July 2016. Completed essays will be in the 6000-8000 word range. For more information on the project, please visit the following link:

VI. CFP for Conference at University of Liverpool on “Impassioned Britain”

The University of Liverpool will host a conference on the theme of “impassioned Britain,” bringing together scholars whose interests lie in familial and divine feelings in art, history, and literature. Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted by 15 March 2015 to ensure consideration. Check the Embodiments Research Group website (under the heading for “Impassioned Britain: Familial and Divine Depictions of Feeling, 1707 – 1907”) for more information and for updates:

VII. Book of the Month

‘Orientalist Jones’: Sir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer, and Linguist, 1746-1794

Reviewed by Filomena Viviana Tagliaferri



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February 2015: ‘Orientalist Jones’: Sir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer, and Linguist, 1746-1794

Reviewed by: Filomena Viviana Tagliaferri

Michael J. Franklin, Oxford University Press, 2011. 408 pp. £35 (hardback).

‘Orientalist’ Jones is only one of the numerous appellations that are given to Sir William Jones by Michael J. Franklin in his book ‘Orientalist Jones': Sir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer, and Linguist, 1746-1794 (Oxford, 2011). The work develops a deep and complex discourse of one of the most eminent figures of English Enlightenment. These aspects emerge in each chapter by focusing on the principal epithets the author attributes to his character. ‘Persian’, ‘Druid’, ‘Republican’, ‘Indo-Persian’ ‘Joneses’ are emphasised in the chapter titles, but other adjectives, some truly unexpected, are associated with his name in the body of the text. The multifaceted representation of Jones is a particular strong point. For example, the strongest of these attributes, ‘Incendiary’ Jones, gives the reader as sense of the political vein expressed in his pamphlets.

The book follows a circular pattern. It begins with the journey of Jones and his wife Anna to India and it ends with his death, also on the subcontinent. The central chapters investigate the formation of Jones character, the role of this mother his education, the profound influence of his Welsh origins. The argument then dwells on his career as a lawyer and the network of political/patronage relationships woven by him in London. This section gives depth to the resumption of the figure of the author in his role as Orientalist that dominates the final part of the work. In fact, Franklin tends to dispose all the experiences of Jones in a perspective that emphasize how they have contributed to make him, one of the most eminent thinkers of his time, an unrivalled and pioneering cultural mediator.

Franklin manages to make the figure of Jones not only a bridge between the West and the East, but also as a connection between Enlightenment and Romanticism. The value of the experiment in his approach to the ‘Orient’ is followed by a domestication of it that facilitated Romantic revolution (pp. 73-86). As not only translator but also as man, his experience is put in parallel with one of the first and greatest European Orientalists, Antoine Gallaland. Following his example, he also aligned himself with to ‘popular Orientalism’, undertaking a ‘translation of the Asian “Other” [that] involved delicate politico-cultural negotiations with the European “Self’’’ (p. 85).

The barrister training on the Carmarthen circuit a not only highlights the frank impatience of Jones for aristocratic arrogance, but also ‘to come to terms with his own hybridity’ (p. 118). Once he discovered the Welsh ‘Otherness’ of himself, his flexibility with regard to cultural mediation was highly facilitated. In dealing with the patronage system and the poetic of liberty of Jones we find constantly emphasized his inability to stomach aristocratic presumption. He proudly stated ‘I acknowledge no man as my superior, who is not so in virtue or knowledge, and if this be pride, I am not free from it’ (p. 151). Despite his ‘pride’, due to the complexities of his social, professional, and political role, he was forced to be involved in a constant negotiation with a very intricate network of patronage. London’s environment is analysed through the lens of a realistic intellectual who was not provided with an inherited fortune, a dependant position that made him diplomatic but never servile.

The analysis of Jones’s role of cultural mediator is the best executed and the most interesting and relevant of the book. The mediation process passed through Jones’s active commitment in the theoretical field of Indology as founder of the Asiatick Society, in 1784, and his literary work in the translation of Kālidāsa’s Śakuntalā. The most significant aspect of the members of the Society was they were ‘not ivory-towered academics lingering in the remotely textualised India, but eminently practical men for whom the subcontinent was very much a dynamic reality’ (p. 216). The role and pride of the real experience of another world can be traced also in the rendering of Sacontalà’s character. She was India, the India experienced and elaborated by Jones as man, poet and linguist and presented by him to imperial Europe, ready to be fascinated by the allegory of the colonized land as female body (p. 256).

The two final chapters are mainly centred on the ability of Jones to live and understand a plural context, as the Indian one was. His estimate of the traditional medicine system and of the Hindus indigenous system of jurisprudence reveal a high esteem of the culture of the colony where he had been assigned. This appreciation reaches very high levels of admiration in the case of Sanskrit. ‘Linguistic’ and ‘learners’ Joneses here found a real passion for ‘so beautiful sister of Latin and Greek’ (p. 37). In only six months, he found the basis of Indo-European comparative grammar and instituting a modern comparative linguistics radically adjusting Europe’s self-understanding, stating the superiority of Sanskrit to Latin and Greek. His predilection for this language was so strong to make him said ‘I will know it perfectly or die in the attempt’ (p. 238).

The analysis presented in this work is very rich and deep. It allows the reader numerous ways to interpret such a multi-dimensioned character; plural in his profession and in his interests. On the other hand, if we have access to different points of view in approaching Jones, the fragmentation of his figure can be a disturbing element in the final re-composition of his personality. Another element that can weigh down the reading is the profusion of information in the chapters dealing with the British environment. The narrative fluidity with which the author exposes his solid erudition can make the reader lost in a maze of irrelevant information. On the whole, however, one should emphasize the elegance and charm of a style that supports a strong and well-structured analysis, depicting one of the most important figures of the British intellectual scene of the eighteenth century.



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Britain and the World 2015 Draft Conference Program Available!

The Draft Conference Program for the 2015 Britain and the World Conference is now available.  You may view it here:

Britain and the World 2015 Draft Conference Program

We are looking forward to fantastic panels, plenaries, roundtables, and camaraderie April 2-4 2015 in Austin, Texas.  We hope to see you there!

For Registration and Hotel information please visit the Conference 2015 webpage at  

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Moving Forward Looking Back: Anniversaries, Remembrance and the Anglo-German Relationship in 2014

Helene von BismarckDr. Helene von Bismarck, Associate Editor

Both in Britain and in Germany, 2014 was a period when looking back was very much on top of the agenda. The list of historical events that were commemorated – some of them with joy, others with great solemnity – is as long as it is impressive: the 300th jubilee of the accession to the British throne by the House of Hanover, the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the 70th anniversary of the D-day landings in Normandy and the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago. What these anniversaries have in common is that they concern both Britons and Germans, because they raise awareness of important landmarks in the histories of both countries and point to the extent these histories have met and influenced one another. Even the last item on the list, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, was – at least indirectly – also a milestone of British history, because it symbolized the end of the Cold War, as well as the unification of a strengthened middle power at the centre of Europe, two issues that have been of great consequence to Britain.

There are two reasons why it is worthwhile to take a closer look at how these important historical events have been celebrated and remembered in Britain and Germany, respectively, during the past year: it helps assess the long-term consequences that these landmarks of Anglo-German history have had, and it tells us a lot about the present rapport between the two countries. What should concern us is not only whether new breakthroughs in academic scholarship have been achieved in 2014, but how the Hanoverian accession, the First and the Second World War and the end of the Cold War have been discussed in the public sphere. As all professional historians know, even though they may not like to think about it, their perception of these events, no matter how accurate it may be, does not automatically resonate within society at large, because the impact of academic publications often remains limited to a very small circle. A year of anniversaries like 2014 is a useful reminder that the impact of past events on the present day manifests itself in more than one way: through the individual experience of memory, through the cultural and political act of public remembrance and through the intellectual endeavour of scholars, who try to make history intelligible with the help of sources and (ideally) a sound methodology. It is through the culture of remembrance and the public debate about the past in Britain and Germany that deep-seated and widespread mutual perceptions are made visible. The cluster of anniversaries in 2014 can thus be regarded as a mirror reflecting the current state of the Anglo-German relationship beyond the arena of high politics.

On the British side, 2014 was a year witnessing sincere and far-reaching efforts to learn more about Germany’s history and culture and to make this knowledge available to the public at large. The tricentenary of the coronation in London of the first Hanoverian king, George I, was not only commemorated with a splendid service at St-Martin-in-the-Fields in the presence of the Duke of Kent and the German ambassador, it also occasioned the organisation of a number of exhibitions, lectures and concerts dealing with the Georgian age.[i] While each of these events had a different focus, two general trends in the presentation of the comparatively little known 123-year Hanoverian period of British history became apparent: the attempt to underline the relevance to Britain’s road to modernity of the Georgian age, with its important innovations in the arts, design, music and science, and the readiness to paint a more positive picture of the Georgian kings, who had for a long time suffered from a largely negative reputation summed up in the rather brutal yet popular description as ‘the sad, the bad, the mad and the fat’. There was also a new emphasis on the importance of the German origins of the royal family. BBC 4 ran a miniseries on the Georgian age and went as far as far as calling this program ‘The German Kings who made Britain’[ii], while Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of The Queen’s pictures at The Queen’s Gallery, where a major exhibition on this subject was held, claimed that their status as German outsiders enabled the Hanoverian monarchs to act as successful modernizers in Britain.[iii]

Another and even more impressive example of British endeavours to use 2014, the year of anniversaries, as an occasion to understand the German point of view better has been the exhibition ‘Germany: Memories of a Nation’ that is still on view in the British Museum and was visited by Angela Merkel and David Cameron in early January 2015. Together with a lecture series broadcasted on Radio BBC 4 by the British Museum’s director, Neil MacGregor, and a book with the same title, this has been a remarkable attempt to make Germany intelligible to the British public. Exhibition, lecture series and book are not satisfied with presenting an overview of German history, they endeavour to explain the perceptions most Germans have of their own identity and culture. Taking the reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 as an intellectual starting point, they try to explain the German point of view by focusing on the memories that the inhabitants of this modern Germany share. Without leaving out the horrible chapters of German history, and the guilt and shame that Germans have to deal with until this day, MacGregor still paints an overwhelmingly generous picture of Germany as a nation where design, philosophy, music, the arts and engineering have flourished over centuries. In the end, what has emerged is so positive a portrayal of Germany that quite a few German historians and intellectuals would probably feel uncomfortable with it. MacGregor’s professed aim has been to show that there is much more to Germany than the two world wars, on which school syllabi and public debate have been focused in Britain for decades. That the British Museum, arguably one of the most important and influential museums not only in Britain, but the world, presented such an exhibition in the year of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is nothing short of astonishing. It is an important sign that British perceptions of Germany have significantly shifted since the Berlin Wall came down, a time when Britain’s Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher, had still been very much afraid of the German ‘national character’.

On the German side, the anniversaries of 2014 have not occasioned a comparable surge of interest in, and empathy with, Britain. Only the 300th anniversary of the Hanoverian accession has led to an outpouring of new scholarship as well as a number of commemorating events, most importantly the grand exhibition organized by the Land Niedersachsen, ‘The Hanoverians on Britain’s Throne’.[iv] A number of British scholars contributed to the organisation of this show, which displayed a substantial number of exhibits on loan from the Royal Collection. The other 2014 anniversaries, while publically and solemnly commemorated, have not led to visible new enquiries into the Anglo-German relationship. This is due to the fact that both world wars are primarily regarded by the majority of Germans as tragic and horrible landmarks in the history of their nation and Europe as a whole, but are not so much analyzed through the Anglo-German lens. Still, what is interesting is that the public debate about the First World War, a debate that reached a whole new level of intensity in 2014, was largely dominated by the controversy about a book by the Cambridge historian Christopher Clark, called ‘The Sleepwalkers’, in which he takes a multilateral approach in his quest for the reasons for the outbreak of war in 1914.[v] His argument, which absolves Germany from the charge of unique or even main responsibility, has not by any means remained undisputed by other scholars, but his views have still had an outstanding effect on the public debate about the First World War. Apart from selling an impressive number of books, Clark filled lecture halls all over the country, was courted by the media and even invited to host a show on the national television channel ZDF (the German version of BBC 2) called ‘Die Deutschland-Saga’, in which he pretty much explained their own country to the German populace. Clark may be of Australian, not of British origin, but he has worked in Britain since he was a graduate student. His success in Germany and the fact that the wider public is so interested in the perception of their country by a historian who is in many ways a product of Britain’s academic system, can be interpreted as a signalling a certain degree of open-mindedness and respect for British scholars on the German side that makes one hopeful for further intellectual and cultural exchange between the two countries in the future.

2015 can be expected to be a year when Britain’s role in the world will be under constant debate and may be shaped in significant ways. The outcome of the upcoming general elections will in all likelihood have a far-reaching effect on Britain’s relationship with the European Union, given David Cameron’s promise that he will renegotiate the terms of British membership and organize an in-or-out-referendum if he is re-elected. It is of course up to the British to decide whether or not their fate lies with the continent. However, in view of Germany’s strong position within the EU, the Anglo-German relationship may have a role to play in the shaping of that fate. Currently, it does not look as if the British and German governments will look eye-to-eye with regard to European integration. However, before we move into 2015 in a state of gloom about the differences between the two countries, it may be worth keeping in mind that the past year of remembrance has shown remarkable attempts, especially on the British side, to promote interest and understanding in one another. It may be the job of governments to decide which role they wish their country to play in international affairs, but this does not alter the fact that there is much more to a country’s place in the world, and its rapport with other nations, than the current state of its foreign policy.

[i] A list of these events can be found at



[iv] The exhibition is now closed but there is an excellent catalogue accompanying it that remains available: Katja Lembke (ed.), Als die Royals aus Hannover kamen. Hannovers Herrscher auf Englands Thron 1914-1837 (Sandstein Verlag 2014).

[v] Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers. How Europe Went to War in 1914 (Allen Lane, London 2013).

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January 2015 Newsletter

I. New Chair of Advisory Board

The British Scholar Society is delighted to announce that Professor Linda Colley has been named as the new Chair of our Advisory Board. Serving as the Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University, Dr. Colley is a world-renowned historian of Britain whose many works are, without a doubt, intimately familiar to scholars in every area of British Studies. Dr. Colley will serve a term of five years as the Advisory Board Chair, and we are excited for what this new connection will bring in the coming years. More information on Dr. Colley’s work and accomplishments can be found at the following link:

II. Plenary Speakers Announced for Annual Conference

Two speakers for plenary talks at the 2015 Britain and the World Conference have been announced. Along with our keynote lecture, delivered by Professor Jane Ohlmeyer of Trinity College Dublin, Professors Anna Clark and Patrick Salmon will also deliver lectures on topics pertinent to scholars of British Studies. Dr. Clark, who serves as Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, will give the Britain and the World Lecture, in which she will discuss the past and future of British Studies, especially in light of the “global turn” in our and other fields of inquiry. An article version of lecture will also appear in our journal, Britain and the World. Dr. Salmon, Chief Historian at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), will give the Frank Turner Memorial Lecture. We are looking forward to the insights he will provide, both as a scholar and in the context of his role at the FCO. More information on Dr. Clark and Dr. Salmon can be found at the following links:

III. Reminder: Conference Hotel Booking Available

The Society would like to remind its participants in the 2015 Britain and the World Conference that you may now book your room at our conference hotel, the Hilton Doubletree University Area.  The room block is available until 6 March 2015 and rooms are limited, so please do not wait to book.  You may purchase your room at the following link:

IV. Society Editors on Witches, Angels, and Demons in Video Games

As announced in a previous edition of the Newsletter, Assistant General Editor Robert Whitaker has undertaken a fascinating project that investigates the relationship between history and video games. His work has been featured both in the form of online articles and in interviews with historians whose work is related to particular video games. A new episode of Dr. Whitaker’s web series, History Respawned, features an interview with Assistant General Editor Michelle Brock on the historical depiction of witches, angels, and demons in the context of the game Diablo III. Dr. Brock’s and Dr. Whitaker’s conversation is available at the following link:

V. Announcement from Newsletter Editor Leslie Rogne Schumacher for our Subscribers

It gives me great pleasure to announce that there are now more than 1000 subscribers to the British Scholar Newsletter. Not only does this number represent both past and anticipated participants in our annual conferences, but also the work of all of our members, editors, Board of Directors and Advisory Board members, and affiliates at Edinburgh University Press and Palgrave Macmillan in spreading the word of the work that The British Scholar Society is doing. This is also an indication of a new and growing energy and excitement that I think we all sense in the field of British Studies more broadly. In the coming months, I will begin to roll out a number of new regular and occasional features in the Newsletter, and I hope to see our subscriber numbers grow to even greater heights.  Thank you for reading my words, and please never hesitate to contact me with events, announcements, comments, and suggestions (lesliedotschumacheratgmaildotcom).

VI. Workshop on Empire, Slavery, and Economics at the University of Nottingham

A one-day workshop titled “The Economies of End of Empire” will take place on 28 January 2015 at the University of Nottingham. The workshop will feature several talks on slavery, abolition, and the British Empire. Admittance is free but participants should register by noon on 19 January 2015. More information can be found at the following link:

VII. British Association for Canadian Studies CFP

The British Association for Canadian Studies (BACS) will hold its annual conference in London on 23-25 April 2015. Individual and panel submissions are both welcome, and the deadline for submission is 30 January 2015. More information can be found at the following link:

VIII. Book of the Month

John E. Crowley, Imperial Landscapes: Britain’s Global Visual Culture, 1745-1820

Reviewed by Douglas Fordham, University of Virgi

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January 2015: Imperial Landscapes: Britain’s Global Visual Culture, 1745-1820

Reviewed by: Douglas Fordham, University of Virgi

John E. Crowley, Yale University Press, 2011. 320pp. US $85 (hardback).

In this ambitious and wide-ranging book, John Crowley argues that “in the second half of the eighteenth century British artists were disproportionately frequent and original in representing their imperial worlds topographically, and that distinctiveness makes their work inherently interesting from a comparative perspective.” (13) Crowley defines topographic representation as “how a place would appear to viewers if they went there themselves” (76) thereby distinguishing it from cartographic and other modes of representation. In the opening chapter Crowley examines the origins of topographic representation in Europe, and he argues for the precedence of British topography, particularly in the works of Paul Sandby, who worked on the Scottish Highland Survey following the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-46. The book then follows British-born and trained artists around the globe in chapters dedicated to Canada, the Pacific, the West Indies, the United States of America, India, and Australia. By the end of this global Grand Tour the book leaves little doubt that topographic imagery constituted a major component of British visual culture. The book is stunningly illustrated and its geographic divisions provide helpful summaries of the field as well as convenient introductions to British imperial history and its representation. The reasons for Great Britain’s “topographic imperative,” however, remain frustratingly elusive, and Crowley’s thesis raises more questions than it answers. This may not be a bad thing for the fields of imperial history and art history upon which Crowley predominantly draws, but it does suggest just how difficult it can be to unite these disciplines to the satisfaction of specialists in either.

In the opening chapter of the book Crowley tests W.J.T. Mitchell’s oft-quoted claim that landscape “is something like the ‘dreamwork’ of imperialism”. (Mitchell, W.J.T., ed. Landscape and Power, 2nd ed., 2002, p. 10). Crowley challenges Mitchell’s phrase by arguing that landscape was rather “an underused resource for European imperialism” (16) prior to the mid-eighteenth century. This is a decidedly literal reading of Mitchell’s evocative “theses on landscape” and when the book ventures into causal explanations for British art’s topographical imperative it tends to produce a rather blunt variant of Mitchell’s thesis. “The landscape of the new imperial domain congratulated British military accomplishments” in Canada (57), “picturesquely topographic art naturalized the regime of slavery by making it part of the landscape,” (139) and “British landscape art of early British India functioned as self-propaganda for polite society among Britain’s political nation.”(203) Artistic agency and public reception, to say nothing of cultural resistance and political contingency, are held safely at bay in these sweeping generalizations. It is telling, for example, that Crowley’s discussion of “The Anti-Imperial Alternative” in British India refers exclusively to the Warren Hastings trial and associated textual sources.(184) For Crowley, topographic landscape is always imperial and expansionist, a view that is surely correct on balance, but which tends to level interesting distinctions and downplay the openness and instability of visual signification.

While the bourgeoning field of “art and the British empire” has fought to hold open and interrogate the precise relationship of art to empire, Crowley leaves little doubt that empire produced, or at least necessitated, Britain’s topographic imperative. William Blake’s searing retort to conventional wisdom, that “Empire follows Art and not Vice Versa as Englishmen suppose,” is nowhere to be found in Crowley’s narrative. The question of precedence and timing is an important one, because Crowley states in the conclusion that “By the late 1780s artists and patrons in other European visual cultures were emulating the British global landscape.”(227) This suggests a delay of no more than twenty years, since Crowley returns time and again to the Seven Years’ War (1756-63) as a major impetus to British topographical representation. How significant is this delay, and is this predominantly a function of the market-driven London book and print trade, British imperial circumstance, or other factors? Crowley makes a convincing case that publications related to the Cook expeditions, for example, stimulated European emulation in subsequent decades. With a few exceptions, however, Crowley brackets out direct comparisons between British art and the art of Continental Europe to the first and the last chapter. And yet these are some of the most suggestive and provocative claims in the book, and his thesis ultimately rests on the accuracy of those claims. This kind of comparative analysis, and the recognition that the imperial periphery was marked by a hybrid agglomeration of languages and national affiliations, offers significant opportunities for further research.

If Imperial Landscapes tends to homogenize “Britain’s Global Visual Culture,” as the subtitle informs us, it nonetheless does a remarkable job summarizing and rendering coherent a vast body of scholarship that is frequently sequestered in regional and disciplinary silos. As a synthetic narrative work it highlights fault lines within and between the disciplines of art and imperial history. By isolating topographic landscape as a fairly hermetic genre, Crowley manages to unite a broad swath of imagery from around the globe over three-quarters of a century. Those who analyze topographic landscape in relation to other strands of imperial visual culture, most notably ethnographic portraits, costume studies, and graphic satire, might draw very different conclusions. Similarly, the “Britishness” of topographic landscape identifies something fundamental about the art of the eighteenth century, but it should not preclude further study into the alternative identities and colonial assertions of difference that visual representation might yield. Imperial Landscapes suggests just how far the study of imperial representation has advanced in the past decade, and it brings this material together in new and unexpected ways. It marks a major contribution to the field and one that will undoubtedly stimulate further debate.


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November 2014 Newsletter

I. Extension of Deadline: CFP for Annual Conference

The British Scholar Society has extended the deadline of its Call for Papers for our annual conference, which will be held 2-4 April 2015 in Austin, TX. More information on the conference can be found at the following link:

The conference accepts both individual paper and complete panel submissions. Submissions of individual papers should include an abstract of 150-300 words as well as a few descriptive keywords. Panels are expected to consist of three to four papers and should be submitted by one person who is willing to serve as the point of contact. Complete panels must also include a chair. In addition to abstracts for each individual paper, panel submissions should also include a brief 100-150 word introduction describing the panel’s main theme. The conference does not discriminate between panels and individual paper submissions.

All submissions for inclusion in the Britain and the World Conference must be received by Monday, 15 December 2014. Decisions on inclusion will be made by Friday, 29 December 2014. Submissions should be made electronically to editoratbritishscholardotorg. Updates regarding the conference will be periodically posted to the Society website. It is hoped that participants will be able to call upon their departments for hotel and transportation expenses.

II. Extension of Deadline: Call for Participants in Roundtables at Annual Conference

As our general CFP has been extended, we have also decided to extend the Call for Participants for two roundtables that will be featured at our annual conference. We are looking to attract scholars to take part in each roundtable, so please use the links below to read more about the planned topics as well as learn how to register your interest in participating.  The deadline to apply is Monday, 15 December 2014.

Roundtable: Atlantic and Global Perspectives

Roundtable: Britain after the Referendum

III. Additions to “Britain and the World” Book Series

Two new books in The British Scholar Society’s “Britain and the Worldbook series from Palgrave Macmillan are now available.

David A. Johnson’s New Delhi: The Last Imperial City looks at the planning, construction, and development of New Delhi between 1911 and 1931, investigating the ways in which the new city was designed both to accommodate and combat Indian self-determination. More information on Dr Johnson’s book can be found at

Brandon Marsh’s Ramparts of Empire: British Imperialism and India’s Afghan Frontier, 1918-1948 explores the latter era of Imperial Britain’s involvement in the politics and culture of the frontier between North-West India and Afghanistan. One can find out more about Dr Marsh’s fascinating book at

IV. Call for Contributors to Scotia: Interdisciplinary Journal of Scottish Studies

The editors of Scotia: Interdisciplinary Journal of Scottish Studies have announced a Call for Contributors to a future issue of their journal. They are particularly interested in receiving articles concerned with Scotland’s role in the First World War. Interested parties should send any inquiries and/or contributions to wrodneratodudotedu. Submissions should be made by February 2015 for a publication date of late summer 2015.

V. Call for Papers: Trans-Atlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions

The British Scholar Society would like to draw attention to an upcoming conference that may be of interest to its members and newsletter recipients. Below is a description from the conference organizers, including information on how to submit abstracts as well as other relevant details.

International Conference:

Trans-Atlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions


13-16 July 2015, Liverpool, UK

Call for Papers:

Trans-Atlantic dialogues on cultural heritage began as early as the voyages of Leif Ericson and Christopher Columbus and continue through the present day. Each side of the Atlantic offers its own geographical and historical specificities expressed and projected through material and immaterial heritage. However, in geopolitical terms and through everyday mobilities, people, objects and ideas flow backward and forward across the ocean, each shaping the heritage of the other, for better or worse, and each shaping the meanings and values that heritage conveys. Where, and in what ways are these trans-Atlantic heritages connected? Where, and in what ways are they not? What can we learn by reflecting on how the different societies and cultures on each side of the Atlantic Ocean produce, consume, mediate, filter, absorb, resist, and experience the heritage of the other?

This conference is brought to you by the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH), University of Birmingham and the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy (CHAMP), University of Illinois and offers a venue for exploring three critical interactions in this trans-Atlantic dialogue: heritage, tourism and traditions. North America and Europe fashioned two dominant cultural tropes from their powerful and influential intellectual traditions, which have been enacted in Central/South America and Africa, everywhere implicating indigenous cultures. These tropes are contested and linked through historical engagement and contemporary everyday connections. We ask: How do heritages travel? How is trans-Atlantic tourism shaped by heritage? To what extent have traditions crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic? How have heritage and tourism economies emerged based upon flows of peoples and popular imaginaries?

The goal of the conference is to be simultaneously open-ended and provocative. We welcome papers from academics across a wide range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, art history, architecture, business, communication, ethnology, heritage studies, history, geography, landscape architecture, literary studies, media studies, museum studies, popular culture,  postcolonial studies, sociology, tourism, urban studies, etc. Topics of interest to the conference include, but are not limited to, the following:

The heritage of trans-Atlantic encounters

Travelling intangible heritages

Heritage flows of popular culture

Re-defining heritage beyond the postcolonial

The heritage of Atlantic crossings

World Heritage of the Atlantic periphery

Rooting and routing heritage

Community and Nation on display

Visualising the Trans-Atlantic world

Abstracts of 300 words with full contact details should be sent as soon as possible but no later than 15th December 2014 to ironbridgeatcontactsdotbhamdotacdotuk.

More information can be found at the following link:

Best wishes,

Conference Convenors: Mike Robinson (University of Birmingham) and Helaine Silverman (University of Illinois)

VI. Book of the Month

Damon Ieremia Salesa, Racial Crossings: Race, Intermarriage, and the British Empire

Reviewed by Lachy Paterson, University of Otago

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November 2014: Racial Crossings: Race, Intermarriage, and the British Empire

41GDB9Ka+9LReviewed by: Lachy Paterson, University of Otago

Damon Ieremia Salesa. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. 308 pp. $US 45 (paperback)

Race has always been an important preoccupation in New Zealand society. In the country’s popular imagination, its past is predicated on national myths that it had the best race relations in the world, and that its Māori citizens were the best treated of all indigenous peoples.   Intermarriage between Māori and the Pākehā settlers, a practice encouraged even prior to formal colonisation, was often given as evidence for such claims. Damon Salesa’s Racial Crossings is an exciting investigation of the theories, discourses and policies that underpinned intermarriage, and the broader colonial project of racial amalgamation.

The volume’s subtitle, Race, Intermarriage, and the Victorian British Empire, is a little misleading. The book is not a social history of intermarriage: indeed the story concerns itself more with the discourses of racial crossing, than the lives of the actual people doing the crossing. Its focus is on roughly four decades of New Zealand history, one preceding the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) and the three following. A reader will find little detail on the policies and practice of intermarriage of colonial India, Canada, Australia or South Africa, or even of New Zealand in the last three decades of Victoria’s reign.   As Salesa notes, power was generally devolved to colonial governors, whose actions and policies were shaped by local conditions.   Although conditions may have been localised, ideas flowed more freely around the Empire. New Zealand’s pertinence to “imperial” studies is that it was colonised when humanitarianism was flourishing. After earlier examples of destructive colonisation, Britain sought to protect New Zealand’s promising “aborigines” through civilisation and amalgamation. Although missionaries, officials both in Britain and New Zealand, intellectuals and settler politicians may have had differing (and sometimes competing) agenda, a general consensus prevailed that intermarriage would benefit both Māori and colonisation.

While nineteenth-century race relations is a well-ploughed field within New Zealand historiography, Racial Crossings brings new insights. In particular, it is prepared to take seriously the racial ideology of New Zealand Company, which saw the country as eminently ideal for systematic British emigration, with its fertile soils, suitable climate and superior natives. The latter were expected to sell their lands cheaply in order to gain civilisation through close proximity with the settlers, and eventually the two races would become one. Although the Company failed in nearly all its aims except bringing the first rush of settlers to five of New Zealand’s six initial “colonies” including women (which lessened the prospect of intermarriage) Salesa argues that its discourses continued well past its dissolution. In many ways, Racial Crossings complements the seminal volume on racial amalgamation, A Show of Justice (1974), in which Alan Ward methodically investigates the incorporation of Māori into the politics and machinery of the state.   Many New Zealand historians lose sight of the imperial network of ideas that informed New Zealand’s colonisation, but Salesa effectively explicates the ideas and ideology behind government actions, and why “race” and racial mixing was so important to amalgamation.   Of particular interest are the fruits of racial mixing, the so-called “half-castes”. Theorists argued over whether the world’s races all evolved from a common source, or sprang up independently in different parts of the globe, and the nature of any progeny that might arise from racial mixing. Would they be sterile or fecund, degenerate or vigorous, the possessors of the perceived defects or strengths of their parents’ make up, and were some mixes better than others?

The prevailing views, that intermarriage was not degenerative and that Māori were promising candidates for civilisation, shaped the nature of New Zealand’s colonisation. In 1840 the new British administration was not in a position to impose amalgamation on Māori who remained effectively politically independent of governmental control. Persuasion, rather than coercion, was the only viable policy in the first two decades, although intermarriage might well aid the government’s gradual appropriation of power. Half-castes were already a feature of contact zones, and although it was initially thought that Māori and Pākehā might merge into a new race, the high rate of immigration saw the possibilities of gradual absorption of Māori into the Pākehā population, with a diminution of Māori power, and their eventual disappearance as a separate race.   As Salesa points out, Victorian sensibilities precluded the extermination of Māori, their extinction by more “tender” means was seen as good for all concerned.   Half-castes are thus central to Racial Crossings, as they were to New Zealand government policy, during both gubernatorial and settler control.   The control of half-castes, and their incorporation into European society and polity was thus a central concern of race policy in New Zealand. Much effort was expended in the attempt to shape half-castes so that they would become a force for colonial progress, and to legislatively draw half-castes away from their Māori kin.   Salesa posits that half-castes, in general, were not successfully absorbed within Pākehā society. Enduring genealogical bonds meant they remained well integrated within Māori communities, and emotional reactions could draw half-castes away from Pākehā life even after years of education and removal. However, he shies away from other factors: for example, while government policy may have promoted racial crossings, white society itself was not always as inclusive in the nineteenth century, particularly of white women marrying brown men, and half-castes may have felt more comfortable and accepted amongst their Māori kin.

Racial Crossings is not an introductory text, and indeed some prior knowledge of New Zealand history, although not obligatory, would benefit readers. What it does very well is engage with the big ideas that underlay racial thinking and discourses in the British Empire, and demonstrate how these informed British colonisation in New Zealand.


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October 2014 Newsletter

I. Reminder: CFP for Annual Conference

The British Scholar Society would like to remind everyone of the Call for Papers for our annual conference, which will be held 2-4 April 2015 in Austin, TX. More information on the conference can be found at the following link:

The conference accepts both individual paper and complete panel submissions. Submissions of individual papers should include an abstract of 150-300 words as well as a few descriptive keywords. Panels are expected to consist of three to four papers and should be submitted by one person who is willing to serve as the point of contact. Complete panels must also include a chair. In addition to abstracts for each individual paper, panel submissions should also include a brief 100-150 word introduction describing the panel’s main theme. The conference does not discriminate between panels and individual paper submissions.

All submissions for inclusion in the Britain and the World Conference must be received by Monday, 17 November 2014. Decisions on inclusion will be made by Friday, 5 December 2014. Submissions should be made electronically to editoratbritishscholardotorg. Updates regarding the conference will be periodically posted to the Society website. It is hoped that participants will be able to call upon their departments for hotel and transportation expenses.


II. Annual Conference Keynote Speaker Named

The Keynote Speaker for the Britain and the World 2015 Conference will be Professor Jane Ohlmeyer of Trinity College Dublin.  Professor Ohlmeyer’s Keynote Address is titled ‘Eastward Enterprises: Colonial Ireland, Colonial India’, and it will reconstruct the career of Gerald Aungier, the most important early governor of Bombay (1669-1677).  Aungier was the grandson of an early seventeenth-century Wexford planter and the brother of the earl of Longford, an active colonist and entrepreneur who developed 1670s Dublin on the back of Indian treasure. Aungier planted and colonised Bombay much as his relatives had Ireland during an earlier period. This lecture explores similarities and differences in the colonial processes and looks again at Irish and British expansionism in the East.


III. Call for Participants in Roundtables at Annual Conference

Britain and the World 2015 will feature two roundtables of the greatest importance to all scholars concerned with Britain’s history and future.  We are looking to attract scholars to take part in each roundtable, so please use the links below to read more about the planned topics as well as learn how to register your interest in participating.  The deadline to apply is Monday, 17 November 2014.

Roundtable: Atlantic and Global Perspectives

Roundtable: Britain after the Referendum


IV. Reminder: Book Reviews Editor Needed

The British Scholar Society would like to remind our newsletter recipients of its call for a new Book Reviews Editor for its journal, Britain and the World. Those interested in taking on this responsibility should email editoratbritishscholardotorg with inquiries or to submit your name for consideration. Please include a current CV and a brief note explaining your background, your experience, and the resources you would offer if you took on the position. We will begin reviewing applications for the position on 1 November, so if you are interested in applying please plan on submitting the necessary materials by Friday, 31 October 2014.


V. General Editor’s Note on the September Newsletter

From the Society’s General Editor, Bryan S. Glass:

“The reference to the Edinburgh conference in the last newsletter simply related to factors (the organizers only able to arrive on site during the latter planning stages of the conference, the conference being held in several buildings rather than one, problems encountered with serving refreshments to participants, and the unfortunate circumstance of prolonged bad weather) which did not apply at Newcastle.  Even with these difficulties it was still an excellent conference and we cherish the support we received from the University of Edinburgh, its faculty, and staff.  See our conference recap at:  No criticism of the University or its staff was intended.”

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September 2014 Newsletter

I. 2014 Conference Retrospective from Director of Outreach, Martin Farr

The British Scholar Society’s Director of Outreach, Martin Farr, has written a retrospective on our 2014 annual conference in Newcastle, which was regarded by all involved as a great success and perhaps the best conference we have thus far had. Especially satisfying to all of us at the Society were the numerous plaudits from conference participants that Dr Farr received in the weeks following the conference. Dr Farr’s thoughts on the conference (reproduced below) and the notes of praise and thanks he received testify to the continued growth of the Society and of the connections we continue to make, across the British World and beyond.

A note from Director of Outreach, Martin Farr:

2014 was the second time conference had been held in the UK.  Unlike Edinburgh 2012, however, Newcastle 2014 had someone on the ground (me).  This meant that conference dominated my life to an unhealthy extent for the best part of six months, but it did mean that we had none of the problems that made Edinburgh such a challenging experience.  The weather was much better, for instance.  The greatest challenge to my composure was the number of speakers who withdrew in the weeks, and indeed days, beforehand.  Never having submitted a paper to a conference unless I knew I could deliver it, I was surprised how many people don’t.   We still had 38 panels, 124 papers, and six plenaries which include Lunchtime Lectures on each day. The conference was held in the School of History at Newcastle University, with all plenaries in our nice new teaching rooms, and lunch and refreshments upstairs.  Having all delegates in the same place all the time was the greatest improvement on Edinburgh.  The social events – at the Baltic, Alnwick Castle, and the Town Wall – went very well.  It was all an enormous relief.  There’s nothing I can add to the unsolicited feedback received from delegates, here presented anonymised and complete:

*“Just a note to say thanks and congratulations for such a fantastic conference last week. As a latecomer to the BSS party it was great to meet so many people working on such interesting topics and to spend some time in Newcastle. The sessions were really first class and I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable conferences I’ve been to. I have had lunch with Wm Roger Louis since and passed on how well it all went.  I hope you can both now enjoy a bit of a break. Congrats again and all best wishes.”

*“Just to record my thanks for your inspiration and efforts in putting together such a fine event. The David Reynolds lecture was a truly outstanding finale.”

*“Well done for the excellent organisation of the conference. I really liked Newcastle, though I did not have much time to look around. It was also very nice to see British Scholar team and team members”

*“I would like to thank you for organising, once again, a great conference with stimulating papers and entertaining moments in a friendly atmosphere. Please pass on my thanks to all the other colleagues involved in the organising of such an event which, as I know, requires a lot of hard work!”

*“Just wanted to send you both a message of thanks for all of your hard work in organizing the conference in Newcastle.  It was a big task, I’m sure, but you both betrayed so little sign of it that I might have believed it all came together organically without so much as an email being sent around.  I know better though, and so I thought you’d like to hear how universally positive all of the conversations about the conference proved to be.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, made some new friends, very much enjoyed seeing both of you, and that seemed to be the case for everyone I spoke to as well.   Hopefully you have the chance to get some well earned rest!”

*“Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the conference. You and your colleagues in the British Scholar and Newcastle University did a top notch job – you have obviously done it before! The panels were good and the questions raised were engaging. I look forward to Austin next year, if I can get the funding! Keep in touch.”

*“Brilliant conference Martin, and the dinner at Hogwarts was inspired.”

*“Just wanted to drop you an email to say thanks for a great conference this weekend and for putting me on to the Britain and the World Series at Palgrave. It sounds like they may be interested which is brilliant.  Hope you’re having a well-earned rest!”

*“Congratulations on a successful conference. For me, the lunchtime lectures were the highlight. John and Reba belong to very different traditions, but they complemented one another very well.”

*“I just wanted to take the time to thank you both for putting on such an excellent conference.  It was certainly the best ‘big’ conference I’ve ever been to, and – dare I say – perhaps even better than one I ran here in Aberdeen that previously held my all-time top spot!  Anyway, I know for certain that I wasn’t the only one to really enjoy it, and I think that bears testament to all of the hard work that both of you put in.  I’m not sure if I can make it to Austin, but if I’m lucky enough to still be in academia the year after I’ll definitely try and make it to the next UK-based one.  So, thanks once again to both of you!”

*“I just wanted to drop you a quick note to tell you how much I enjoyed the British Scholar conference. I hope the rest of the event and the wrap party went well. I’ll definitely aim to submit an abstract for next year’s event. As I mentioned last weekend, it was a very welcoming and stimulating atmosphere and it was very well organised.”

*“I didn’t get chance to see you before I left but I thought it was a great conference – lots of interesting papers, very relaxed atmosphere and great venues.”

*“I did not get the chance to say this in person on Saturday: many thanks for putting together a great conference!”

*“It was a great conference – I really enjoyed getting a different perspective (from the top of the world down rather than looking up!) and meeting different people. I hope I can make it to another Britain and the World conference again – possibly in 2016.”

*“Well done on a great conference…it all seemed to go very smoothly and well. I really enjoyed it”

*“Congratulations on a very successful conference. You must be exhausted now.”

*“Thank you so much for organizing such a wonderful conference, and for inviting me to present a paper. I had such a lovely time, and got some excellent feedback. I will be sure to encourage my fellow KCL history PhD students to submit abstracts in the future!”

*“Excellent conference, at every level that I had the privilege to be part of.  The Town Wall pub was great and getting very busy, so we headed out for dinner on Grey Street.  I’ll send more later, but very well done!”

*“Thank you for organizing such a great conference. Our session yesterday went very well.”

*“I hope you are at last able to get some relaxation.  I was going to say to you ‘Just think of the lovely Sunday you will have’ when [I was told] that you would be having a meeting on Sunday!  Anyway, I send you my warmest congratulations on a superb conference, marked not only by its intellectual meat, but also by terrific organisation – all thanks to you and Mikki. So this is just to let you know how warmly appreciated it all was. And do please pass on my congratulations to Mikki. And a special thanks for all your care and concern for my welfare. Also greatly appreciated.”

*“I couldn’t resist sending a quick note to thank you both for everything over the past few days. I had a truly wonderful time at the conference — indeed, I am really struggling to find the proper words to express how much I enjoyed and appreciated all that you did, from the panels, to the keynotes and lectures, to the overall organization and atmosphere of the conference. I felt both comfortable and energized, on both intellectual and personal levels, and Newcastle was just great. You really have something special here in this group and I am honored and privileged to be a part of it now. It all sounds horribly trite as I type it out now, so I will stop here and leave it at a simple, additional thank you!! It’s a long time until March, but I eagerly await next year’s conference.”

II. Call for Papers for 2015 Annual Conference of The British Scholar Society

With the 2014 annual conference still fresh in our minds, we are pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the next annual meeting of the Society, which will be held 2-4 April 2015 in Austin, TX. As always, we are accepting both individual paper and complete panel submissions.  The deadline to submit abstracts is Monday, 17 November 2014.  Please refer to the following link for more information on the conference and instructions for the submission of abstracts:

III. Some Thoughts on Scottish Independence and The British Scholar Society

A note on the Scottish independence referendum from Associate Editor, Leslie Rogne Schumacher:

Our annual conference in Newcastle coincided with the lead-up to what will, with little doubt, be regarded in the future as one of the key political and cultural events in modern British history, namely the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Although the union was ultimately confirmed by a margin of 55% to 45%, we have now learned both the strength and the limits of the bonds that tie together the United Kingdom—and, indeed, the British World as whole, given the coverage, concern, and debate that was in evidence throughout Britain’s former colonies, the United States, and beyond. We have also learned of the high degree of political involvement that exists in Scotland, with an astonishing 85% turnout of eligible voters—a number that, even more astonishingly, includes newly enfranchised 16 and 17 year-olds voting for the first time. As an example of the spirit of democracy, there can be no doubt of how heartening this last statistic is.

In the last few months, The British Scholar Society suddenly found itself at the heart of modern politics, which is not surprising given the Society’s role in providing a corrective to the exclusion of the Scottish space in British Studies (not to mention the Society’s strong representation of Scottish scholars among its members). General Editor, Bryan S. Glass, has been very active, providing his insights on the referendum and Scottish history more broadly both in public appearances and to the press. Last week, the Chairman of the Society’s Advisory Board, Sir Tom Devine, was interviewed on Newsnight, engaging in a fascinating, must-watch debate with Harvard professor Niall Ferguson ( on the issue of Scottish independence. As a testament to the powerful dynamic that is emerging between social media and scholarship, other Society members—such as Karly Kehoe, Martin Farr, Mikki Brock, Robert Whitaker, and myself—found themselves in a rolling, near-constant debate on Facebook—a too-often-belittled forum that, for scholars, never fails to expose the narrow gap between one’s work and one’s life.

Looking back on the mixture of emotions I have seen in the last few months—of fascination, anxiety, pride, resentment, and (more than anything) that rare and sought-after sense of being present during an auspicious event—I can only say that I am glad to be a part of this organization and to have so many thoughtful, concerned colleagues and friends. Although what we do may often appear to be just a small, routine contribution to the task of organizing the vagaries of history, we should feel lucky to have had a chance to take part in the present and, more importantly, be of use to it. There is no greater gift a scholar receives than the opportunity to have an impact.

IV. Additions to “Britain and the World” Book Series

Two new books the Society’s “Britain and the Worldbook series from Palgrave Macmillan are now available. Barry Gough’s Pax Britannica: Ruling the Waves and Keeping the Peace before Armageddon provides an analysis of the global role of Britain’s navy between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War. More information on Dr Gough’s book can be found at Erik Nielsen’s Sport and the British World, 1900-1930: Amateurism and National Identity in Australasia and Beyond looks at transnational themes in the history of amateur sports in Australia and New Zealand. One can find out more at,-1900-1930-erik-nielsen/?isb=9781137398505.

V. New Issue of Journal Now Available

The new issue of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society is now available both in print and online. Members can access it at the following link:

VI. Associate Editor on the British Royal Family

Associate Editor of the Society Helene von Bismarck has written a piece on the centrality of the family to the popularity of the British monarchy overseas. Please go to the following link to read Dr von Bismarck’s fascinating article, titled “The Cambridges in Australia: Balmorality 2.0?”:

VII. Call for Review Article Submissions to Britain and the World

Britain and the World is seeking submissions for review articles that trace the historiographical direction and current state of the field of any topic that fits the mission of the journal.  Britain and the World publishes review and archival-based articles that present new knowledge on any geographical region or theme that evidence meaningful interaction with Britain.  Please inquire with Professor Gregory A. Barton, Editor-in-Chief, at gabartonatbritishscholardotorg  (gabartonatbritishscholardotorg)  .

VIII. Needed: Book Reviews Editor for Britain and the World

The British Scholar Society is issuing a call for a new Book Reviews Editor for its journal, Britain and the World. Those interested in taking on this responsibility should email editoratbritishscholardotorg  (editoratbritishscholardotorg)   with inquiries or to submit your name for consideration. Please include a current CV and a brief note explaining your background, your experience, and the resources you would offer if you took on the position.

IX. Book of the Month

Graeme Morton, Ourselves and Others: Scotland, 1832-1914

Reviewed by Christopher A Whatley (University of Dundee)

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