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The Cambridges in Australia: Balmorality 2.0?

Helene von BismarckDr. Helene von Bismarck, Associate Editor

Students of the British Empire and students of the British monarchy are faced with a similar dilemma: the lack of a clear set of rules that makes either system intelligible. The Empire, with its wide variety of complicated constitutional arrangements, its formal, semi-formal and informal parts, may be largely gone today, but its successor organization, the Commonwealth of Nations, can only be understood if it is put into the context of the gradualism and pragmatism that characterized British imperialism for centuries and that left its legacy for substantial parts of the globe. A historic approach is also essential for those seeking to grasp the political and cultural relevance of the British monarchy, an institution whose role has continuously evolved and changed over time in a country with no written constitution. The recently concluded visit to New Zealand and Australia by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their little son, Prince George, has been a good opportunity to look back on the historic relationship of monarchy and Empire-Commonwealth, and to discuss the consequences of the past for the present. In many ways, this royal tour can be interpreted as an attempt to breathe new life into two interrelated concepts that have defined the role of the British monarchy and its connection with the Empire, and later the Commonwealth, for at least a century: family and visibility.

When Victorian writer Walter Bagehot famously remarked in his 1867 study of The English Constitution that ‘a family on the throne is an interesting idea’, he probably was not thinking of a baby prince on a play date in New Zealand.[1] However, little Prince George’s recent encounter in Wellington with a group of fellow toddlers selected carefully – and with due political correctness – from among his future subjects, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s informal meeting with their parents, could have easily been used by Bagehot as an example to illustrate his argument that the advantage of a family monarchy laid in turning the otherwise abstract concept of sovereignty into something ordinary people could understand and relate to.[2] The pictures of the happy young family on their trip Down Under fit neatly into a tradition which began with Victoria and Albert and their numerous children, was continued and reinforced by George V and Queen Mary, George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, and, of course, Queen Elizabeth II, but was drastically interrupted during the 1990s, when one widely publicized family drama after the other struck the House of Windsor. The whole idea of family monarchy has been based on the condition that the royal family would live and behave in a certain manner, conveying a set of values, ‘Balmorality’, as Sir David Cannadine calls it, that do not include scandal, adultery or divorce.[3] At least until now, the Cambridges have met that set standard, and in an age when any photograph of them travels the globe in an instant, everyone can see it.

The fact that the Duke and Duchess have chosen this trip to Australia and New Zealand, rather than public engagements in Britain, to finally give the world more than a glimpse of Prince George, and to introduce themselves as a small family jointly working for the monarchy, is also meaningful, and not only because of the continuity demonstrated by a visit of two future kings to their subjects on the other end of the globe. Since the later years of Queen Victoria’s reign coincided with the high age of imperialism, the British monarch has been portrayed and staged as the head of two different families, one real, one metaphorical: the royal family, and the ‘great imperial family’.[4] This was part of a process in the course of which the Empire gave the British monarchy a new role after it had been deprived of most of its political power at home: to act as a symbol of the connection between Britain and its colonial dependencies. Splendid ceremonial events, such as the Dehli Durbars of 1877, 1903 and 1911, when Victoria, Edward VII. and George V., were proclaimed Empress and Emperors of India, were used to reinforce that image.[5] The strategy of being seen and, following the invention of the wireless, being heard, both in Britain and across the Empire, was taken to a new level by King George V. and his wife, Queen Mary, after the First World War. Shaken by the series of revolutions that had swept away the monarchy in so many countries on the European continent and cost the King’s cousin, Tsar Nicholas II., his life, George V. and his consort added new elements to their roles by making themselves visible to the people, putting a greater emphasis on royal charity, cooperating with the press, broadcasting royal speeches and dispatching their grown-up children to tour the Empire. Their legacy for the British monarchy could be felt throughout the twentieth century and continues to do so.[6]

The Empire no longer exists, but the metaphor of family ties that have bound its former components together has survived and continues to resonate to the present day.[7] Interestingly, the use of this rhetoric is not one-sidedly British or restricted to the royal family. In his speech on ANZAC day 2014, delivered during a war memorial service attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott underlined the ‘family’ ties that in his opinion continue to bind his country to Great Britain, even if the latter could no longer be called Australia’s ‘mother country’.[8] New opinion polls show that support for the monarchy in Australia is much stronger now than it was during the 1990s, and especially pronounced among the young generation. This contradicts earlier expectations that the role of the monarchy in the Commonwealth realms would automatically phase out in the post-imperial age.[9] The question remains, of course, whether the revived popularity of the monarchy in Australia can be regarded as a sign of a continued link with Britain, or whether it results from the fact that, in the age of digital media, the Duke and Duchess, and now also their little son, have turned into global icons that are likely to attract great interest anywhere, not just the Commonwealth. In any case, the masterfully staged royal tour to Australia and New Zealand has shown that the next generation of the British royal family is ready to embrace the strategy of public Balmorality. The most important prerequisite for its use is in place: people are watching.

 


[1] Walter Bagehot, The English Constitution (London 1963), p. 117.

[2] On Bagehot’s line of argument see Philip Murphy’s enlightening new book, Monarchy and the End of Empire. The House of Windsor, the British Government, and the Postwar Commonwealth (Oxford 2013), pp. 1-2.

[3]David Cannadine, History in our Time (London 1997), pp. 3-4.

[4] Cannadine, Ornamentalism (London 2001), p. 119; History in Our Time, p. 4.

[5] Cannadine, Ornamentalism, p. 101-107.

[6] Miranda Carter, George, Nicholas and Wilhelm. Three Royal Counsins and the Road to World War I (New York 2009), p. 422.

[7] Murphy, Monarchy and the End of Empire, p. 3.

[9] On the prominence of this perception during the age of decolonization see Murphy, Monarchy and the End of Empire, p. 8.

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Professor Tom Devine Knighted

DevinepicThe Chair of The British Scholar Society’s Advisory Board, Professor Tom Devine, has been granted a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.  This marks the first time that a professional historian of Scotland has been granted a knighthood.  We at the Society congratulate Sir Tom on this terrific achievement.

If you would like to read an interview with Sir Tom appearing in The Herald you may find it here: http://www.heraldscotland.com/books-poetry/interviews/sir-tom-devine-on-past-highs-present-lows-and-future-plans.24448673

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June 2014: Faces of Perfect Ebony: Encountering Atlantic Slavery in Imperial Britain

9780674050082Reviewed by: Susan D. Amussen (University of California, Merced)

Catherine Molineux.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.  Xvi+341 pp.  US$49.95 (hardback).

In this important book, Catherine Molineux examines the “cultural intelligibility” of images of Black people in eighteenth century Britain, as well as the “popular racial and imperial consciousness it presupposed”(1), demonstrating that the relatively small Black population of eighteenth century Britain (and especially London) was rendered considerably more visible than mere numbers would suggest.  In a chronologically and archivally wide-ranging study, Molineux moves from elite portraits to popular magazines, trade cards, Hogarth’s prints, and dramatic and satirical representations of slavery.     While the principal contact zone between the British and imperial others was across the Atlantic, Molineux argues that visual, literary and dramatic representations moved the contact zone into the metropole.

Molineux begins with the tradition of elite portraits including Black attendants; she places these in a longer iconographic tradition.  Later images of people of African descent echo, revise, and challenge the models set by the portraits.   The second chapter examines the way seventeenth century Britons understood the purposes of empire, and especially its growing reliance on African slavery, through an analysis of texts, including Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko and Thomas Southerne’s theatrical adaptation of it: she reads these as ways the British harmonized their commitment to liberty and the nature of empire.   The debates on the nature and origins of human variety in the Athenian Mercury  in the 1690s  move between accepting variety as divinely established, and assuming that racial others become white in heaven.  As she demonstrates more clearly in the fourth chapter, the success of the plantation project is connected to the veracity of Protestantism, so the English empire is connected to both imperial and religious rivalry; the greater care and kindness of British treatment of both Indians and slaves was central to that.   A chapter on tobacco trade cards and papers shows how plantation slavery is visually erased from the story of tobacco, while some sellers offer a vision of universal fraternity linking Black and white smokers.  Hogarth’s prints use Black figures – often  based on real people – to point out the hypocrisies and deceptions central to his work.   Finally, the “rebel slaves” starting with Mungo from Isaac Bickerstaff’s opera The padlock and moving to abolitionist tracts show the gradual incorporation of ideas of slave resistance into English thinking.

While a growing body of research has illuminated aspects of these issues, Molineux’s work is notable for its equal engagement with visual and textual representations of people of African descent.   As she argues convincingly, each of these traditions of representation is in some way or other unstable, often saying two things at once, simultaneously suggesting complete difference and radical similarity.   Particularly in visual culture, Black bodies could be used to tell radically different stories, so both anti-slavery and pro-slavery advocates drew on the same visual traditions.   Her theoretically sophisticated and nuanced readings of texts and images work against simplistic understandings of the place of Black people in the imaginary of Empire.  This is an impressive and important, if sometimes dense book.   It definitively demonstrates the pervasive visibility of people of African descent in the media of eighteenth century Britain.   Furthermore, its chronological range allows Molineux to show that abolitionist imagery and rhetoric does not just emerge in the late eighteenth century, but draws on a set of ideas and depictions which have developed over the course of a century.

This is an exemplary work of cultural history, but it also shares a common weakness of cultural history.  In pointing to the wide visibility of people of African descent in British culture, Molyneux never addresses the impact of these representations on the very real Black people whose presence is reflected and magnified in the cultural record she explores.  Ignacio Sancho makes a few appearances, as do several others. The focus remains, however, on representation.  The reader cannot help wondering: what is the significance of these representations outside the field of representation?  How do they shape relationships between the embodied citizens of London?  What does the debate on the nature of skin color mean for what people do when they meet people of different races?  Do the images on tobacco cards make a difference in encounters between white and Black Britons?   To put it another way, what is the life of these depictions outside the world of cultural representation?   None of these questions are theoretically or methodologically unproblematic, but they are vital.

To ask such questions is to ask for another book, and these are questions that can be asked because this one is so rich.   This is a book that every student of the early British Empire, and indeed of eighteenth century culture and society, will find illuminating and stimulating.  Britons encountered their empire in a multitude of ways, and that the non-white inhabitants of that empire were both visible and legible.  Britain has been in some ways a multi-racial society for far longer than most people recognize.

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June 2014 Newsletter

 

I. New Way to Sign Up for Annual Conference Dinner Party

To stimulate the greatest possible participation in the activities associated with the Society’s annual conference, we have arranged for a separate way to purchase a ticket to the dinner party. This is intended for those who are interested in attending the dinner party but are otherwise unable to attend the conference. This will hopefully make our dinner party truly an historic event—in both senses of the term!

For those who want to attend the dinner but cannot come to the rest of the conference (or if you did not sign up for the dinner party when you first registered and would now like to attend), go to the following link and follow the instructions to sign up:

http://webstore.ncl.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=1&deptid=6&catid=25&prodid=1047

II. Final Newsletter Reminder: Register for Annual Conference

We are less than two weeks away from the start of the Society’s annual conference, so we would like to issue a final newsletter reminder to register for the conference using the following link:

http://webstore.ncl.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=9&catid=53&prodid=297

Registration Rates are as follows:

Faculty Member: £55

Student Member: £45

Faculty Non-Member: £115

Student Non-Member: £105

If you are not yet a Member of the Society but would like to join before Registering for the Conference please visit http://britishscholar.org/british-scholar/membership/.

III. Updates to Conference Programme

A number of updates and additions have been made to the programme for the Society’s annual conference. Please visit the following link to peruse the more than one hundred panels and presentations that will be featured:

http://britishscholar.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Britain-and-the-World-2014-Draft-Programme-2-1.pdf

IV. David Reynolds’ Keynote Address at Annual Conference

We are very excited that Professor David Reynolds, Chair of the Faculty of History and Fellow of Christ’s College Cambridge, will be delivering the keynote address at this year’s conference. Quite germane given that this year marks the centennial of the opening of the First World War, the title of his lecture is “Britain and the Long Shadow of the Great War.”

V. Final Newsletter Reminder: Accommodation Information for the Annual Conference

Rooms can fill up fast when there are conferences in town, and thus we would like to issue a final reminder via newsletter to conference participants who have not yet booked their accommodations in Newcastle to visit the special website we have set up to facilitate this process. We have made agreements for special pricing for conference participants at the following hotels, all of which are conveniently located in relation to conference meeting areas as well as local sites and attractions.

County Hotel

Holiday Inn Express

Sleeperz Newcastle

Euro Hostel

Albatross Backpackers

The conference website offers more detailed information on the nature of these lodgings, including their level of affordability and proximity to Newcastle University.

VI. Society General Editor in Debate on Scottish Independence

On 29 June the Society’s General Editor, Dr Bryan S. Glass, will take part in a debate on whether Scotland should be an independent kingdom, sponsored by Intelligence Squared and hosted at the Chalke Valley History Festival in Wiltshire, UK. Alongside Sir Menzies Campbell, Michael Gove, and Sir Simon Jenkins, Dr Glass will be debating the following motion under the moderation of Bronwen Maddox:

“History shows that Scotland and England would be better off as separate kingdoms.”

More information on the Chalke Valley History Festival, which will run from 23 to 29 June, can be found at the following link:

http://www.cvhf.org.uk/

Those interested in learning more about Intelligence Squared and its sponsored debates should go to their website:

http://www.intelligencesquared.com/

VII. Book of the Month

Catherine Molineux, Faces of Perfect Ebony: Encountering Atlantic Slavery in Imperial Britain

Reviewed by Susan D. Amussen

 

 

 

 

 

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May 2014: J. C. Beaglehole: Public Intellectual, Critical Conscience

9781877577802Reviewed by: James Watson, Massey University

Doug Munro. Wellington: Steel Roberts, 2012 106pp. £14.99 (paperback).

A significant feature of the countries of major British settlement has been the extent to which so many of their best university students have travelled, and continue to travel, to the United Kingdom itself to further their educations and their careers.  During the twentieth century a growing number of such students returned to their native countries as the latter developed academic and research facilities of their own.  John Cawte Beaglehole (1901-71) must rank as the most successful such New Zealand returnee of his generation, despite the fact that he came back without a job to go to.  His work, particularly that on the journals of the Cook voyages, led to his being appointed to the Order of Merit, only the second New Zealander (after Ernest Rutherford) to receive that honour.

Beaglehole has not been neglected in the historiography.  One of his sons, also an historian, has published a biography,  based in large part on his father’s personal correspondence.  The latter is clearly a treasure trove of material on much of New Zealand’s intelligentsia during the mid-twentieth century, but it sadly appears to be not yet publicly accessible.  A greatly condensed version of the biography is in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.    John Beaglehole was one of two Victoria University of Wellington history professors examined by Bill Oliver in that institution’s centenary publication and the author of this work, Doug Munro, devoted a chapter to him in a work on Pacific historians.

Munro describes this small book as ‘a revision and expansion’ of that chapter, designed to be considerably more affordable for a New Zealand audience than his British publication.  He might have added that readers could also find it less daunting to tackle than the almost five hundred pages of text in the biography, despite how absorbing they would find it if they did make the effort.

As indicated by the subtitle to his book, Munro has chosen to concentrate on Beaglehole’s role in public life in New Zealand rather than his academic career and publications.  Nevertheless, this provides massive scope, as Beaglehole, although not a good public speaker and by nature a private person, felt driven to fight for causes that attracted great controversy locally.   Denouncing political censorship and espousing left-wing ideas even when he lacked permanent employment showed unusual courage and cost him at least two sorely needed academic appointments at the outset of his career.

It is clear from this book and from the biography that Beaglehole’s public interests revolved around two related concerns – furthering the development of European high culture in New Zealand and defending freedom of expression.  Initially devastated by the prospect of returning to what he saw as a cultural wasteland, the fact that the Labour Government (1935-49) was prepared to invest in high culture and to some extent involve Beaglehole himself in that process reconciled him to life here.  Munro quotes (p.36) from a very revealing 1946 letter in which Beaglehole wrote of his ‘becoming a New Zealander’.  By this Beaglehole meant not that he was himself undergoing a fundamental transformation – such as embracing a life of rugby, racing and beer – but rather acknowledging that New Zealand was beginning to acquire enough of the attributes of European high culture to make him feel comfortable and to make it worthy of being regarded as a nation.  Beaglehole worked incessantly to encourage not only state sponsorship of music, art and literature, but also private initiatives, such as the Wellington Chamber Music Society.  He pressed for the establishment of proper archive facilities and the preservation of historic buildings.

Beaglehole’s championing of freedom of expression was not unrelated to this vision of New Zealand establishing itself as a worthy modern European nation in which radicals in art and politics were unconstrained by dull ‘provincial’ conformists.  He took a prominent role in opposing the extension of state power to limit freedom of expression during wartime, during the 1951 waterfront dispute and in the form of a Police Offences Bill following that dispute.  He contributed much to the subsequent formation of the New Zealand Council of Civil Liberties, which was instrumental in persuading the Government to introduce a less arbitrary form of censorship of publications in the 1960s.

This is a very accessible account of Beaglehole’s contribution to public life in New Zealand and is to be recommended.  I was particularly impressed by the way Munro brought his personal knowledge of orchestral music to bear in assessing the fairness of Beaglehole’s controversial review of the first concert of the National Orchestra by listening to a recording of the performance.  However, the author seems rather too generous to his subject when he maintains that Beaglehole was publicly less confrontational than another New Zealand intellectual, Bruce Mason, who also despised local ‘provincialism’.  Beaglehole’s brilliant writing all too often betrayed his contempt for those he needed to win over.  It is likely that this reduced the effectiveness of his arguments for state support for projects during a time when the National Party dominated government.

 

 

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May 2014 Newsletter

 

I. Reminder to Register for Annual Britain and the World Conference

The 2014 Britain and the World Conference is drawing closer, and thus we would like to remind conference participants to register for this exciting event by using the following link:

http://webstore.ncl.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=9&catid=53&prodid=297

Registration Rates are as follows:

Faculty Member: £55

Student Member: £45

Faculty Non-Member: £115

Student Non-Member: £105

If you are not yet a Member of the Society but would like to join before Registering for the Conference please visit http://britishscholar.org/british-scholar/membership/.

Please visit the following link to preview the more than one hundred panels and presentations that will be featured at this year’s Britain and the World Conference:

http://britishscholar.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Britain-and-the-World-2014-Draft-Programme.pdf

II. Online Registration for the Dinner Party at Alnwick Castle Available

We are very excited to be able to offer our conference participants the opportunity to enjoy dinner and conversation in the Great Hall of Alnwick Castle, well-known as the set of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. An additional, but very reasonable, fee of £50 per person is required to enjoy this unique event. To facilitate participants’ registration for the dinner party, we are using an online system that allows you to register for the dinner as part of your overall conference registration (which, as listed above, can found at the following link: http://webstore.ncl.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&catid=53&prodid=297).

Once you have navigated to this site, click on “Book Event” and follow the instructions to create a new user account (if you do not already have one). The dinner party fee can be chosen as an additional option to add to your conference registration fee.

III. Reminder: Accommodation Information for the Annual Conference

The Society would like to remind participants in this year’s conference that we have set up a webpage to facilitate the booking of accommodations.  You can make your own arrangements, but we have arranged deals with the following establishments for 19-21 June 2014 which vary in price, although all are within a few minutes’ walk of each other:

County Hotel

Holiday Inn Express

Sleeperz Newcastle

Euro Hostel

Albatross Backpackers

The conference website offers more detailed information on the nature of these lodgings, including their level of affordability and proximity to Newcastle University.

IV. Addition to Britain and the World Book Series by Society Editor

John Griffiths (Massey University), who serves as Book Reviews Editor for Britain and the World: Historical Journal of the British Scholar Society, has published a book in the British Scholar Society’s book series from Palgrave Macmillan. Griffith’s monograph, Imperial Culture in Antipodean Cities, 1880-1939, provides a much-needed investigation of urban history of the Britain’s Antipodean colonies. Visit the following link to read a more detailed description of Dr Griffiths’ important work, as well as learn about options for purchase:

http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=715407

V. Book of the Month

Doug Munro, J. C. Beaglehole: Public Intellectual, Critical Conscience

Reviewed by James Watson

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April 2014 Newsletter

In this issue:
I.        Draft Programme for 2014 Britain and the World Conference Now Available
II.      Social Events Announced for 2014 Britain and the World Conference
III.    Registration for the 2014 Britain and the World Conference Now Open
IV.    Accommodation Information for the 2014 Britain and the World Conference
V.      Position of Society Minutes Secretary Open
VI.    General Editor Bryan Glass to participate in an Intelligence Squared Debate on Scottish Independence
VII.   Society Editors on History in Video Games
VIII. International Conference on Commerce in the “Indian Ocean World”

I. Draft Programme for 2014 Britain and the World Conference Now Available

The draft programme for The British Scholar Society’s annual Britain and the World Conference in Newcastle, UK is now available. It features over a hundred presenters from more than a dozen countries and nearly forty panels on a range of topics related to the British world. In addition, several exciting plenary talks have been announced:

*The lunchtime lecture on Thursday 19 June will be delivered by Reba Soffer (California State University, Northridge) on the topic of “Fiction and Realities in the Interwar Decades: The Newer Men and the Newer Women.”

*The annual Frank Turner Memorial Lecture will be given on the evening of Thursday 19 June by Jenny Wormald (University of Edinburgh), whose presentation is titled “‘The Curse of Meroz’: Britain and the World in the Seventeenth Century.”

*A special “brunchtime” lecture on Friday 20 June will feature Professor John MacKenzie, who will speak on ‘Sniping from the Periphery: The Historical Awkward Squad’..

*Andrew Thompson (University of Exeter) will deliver this year’s Britain and the World Lecture on the afternoon of Friday 20 June, on the subject of “Humanitarianism on Trial: How a Global System of Aid and Development was Forged through the End of Empire.”

*General Editor of The British Scholar Society Bryan S. Glass (Texas State University) will speak on “The Scottish Nation at Empire’s End” for the lunchtime lecture on Saturday 21 June.

*This conference’s Keynote Address will be given by David Reynolds (Christ’s College, Cambridge), on a topic to be announced.

Please visit the following link to preview the other fascinating panels and presentations that will be featured at this year’s Britain and the World Conference:

http://britishscholar.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Britain-and-the-World-2014-Draft-Programme.pdf

II. Social Events Announced for 2014 Britain and the World Conference

 This year’s Britain and the World Conference in Newcastle, UK will feature several conference-wide events, continuing the Society’s tradition of using its conference to help foster intercontinental intellectual connections and promote stimulating conversation over good food and drink. This year’s conference participants can look forward to:

*An Icebreaker gathering on the evening of Thursday 19 June will take place on the Riverside Terrace at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (BALTIC), a world-class art museum housed in a renovated mill situated on the River Tyne and overlooking the Gateshead Millenium Bridge, which will be lit in The British Scholar Society’s primary colour of red for the evening. More information on BALTIC’s building and collections can be found at the following link:

https://www.balticmill.com/

*The night of Friday 20 June will feature the annual Conference Dinner Party, which will be held this year at Alnwick Castle, famous for being the set of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Conference participants will be transported via private coaches, to dine in Alnwick’s Great Hall. More information, including pictures, on Alnwick Castle can be found at the following link:

http://www.alnwickcastle.com/

The State of the Society address will be given before dinner at Alnwick Castle where the Wm. Roger Louis Prize will be awarded.

*A final gathering will be held in the evening on Saturday 21 June at the Town Wall Pub, located in the historic Bewick House, providing conference participants with an opportunity to reflect on the conference’s proceedings, enjoy the company of old friends, and hopefully cement new, international relationships in a symbol of The British Scholar Society’s mission. Visit the following link to learn more about the Town Wall Pub and its rich history:

http://www.thetownwall.com/

*Conference participants and other interested parties can go to the following link for more information on conference events, as well as view a virtual tour of conference facilities, an interactive map of Newcastle University, and information on special collections housed at the university for those who may decide to do some research whilst in the area:

http://britishscholar.org/2014-conference/

III. Registration for the 2014 Britain and the World Conference Now Open

Participants can now register online for the annual Britain and the World Conference at the following link:

http://webstore.ncl.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=9&catid=53&prodid=297

Registration Rates are as follows:

Faculty Member: £55

Student Member: £45

Faculty Non-Member: £115

Student Non-Member: £105

If you are not yet a Member of the Society but would like to join before Registering for the Conference please visit http://britishscholar.org/british-scholar/membership/ and purchase your Membership today!

This year’s Conference Dinner Party at Alnwick Castle—a truly unique event—requires an additional, but very reasonable, fee of £50 per person. Participants can manage both their registration and dinner fee by visiting the link listed at the top of this item.

IV. Accommodation Information for the 2014 Britain and the World Conference

The Society has set up a webpage to facilitate the booking of accommodation. You can make your own arrangements, but we have arranged deals with the following establishments for 19-21 June 2014 which vary in price, although all are within a few minutes’ walk of each other:

County Hotel

Holiday Inn Express

Sleeperz Newcastle

Euro Hostel

Albatross Backpackers

The conference website offers more detailed information on the nature of these lodgings, including their level of affordability and proximity to Newcastle University.

V. Position of Society Minutes Secretary Open

The Society would like to announce the opening of a position as the Minutes Secretary for meetings of the Administrative Board, which take place each year at the annual conference. Requirements for the position include a proficiency with note-taking (both typed and written), efficient organizational ability, and good communications skills. Interested parties can contact General Editor Bryan S. Glass at editoratbritishscholardotorg.

VI. General Editor Bryan Glass to participate in an Intelligence Squared Debate on Scottish Independence

The General Editor of The British Scholar Society, Bryan Glass, will participate in an Intelligence Squared debate on whether Scotland should be an independent kingdom at the forthcoming Chalke Valley History Festival (Date: Sunday, 29 June). Along with Jeremy Black, Sir Menzies Campbell, and Sir Simon Jenkins he will be debating the motion: HISTORY SHOWS SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND WOULD BE BETTER OFF AS SEPARATE KINGDOMS. The debate will be moderated by Bronwen Maddox. For more information on this debate and to book your tickets, visit http://www.cvhf.org.uk/speaker/bryan-glass/ and click on the event link to the right.

VII. Society Editors on History in Video Games

Assistant General Editor Robert Whitaker has embarked on a fascinating and much-needed investigation into the way history is presented, created, and often fictionalized in the medium of video games. History in literature, films, live drama, and music has long been considered an essential part of understanding the cultural underpinnings of the historical narrative. However, to this point investigations of video games with historical textures have largely been the province of game studies/theory or journalism on popular culture. Mr. Whitaker has written several articles on the subject of history in video games, as well as conducted a range of interviews with fellow historians for his YouTube series History Respawned. A number of Mr. Whitaker’s important contributions should be of great interest to Society members and Newsletter recipients:

*“History Respawned: Assassin’s Creed IV” features an interview with General Editor Bryan S. Glass, who discusses the Golden Age of Piracy as depicted in the game Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. You can watch the full forty-five minute interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C9h3p5Efa4.

*Mr. Whitaker and Dr. Glass have also contributed a fascinating guest post to the early Americanist blog The Junto, titled “‘X’ Marks the History: Plundering the Past in Assassin’s Creed IV.” Those interested can read it here: http://earlyamericanists.com/2014/02/05/guest-post-x-marks-the-history-plundering-the-past-in-assassins-creed-iv/

VIII. International Conference on Commerce in the “Indian Ocean World”

Newsletter recipients whose area of study falls in the region of the Indian Ocean may be interested in a conference hosted by McGill University’s Indian Ocean World Centre on the topic of “Currencies of Commerce in the Great Indian Ocean World,” to be held 22-24 April 2015 in Montreal, Canada. An abstract of no more than 500 words should be sent to iowcatmcgilldotca by 1 October 2014. More information on the conference can be found here, and interested parties are encouraged to visit the IOWC’s website in the coming months as information is added.

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March 2014 Newsletter

Contents

  • I. Still Time to Submit Abstract for 2014 Britain and the World Conference
  • II. Reminder of Annual Membership Drive
  • III. March Issue of Britain and the World now available
  • IV. Article by Society Member Trevor Simmons
  • V. Call for Papers: “Representing World War I: Perspectives at the Centenary” Conference
  • VI. Call for Submissions to Special Issue of the English Academy Review on “Fragile Futures”

 

I. Still Time to Submit Abstract for 2014 Britain and the World Conference

There is still just over a week left to submit an abstract for the seventh annual Britain and the World Conference. The deadline for abstracts to be in is 15 March 2014. The conference, which will be held in Newcastle, UK from Thursday, 19 June through Saturday, 21 June 2014, at present still has ample open spaces for both individual and paper submissions, and so we encourage anyone who is interested to send in an abstract.

Submissions for paper and panel abstracts can focus on any element related to Britain’s interactions with the world from the seventeenth century to the present, and we are especially interested in those that highlight the importance of British history from a global perspective. Established scholars, scholars at the beginning of their careers, and graduate students are welcome to apply and present at the conference.

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. Proposed 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/discussant. 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.

Submissions should be made electronically to editoratbritishscholardotorg  (editoratbritishscholardotorg)  

We will keep our members and newsletter subscribers informed of new information related to the conference in the coming months. For more information on the conference, its events, and accommodation arrangements, please go to http://britishscholar.org/2014-conference/.

A draft of the conference program will be available by the end of March.

 

II. Reminder of Annual Membership Drive

For 2014, the cost of membership in The British Scholar Society remains the same price that is was for 2013, namely $59 for the year. Membership in the Society at this level must be renewed annually and includes the following benefits:

  • Two issues of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society
  • A discounted British Scholar Annual Conference registration rate
  • Access to Britain and the World on our Edinburgh University Press webpage
  • 20% off all history titles from Palgrave Macmillan
  • 20% off all history titles from Cambridge University Press
  • 20% off all books published by Edinburgh University Press
  • 10% off all Edinburgh University Press journal subscriptions

The Society also offers a Life Membership for one-time donations of $1000 or more.  In addition to the annual membership benefits, Life Membership includes:

  • A subscription to Britain and the World for life, with no need to renew
  • Full online access to Britain and the World for life
  • Your name will be featured in the Register of Life Members, found in each issue of Britain and the World and on The British Scholar Society website

Go to http://britishscholar.org/british-scholar/membership/ for more details on how to sign up for either level of membership in The British Scholar Society.

 

III. March Issue of Britain and the World now available

The March issue of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society is now available. It can be accessed at the following link:

http://www.euppublishing.com/journal/brw

The Editorial Introduction by Gregory A. Barton, “Is Meritocracy History?,” and an article by Karen Fox, “An ‘Imperial Hangover’? Royal Honours in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, 1917-2009,” are available to view for free.  If you would like access to the rest of the journal (including prior issues), you must obtain a membership ($59/year) in The British Scholar Society by going to http://britishscholar.org/british-scholar/membership/.

 

IV. Article by Society Member Trevor Simmons

Society member Trevor Simmons of the University of Texas-Austin has published a review essay on the Society’s website that will likely interest many of our newsletter recipients.  Titled “Settlers, Migrants, and the British World,” Mr. Simmons’ essay provides a perspective on Marjory Harper’s and Stephen Constantine’s book Migration and Empire and Robert Bickers’ book Settlers and Expatriates: Britons over the Seas, both of which are part of Oxford University Press’ Companion Series to the Oxford History of the British Empire. Mr. Simmons excellent essay can be found at the following link:

http://britishscholar.org/publications/2014/03/05/review-essay-settlers-migrants-and-the-british-world/

 

V. Call for Papers: “Representing World War I: Perspectives at the Centenary” Conference

Humber Liberal Arts @ IFOA (International Festival of Authors) has announced a call for papers for a conference reflecting on the First World War a century after it began. The conference will be held in Toronto, ON from 31 October through 2 November, 2014 at Toronto’s famous Harbourfront Centre, and will feature a range of panels on topics related to the Great War. The official CFP and more information on the conference can be found at the following link:

http://www.humber.ca/liberalarts-ifoa/

 

VI. Call for Submissions to Special Issue of the English Academy Review on “Fragile Futures”

The English Academy Review: Southern African Journal of English Studies has announced a call for submissions to a special issue on the concept of “fragile futures,” guest edited by Durham University’s Marc Botha. Scholars with an interest in the relationship between literature, fragility, and the future are encouraged to submit articles to be considered for inclusion. The deadline for submissions is 30 April 2014. More information can be found at the following link:

https://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/node/54937

Posted in News, Newsletter | Comments closed

Review Essay: Settlers, Migrants, and the British World

Reviewed by: Trevor Simmons, University of Texas at Austin

Migration and EmpireMigration and Empire

Authors: Marjory Harper and Stephen Constantine

Publisher: Oxford University Press, Companion Series of the Oxford History of the British Empire

Date of publication: 2010

380 pages.

Migration and EmpireSettlers and Expatriates: Britons over the Seas

Editor: Robert Bickers

Publisher: Oxford University Press, Companion Series of the Oxford History of the British Empire

Date of publication: 2010

357 pages.

Scholars of ‘Britain and the World’ have long recognized the importance of migration and settlement in the history of empire.  The outflow of migrants from the British Isles helped to settle large parts of both the Old and the New Worlds, including a number of British colonies, several spheres of ‘informal influence,’ and the ‘neo-Britains’ of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and southern Africa.  The idea that white settlement contributed to the strength and unity of the British Empire traces back as far as the writings of Sir Charles Dilke in the 1860s, who believed that it was the destiny of the English race to ‘girdle the earth’ by imposing ‘Saxon institutions’ and the English tongue on the new lands of Anglo settlement.[1]  Later in the nineteenth century, J.R. Seeley gave the idea academic respectability when he suggested that British migration was leading to an ‘organic unity’ of the English-speaking world, which might in due course result in an ‘imperial federation’ of Britain and the settler colonies.[2]  The expansion and ‘peopling’ of the so-called ‘white empire’ became one of the principal themes of imperial history for the next three generations.  It shaped both the topics of enquiry and the resulting interpretations of imperial history, as typified by the nine volumes of the Cambridge History of the British Empire, written between 1929 and 1961, and the five volumes of the Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs, published between 1937 and 1974.

The perception that British migration and Anglo-Saxon unity were the hobbyhorses of imperial apologists caused the study of the ‘white empire’ to fall into a prolonged period of neglect, which began in the 1960s and coincided with the end of empire.  In its place arose a new interest in the study of the newly independent nations emerging from colonial rule.  Histories of the former colonies, including the white dominions, came to resemble sagas of a progressive march toward nationhood, or of protracted, anti-colonial struggles for freedom.  Historians increasingly focused on the local causes of historical development and the indigenous experiences of colonialism, in which locality, province, and nation became the dominant categories of analysis.  The result was that the former significance attached to the wider associations of the British World became fragmented into discrete national and regional histories, in which British influence, even in the white settler colonies, came to be regarded as a temporary phenomenon that played only a marginal role in the formation of national character.[3]

The two books under review – Migration and Empire, and Settlers and Expatriates – represent part of a larger movement in imperial history of restoring the themes of migration and settlement to the privileged status they once enjoyed in the minds of contemporary observers.  They do so, however, without the old undertones of Anglo-Saxon race pride or the Churchillian belief in the historical destiny of the English-speaking peoples.  Their mutual aims are rather more modest, and can be summarized as follows.  First, they attempt to describe the volume and character of migration within the British Empire, not only from the British Isles, but between various colonies, and back to the United Kingdom itself.  Secondly, both books show in different ways how migration influenced the history of empire – sometimes, for example, by transferring labor to distant lands where unexploited resources awaited, at other times by drawing political ties closer through the bonds of kith and kin.  Finally, both books show how the processes of migration and settlement created distinctive societies abroad, marked by the culture of their countries of origin, but also shaped by the unique conditions in the new lands of settlement.

Of the two books under review, Migration and Empire, a co-authored study by Marjory Harper and Stephen Constantine, is ultimately the more comprehensive overview of migration within the British Empire.  The book ranges widely over the whole period from 1815 to the 1960s.  It includes substantial discussions on migration in all parts of the empire, which was facilitated on a large scale in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by expanding steamship and railway networks, telegraph connections, the postal service, and a vast increase in newspaper circulation.  The authors describe their study as ‘specifically a story of empire,’ since settlement in distant lands ‘consolidated and extended possession’ and strengthened political bonds between the metropole and periphery.[4]  Both authors approach the subject having already published a large number of books and articles on emigration from the British Isles.  They bring this expertise to the present volume in the form of highly detailed statistical data and a familiarity with the wider literature that makes possible a survey of such scope and ambition.  The net effect of empire migration between 1815 and 1960, Harper and Constantine argue, was the ‘economic transformation of much of the world outside Europe.’[5]  Migration transferred labor and capital to distant lands.  It carried cultural and political values from the Old World to the New, leaving a lasting imprint on the countries of settlement.  Above all, this immense transfer of people helped to create a high degree of economic harmony between the colonial regions, which produced raw materials and primary goods, and the metropolitan economy, which supplied capital, labor, commercial services, and shipping.  Together, the authors argue, these large-scale flows of migrants within the British Empire, combined with the economic and social transformations of which they were a part, help to ‘explain much about the modern world.’

As with any project of this scale, much of the content is determined by the emphasis accorded to various regions of the empire.  Harper and Constantine are interested primarily in the lasting demographic and economic consequences of the large volume of emigrants from the United Kingdom, which the authors estimate to have approached nearly twenty million of the fifty million emigrants who left Europe between 1815 and 1930.  The greatest attention is accordingly given to British emigrants destined for the familiar ‘old dominions’ of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and southern Africa, whose histories are described in the first four chapters, which take up nearly half the book.  This core discussion on the dominions is complemented by supporting chapters on various marginalized groups of migrants, including Africans, British Indians, Pacific Islanders, West Indians, and even female and juvenile migrants.  Finally, in the last chapter, Harper and Constantine examine the phenomenon of ‘return migration’ back to the United Kingdom, a peculiar twist on the same theme that tends to strengthen their analysis of the causes and consequences of migration.

One of the threads running through Migration and Empire is a careful analysis of the factors of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ that motivated people to migrate.  It is in this respect that Harper and Constantine use their empire-wide analysis to its best effect.  They attempt to compare the motives, means, and experiences of UK migrants with their non-European counterparts in Asia, Africa, and the West Indies.  In general, migration from the United Kingdom occurred primarily as a matter of free choice, motivated by the prospect of material improvement.  White emigrants found it much easier to secure passage to a distant land, to buy and sell property, to gain capital and start businesses, and to achieve all the customary rights of Englishmen in their new countries of habitation.  White emigrants from Britain were thus often ‘pulled’ by opportunities expected overseas as much as they were ‘pushed’ by poor circumstances at home.  Moreover, as Harper and Constantine explain in several excellent chapters on the migration business, the timing and destination of emigration from the United Kingdom was often motivated by various positive inducements.  Subsidies, assisted passages, and promises of land – such as those proposed in the Empire Settlement Act of 1922 – were all offered at various times by metropolitan and colonial governments seeking to augment settlers societies with the right kind of racial and cultural stock.

Non-Europeans, by contrast, enjoyed far less freedom of choice and more limited opportunities overseas.  Many of them migrated under compulsion as indentured laborers or plantation workers sent to destinations where labor shortages were most acute.  The ‘push’ factor was usually paramount for non-Europeans, the authors explain, owing to high taxes, scarce land, and poor conditions in their countries of origin.  Although some non-Europeans migrated by free choice and became very successful, the majority occupied what Harper and Constantine called the ‘lower level in a dual labor market,’ forced to undertake difficult and poorly paid work.  Many non-European migrants, like Gandhi in South Africa, were also deprived of legal and political rights, and treated as second-class citizens, making it more difficult for them to make the transition to a new home overseas.  Using the empire as a wider unit of analysis that encompasses both Europeans and non-Europeans allows Harper and Constantine to examine the phenomenon of migration comparatively, to more easily identify the unique features of each type, and thus to provide us with a valuable survey that will doubtless guide the work of many other scholars of migration in the British Empire.

Despite its similar themes and complementary discussion, Settlers and Expatriates, edited by Robert Bickers, takes a very different approach to the history of migration in the British Empire during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  The contributors to this volume analyze the overseas Britons outside the dominions, and outside the colonial and military services, whose experiences as migrants fit awkwardly in major categories of research.  The book’s chapters provide case studies of the major populations of Britons that were formed overseas by non-officials, traders, planters, professionals, entrepreneurs, and state functionaries at all levels in the police, health services, public works, merchant marine, and railways – in short, the people who have been called ‘expatriates’ right up to the present day.  Being an expatriate, as compared to an emigrant, implies temporary habitation overseas.  Many of the Britons who lived abroad in the two centuries covered by this volume did so to pursue careers and opportunities not available at home.  When their work overseas was finished or their riches were made, they often returned to Britain.  Many others expatriates in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries wrote to, revisited, and remitted money to family and friends back home.  British expatriates also clung to staples of British culture and created distinctive, tightly knit, and insular communities in the process.  It is the purpose of Settlers and Expatriates to trace the oft forgotten experiences of these globally dispersed, temporary British sojourners, who often get overshadowed in the historical literature by the much larger volumes of people migrating to the colonies of white settlement.

The geographical focus of Settlers and Expatriates lies in regions where inhabitants of British descent constituted a minority.  The various chapters discuss British expatriate communities in both foreign and colonial territories, including those formed in Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, southern Africa, India, Ceylon, Malaya, and China.  Bickers describes these disparate expatriate communities as ‘mini-Britains,’ since they, like the larger ‘neo-Britains,’ developed overlapping local and global identities that were influenced by an expansive sense of Britishness.[6]  This geographical focus allows the contributors to emphasize a second defining theme of the volume.  Because of the perception of living in an alien and unfamiliar land, British settlers and expatriates in non-European countries often felt a stronger urge to create enclaves of British life and culture, which they achieved in part by recreating the comforts of home and maintaining a connection to the wider British World.  The tendency of expatriates to cling to symbols of Britishness created a high degree of commonality between the disparate territories discussed in this volume, despite the distance separating them and the influence of local culture.  Moreover, the contributors argue that empire and settlement performed complementary functions.  British ascendancy and imperial power created opportunities for Britons to migrate overseas, to entrench themselves in new lands, and to better negotiate the challenges they faced.  Conversely, the outpouring of settlers and expatriates helped to strengthen and extend imperial power owing to the loyalty and connection Britons felt for the home islands.  The precise outcome of settlement patterns and identity formation, Bickers argues, depended to a large extent on the ‘local structures of British authority, changing patterns of power, the politics and policies of the host state, and on factors like war, cold war, economics, and resistance.’[7]

One final theme worth stressing concerns the phenomenon of ‘return migration.’  This theme receives thorough attention in Migration and Empire as well, but return migration was a more typical experience for the expatriates and sojourners who lived abroad temporarily in countries whose inhabitants were primarily non-European.  Bickers points out – by reference to Marjory Harper’s earlier work, incidentally[8] – that some 40 percent of English and Welsh migrants returned to the British Isles between 1870 and 1914.  Many others followed the same course both before and after this period, especially in the age of decolonization, when the end of the empire put colonial officials out of the job, and gave others a sense of uncertainty about the transition to new, untried governments.  The act of traveling abroad for extended periods – sometimes in multiple countries – and then returning home for late career or retirement gave expatriate communities an impermanent and contingent quality.  For British expatriates themselves, the experience was, as Bickers writes, ‘dislocating but wholly ordinary.’[9]  The British penchant for travel and living abroad helps to explain why, even after independence, British society as a whole has continued to show a predisposition to migration.

Each of the books under review thus bring to the study of empire a view of British communities abroad that adds substantially to the recent scholarship on the English-speaking world, and the close connections that developed between its many constituent parts.  It is useful to take stock here of how the two books under review will be viewed by fellow historians interested in using them for teaching and research.  There is no question that Harper and Constantine’s Migration and Empire is the more thorough of the two books.  Their attempt to cover migration in the whole empire over two centuries has allowed the authors to collate an immense amount of demographic and statistical data, to analyze empire migration comparatively in all its forms, and to offer a provisional synthesis of a wide range of secondary literature.  Such an approach enhances the value of the book for other historians, both for writing lectures and for buttressing research with a compendium of accurate, detailed, and well-researched data.  At the same time, however, it is a very challenging book, unlikely to be found accessible by undergraduates new to the subject.  Its 350 pages are densely packed with numbers and figures, percentages, rates and trends, and proportions.  The publishers also gave it a somewhat smaller font than other volumes in the OHBE series, adding to its feeling of density.

Settlers and Expatriates, on the other hand, is an altogether easier, more accessible, even more elegant volume, characterized by its excellent stand-alone essays by eminent scholars in several distinct but overlapping fields of study.  It adds immeasurably to the value of this book that its individual case studies, already well known to specialists, have been placed within a broader framework of analysis, and published with the prominence that attends all of the contributions to the Oxford History of the British Empire.  The book’s major weakness is that it attempts to analyze the putative transnational phenomenon of migration with a series of chapters focused, in the main, on national units of study.  An edited volume of this kind inevitably excludes certain countries, too, like the West Indies and Uruguay.  Nevertheless, while the content of Settlers and Expatriates lacks the unity that can be achieved by a single sweep in a co-authored book like Migration and Empire, it is hard to imagine a more distinguished retinue of historians following Bickers into what was, until recently, a relative backwater of historical research.  John Lonsdale on Kenya, David Washbrook on India, Tim Harper on Malaya, Robert Bickers on China, John Lambert on South Africa, as well as several others, all rounded out by John Darwin’s excellent overview at the end of the volume, makes Settlers and Expatriates valuable for its individual essays as much as for the novelty of the combined effort.

The real value of these two volumes, however, is the contribution they make to a young sub-discipline known as the ‘British World’ initiative, which emerged a little over a decade ago in a series of conferences spearheaded by James Belich, John Darwin, Phillip Buckner, Robert Holland, and Carl Bridge.[10]  ‘British World’ scholarship is based on the presumption that English-speaking countries, including the United States, shared enough in common to make them a viable unit of historical analysis, comparable to the ‘Atlantic World’ or the ‘Pacific World,’ a transnational phenomenon that was politically divided between different states and colonies, yet broadly united by shared language, culture, race, and institutions that were products originally of the British Isles.  In contrast to the old ideas of Dilke and Seeley, however, the new ‘British World’ scholarship approaches the subject using the established methods of social, cultural, and economic history, combined with recent insights on transnational networks and global interactions.[11]  Migration and settlement, as described in the volumes under review, formed an important function in peopling the far reaches of this disparate ‘British World’ that we now seek to study from a transnational perspective.

The premise of the ‘British World’ initiative is not without its debt to other scholars, of course.  J.G.A. Pocock outlined a very similar conception of a ‘new British history’ as early as 1973, in which he argued that ‘Britishness’ should be analyzed as a cultural identity that developed first in the British Isles, then spread across the seas through migration, and then, following the end of empire, became dispersed into cultural ‘islands’ that were indelibly marked by their historical association with Great Britain.[12]  Britons overseas, he argued, assumed overlapping British identities, just like the inhabitants of the British Isles could simultaneously claim some combination of Welsh, English, Scottish, Irish, British, or even imperial identity.  More recently, in the 1980s and 1990s, John MacKenzie authored and edited a number of books detailing the influence of empire on British society and culture.[13]  Cultural and literary studies, as influenced by Edward Said, played a role in showing how conceptions of race influenced the character of empire, and how, too, the racial and cultural prejudices of the age helped to extend and solidify the feeling of shared Britishness, even as they alienated and excluded indigenous peoples.  Ann Stoler and Frederick Cooper have proposed one method of studying these peculiar issues by calling for the study of the colonizer, not just the colonized.[14]  Many more examples could be cited.  Even the Oxford History of the British Empire has recognized the new field of ‘British World’ history by dedicating the last four volumes of its ‘Companion Series’ to subjects that fall firmly within the ‘British World’ tradition of scholarship.[15]  It is a testament to the growing importance of the field that the prestigious Beit Professorship of imperial and Commonwealth history at Oxford University has broadened its scope to include ‘transnational’ and ‘global’ history[16], and that its most recent appointee, James Belich, was elected to the position freshly on the heels of his publication of arguably the most substantial work of ‘British World’ history to date, Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 1783-1939 (Oxford University Press, 2009).  Given the rising prominence of the British World in historical studies, it is hardly surprising to witness the success that has attended to The British Scholar Society, the Society’s book series with Palgrave MacMillan, and its journal, Britain and the World, published with Edinburgh University Press.  Migrants and Empire and Settlers and Expatriates, together these scholarly developments, make clear that settlers and colonists, not just the colonized, have returned as a topic of serious concern in imperial history.



[1] Charles Wentworth Dilke, Greater Britain: A Record of Travel in English-Speaking Countries during 1866 and 1867, Volume 1 (London: Macmillan, 1868).

[2] J.R. Seeley, The Expansion of England (London, 1883).

[3] This historiographical shift was first discussed in a lecture by David Fieldhouse, later published as: “Can Humpty-Dumpty be put together again? Imperial History in the 1980s,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Vol. 12 (1983-84), pp. 9-23.  More recent variations of the theme are provided by A.G. Hopkins in “Back to the Future: From National History to Imperial History,” Past and Present, No. 164 (1999), pp. 231-34; and “Rethinking Decolonization,” Past and Present, No. 200 (August 2008), pp. 211-247.

[4] Harper and Constantine, Migration and Empire (Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 3.

[5] Ibid, p. 7.

[6] Robert Bickers, ed., Settlers and Expatriates: Britons over the Seas (Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 2

[7] Ibid, p. 5

[8] See Marjory Harper (ed.), Emigrant Homecomings: The Return Movement of Emigration, 1600-2000 (Manchester, 2005).

[9] Bickers, Settlers and Expatriates (2010), p. 4.

[10] See especially the books and articles that emerged from these conferences: David Armitage, “Greater Britain: A Useful Category of Analysis?” American Historical Review, Vol. 104, No. 2 (1999), pp. 427-445; Carl Bridge and Kent Fedorowich, “Mapping the British World,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Vol. 31, No. 2 (2003), pp. 1-15; Bridge and Fedorowich, The British World: Diaspora, Culture, and Identity (2003); Phillip Buckner and Carl Bridge, “Reinventing the British World,” The Round Table, Vol. 368 (2003), pp. 77-88; Phillip Buckner and R. Douglas Francis (eds.), Rediscovering the British World (2005); and Buckner and Francis (eds.), Canada and the British World: Culture, Migration, and Identity (2006).

[11] Several books closely related to ‘British World’ scholarship include: Duncan Bell, The Idea of Greater Britain: Empire and the Future of World Order, 1860-1900 (Princeton University Press, 2007); Gary Magee and Andrew S. Thompson, Empire and Globalisation: Networks of People, Goods and Capital in the Brtish World, c. 1850-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2010); and John Darwin, The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World-System, 1830-1970 (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

[12] See especially: J.G.A. Pocock, “British History: A Plea for a New Subject,” Journal of Modern History, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Dec., 1975), pp. 601-621; and Pocock’s collected essays, The Discovery of Islands: Essays in British History (Cambridge University Press, 2005).

[13] MacKenzie’s influence is particularly strong in Manchester University Press’s ‘Studies in Imperialism’ series, but also in his own books, including Propaganda and Empire: The Manipulation of British Public Opinion, 1880-1960 (Manchester University Press, 1984); and MacKenzie (ed.), Imperialism and Popular Culture (Manchester University Press, 1986).

[14] See especially Ann Stoler and Frederick Cooper (eds.), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (University of California Press, 1997); and Cooper, Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History (University of California Press, 2005).

[15] In addition to the two volumes under review, see Phillip Buckner (ed.), Canada and the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2010), and Deryck Schreuder and Stuart Ward (eds.), Australia’s Empire (Oxford University Press, 2010.

[16] See the announcement published by Oxford University: “Beit Professorship of the History of the British Commonwealth, in association with Balliol College”:

(http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/global/wwwoxacuk/localsites/currentvacancies/furtherparticularsforprofessorships/wd107-0710.pdf).

Posted in Book of the Month, News | Comments closed

February 2014 Newsletter

Contents

  • I.     Reminder: Rolling Deadline for Submissions to 2014 Britain and the World Conference
  • II.   Extension of Lower January Rate for Annual Membership
  • III. Two Articles by Associate Editor Dr Helene von Bismarck
  • IV.  Lineup in March Issue of Britain and the World
  • V.    Essay Competition in BritishNavalHistory.com
  • VI.  Call for Submissions to Special Issue of Peace & Change on Northern Ireland

 

I. Reminder: Rolling Deadline for Submissions to 2014 Britain and the World Conference

The British Scholar Society would like to remind our newsletter recipients that we are still accepting submissions to the seventh annual Britain and the World Conference on a rolling basis until 14 March 2014. The conference, which will be held in Newcastle, UK from Thursday, 19 June through Saturday, 21 June 2014, at present still has ample open spaces for both individual and paper submissions, and so we encourage anyone who is interested to send in an abstract.

Submissions for paper and panel abstracts can focus on any element related to Britain’s interactions with the world from the seventeenth century to the present, and we are especially interested in those that highlight the importance of British history from a global perspective. Established scholars, scholars at the beginning of their careers, and graduate students are welcome to apply and present at the conference.

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. Proposed 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/discussant. 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.

Submissions should be made electronically to editoratbritishscholardotorg  (editoratbritishscholardotorg)  

We will keep our members and newsletter subscribers informed of new information related to the conference in the coming months. For more information on the conference, its events, and accommodation arrangements, please go to http://britishscholar.org/2014-conference/

II. Extension of Lower January Rate for Annual Membership

For 2014, the cost of membership in The British Scholar Society will remain at $59 for the year. We have additionally extended the discount we normally give to those who sign up in January, thus that if you join before 10 February 2014 the price of your membership will be discounted to $52 for the year. Membership in the Society at this level must be renewed annually and includes the following benefits:

  • Two issues of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society
  • A discounted British Scholar Annual Conference registration rate
  • Access to Britain and the World on our Edinburgh University Press webpage
  • 20% off all history titles from Palgrave Macmillan
  • 20% off all history titles from Cambridge University Press
  • 20% off all books published by Edinburgh University Press
  • 10% off all Edinburgh University Press journal subscriptions

The Society also offers a Life Membership for one-time donations of $1000 or more.  In addition to the annual membership benefits, Life Membership includes:

  • A subscription to Britain and the World for life, with no need to renew
  • Full online access to Britain and the World for life
  • Your name will be featured in the Register of Life Members, found in each issue of Britain and the World and on The British Scholar Society website

Go to http://britishscholar.org/british-scholar/membership/ for more details on how to sign up for either level of membership in The British Scholar Society.

III. Two Articles by Associate Editor Dr Helene von Bismarck

Associate Editor of The British Scholar Society Dr Helene von Bismarck has published two fascinating articles that can be found on the Society’s website. The first is a careful and measured assessment of a seminar hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on the subject of the UK Mission to the United Nations. All of those interested in Britain’s post-1945 role in global politics should be sure to read it. It can be found at the following link:

http://britishscholar.org/publications/2013/07/30/witnessing-the-united-kingdom-at-the-united-nations/

Dr von Bismarck’s second article engages the vital question of the United States’ imperial character by questioning the role of the Anglo-American relationship in America’s and Britain’s connected and overlapping imperial experiences. Those interested in the global character of Britain as an empire and a cultural influence on American foreign policy must read Dr von Bismarck’s excellent contribution to the discussion of these important historical issues:

http://britishscholar.org/publications/2013/10/11/imperialism-and-the-global-anglo-american-relationship/

IV. Lineup in March Issue of Britain and the World

The table of contents for the March issue of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society. Its thoughtful and intriguing contributions include:

  • *Gregory A. Barton, “Is Meritocracy History?”
  • *Karen Fox, “An ‘imperial hangover’? Royal Honours in Australia, Canada and New Zealand,
  • 1917–2009”
  • *James Owen, “Exporting the Westminster model: MPs and colonial
  • governance in the Victorian era”
  • *John Griffiths, “The Branch Life of Empire: Imperial Loyalty Leagues in Antipodean Cities –
  • Comparisons and Contrasts with the British Mode”
  • *Christopher Sutton, “Britain, the Cold War, and ‘the importance of influencing the young’: a comparison of Cyprus and Hong Kong”
  • *Witness to History: Noel A. Kinsella and Charles Robert, “Britain, Canada and Scotland: Some Reflections on the History and Practical Nature of Accommodation”

 

V. Essay Competition in BritishNavalHistory.com

BritishNavalHistory.com has announced an essay competition for articles on British naval and/or maritime history (and related fields), which may be of interest to Society members and newsletter followers. The 2014 Alan Villiers Lecture Essay Competition is supported by the Society for Nautical Research, the Naval Review, and the British Naval Research Association. The deadline for submissions is 30 April 2014. The CFP and more information can be found at this link:

http://www.britishnavalhistory.com/2014-alan-villiers-memorial-lecture-essay-competition/

VI. Call for Submissions to Special Issue of Peace & Change on Northern Ireland

Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research has accounced a call for submissions to a special issue on peace process in Northern Ireland from 1994 to the present. Scholars with an interest in any aspect related to the peace process (as well as how the Northern Ireland peace process fits into discussions of peace and reconcilication more broadly) are encouraged to submit articles to be considered for inclusion. The deadline for submissions is 1 April 2014. More information can be found at the following link:

http://jdstover.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/call-for-papers-peace-change-a-journal-of-peace-research-special-issue-peace-and-society-in-northern-ireland-1994-2014/

 

 

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