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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

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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).

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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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Holiday Newsletter 2013/2014

Contents

I.     Happy Holidays from The British Scholar Society
II.   Call for Papers for 2014 Britain and the World Conference Reopened: Rolling Deadline for Submissions until 15 March 2014
III. Renew Your Membership before 31 January and Save!
IV.  Details on Speakers Scheduled for Annual Conference
V.    Events Planned for Annual Conference
VI.  Accommodation Information Available for Annual Conference

I. Happy Holidays from The British Scholar Society

The British Scholar Society would like to wish all of its members, former (and future) annual conference participants, readers of and authors in Britain and the World, and followers of its newsletter a very happy holiday season.  Hopefully, 2014 will bring many exciting developments in your lives, and we hope that the Society will contribute to your scholarly pursuits in the coming year.

II. Call for Papers for 2014 Britain and the World Conference Reopened: Rolling Deadline for Submissions until 15 March 2014

The British Scholar Society would like to issue an important notice regarding submissions to the seventh annual Britain and the World Conference: we are reopening the call for papers.  Now, abstracts for complete panels and individual papers will be accepted on a rolling basis until 15 March 2014.  We are extending the deadline because we have received numerous enquiries from scholars asking if they might still submit.  For anyone submitting by the 15 December 2013 deadline, you will still be notified by Friday, 17 January 2014 about whether your paper has been accepted for inclusion. The conference will be held in Newcastle, UK from Thursday, 19 June through Saturday, 21 June 2014.

Submissions for paper and panel abstracts may 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 should also include a chair/discussant (if this proves impossible we will help out here). 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)  .

III.  Renew Your Membership before 31 January and Save!

For 2014, the cost of membership in The British Scholar Society will remain at $59 for the year. However, if you join before 31 January 2014 the price of your membership will be discounted to $52 for the year. Membership in the Society at this level is 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.

IV. Details on Speakers Scheduled for Annual Conference

Confirmed speakers for this year’s conference include Professor David Reynolds and Professor Jenny Wormald.  David Reynolds is Professor of International History and a Fellow of Christ’s College. From October 2013 he will be Chairman of the Faculty of History. His visiting positions include posts at Harvard, Nihon University in Tokyo and Sciences Po in Paris. He won the Wolfson Prize for History, 2004, and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005 and a member of the Society of American Historians in 2011. He is the author of eleven books, and three edited or co-edited volumes. He has also written and presented nine historical documentaries for BBC TV, ranging across the international history of the 20th century, as well as the award-winning BBC Radio 4 series America, Empire of Liberty. Professor Reynolds will present the Keynote Address on Saturday, 21 June in the Kings Hall at Newcastle University (Kings Hall Information). Jenny Wormald is currently an Honorary Fellow in Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh. She previously taught at the University of Glasgow (1966-1985) and Oxford University (1985-2005). She has published important works on bloodfeud, the Scottish Reformation, and the reign of James VI and I. She will deliver the Conference Opening Lecture on Thursday, 19 June. More information about these lectures as well as the announcement of the Frank Turner Memorial Lecture and the Global Britain Lecture will appear in our Newsletter in the months ahead.

V. Events Planned for Annual Conference

The Britain and the World Conference 2014 will include our Conference Icebreaker on Thursday night, 19 June, at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, our Dinner Party on Friday night, 20 June at historic and beautiful Alnwick Castle (Harry Potter’s Castle), as well as our Conference wrap-up party at the Town Wall Pub and Eatery on 21 June. These events will provide numerous opportunities for networking and merrymaking in and around England’s northern capital city of Newcastle. The fifth annual Wm. Roger Louis Prize, awarded to the best paper delivered at the conference, will also be announced on 21 June. The Prize is worth $1000 and the winning paper will be appear in a forthcoming issue of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society, published by Edinburgh University Press.

VI. Accommodation Information Available for Annual Conference

Information on hotel accommodation is already available on the 2014 conference webpage at http://britishscholar.org/2014-conference/. Information on Conference Registration will be forthcoming in January. It should be noted that becoming a member of The British Scholar Society entitles you to a discounted registration rate. Membership in The British Scholar Society for 2013 is available on the British Scholar website by visiting our membership page at www.britishscholar.org/british-scholar/membership/. Membership for 2014 will be available from 2 December. If you have any questions about the forthcoming conference, please contact Dr. Martin Farr, President of the Conference Organizing Committee, directly at martindotfarratncldotacdotuk  (martindotfarratncldotacdotuk)  .

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Conference CFP Extended to 15 December

The 2014 Britain and the World Conference Call for Papers has been extended to 15 December 2013.  We encourage graduate students, established scholars, and scholars at the beginning of their careers to submit an abstract for inclusion consideration.

The 2014 Conference will take place at Newcastle University (19-21 June) and includes:

Conference Icebreaker at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Dinner Party at Alnwick Castle (Harry Potter’s Castle)

Wrap-up Party at the Town Wall Pub

For more inf0rmation on all aspects of Conference 2014 please visit: http://britishscholar.org/2014-conference/.

We look forward to seeing many new and familiar faces in Newcastle next June!

 

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October/November 2013 Newsletter

I. Call for Papers for the Britain and the World Conference 2014 ends on Monday, 25 November!

The British Scholar Society would like to issue a reminder of its call for papers for the seventh annual Britain and the World Conference. The conference will be held in Newcastle, England from Thursday, 19 June through Saturday, 21 June, 2014. Papers will focus on British interactions with the world from the seventeenth century to the present and will 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. 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.
All submissions for inclusion in the Britain and the World 2014 Conference must be received by Monday, 25 November 2013. Decisions on inclusion will be made by Friday, 17 January 2014. Submissions should be made electronically to editoratbritishscholardotorg.

II. Speakers Scheduled for Annual Conference

Confirmed speakers for next year’s conference include Professor David Reynolds and Professor Jenny Wormald. David Reynolds is Professor of International History and a Fellow of Christ’s College. From October 2013 he will be Chairman of the Faculty of History. His visiting positions include posts at Harvard, Nihon University in Tokyo and Sciences Po in Paris. He won the Wolfson Prize for History, 2004, and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005 and a member of the Society of American Historians in 2011. He is the author of eleven books, and three edited or co-edited volumes. He has also written and presented nine historical documentaries for BBC TV, ranging across the international history of the 20th century, as well as the award-winning BBC Radio 4 series America, Empire of Liberty. Professor Reynolds will present the Keynote Address on Saturday, 21 June in the Kings Hall at Newcastle University (Kings Hall Information).

Jenny Wormald is currently an Honorary Fellow in Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh. She previously taught at the University of Glasgow (1966-1985) and Oxford University (1985-2005). She has published important works on bloodfeud, the Scottish Reformation, and the reign of James VI and I. She will deliver the Conference Opening Lecture on Thursday, 19 June. More information about these lectures as well as the announcement of the Frank Turner Memorial Lecture and the Global Britain Lecture will appear in our Newsletter in the months ahead.

III. Events Planned for Annual Conference

The Britain and the World Conference 2014 will include our Conference Icebreaker on Thursday night, 19 June, at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, our Dinner Party on Friday night, 20 June at historic and beautiful Alnwick Castle (Harry Potter’s Castle), as well as our Conference wrap-up party at the Town Wall Pub and Eatery on 21 June. These events will provide numerous opportunities for networking and merrymaking in and around England’s northern capital city of Newcastle. The fifth annual Wm. Roger Louis Prize, awarded to the best paper delivered at the conference, will also be announced on 21 June. The Prize is worth $1000 and the winning paper will appear in a forthcoming issue of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society, published by Edinburgh University Press.

IV. Accommodations Information Available for Annual Conference

Information on hotel accommodation is already available on the 2014 conference webpage at http://britishscholar.org/2014-conference/. Information on Conference Registration will be forthcoming in January. It should be noted that becoming a member of The British Scholar Society entitles you to a discounted registration rate. Membership in The British Scholar Society for 2013 is available on the British Scholar website by visiting our membership page at www.britishscholar.org/british-scholar/membership/. Membership for 2014 will be available from 2 December. If you have any questions about the forthcoming conference, please contact Dr. Martin Farr, President of the Conference Organizing Committee, directly at martindotfarratncldotacdotuk.

V. New Books in Palgrave’s Britain and the World Series

The British Scholar Society is pleased to announce three new books in its Britain and the World book series from Palgrave Macmillan:

Cinema and Society in the British Empire, 1895-1940, by James Burns

Description from Palgrave Macmillan: “This is the first study of the social history of the movies in Britain’s tropical empire. Drawing on a wide array of sources, it reconstructs the emergence of movie-going as a form of public leisure in British territories from Singapore to Guiana. The book demonstrates that, by the eve of the Second World War, movies had become woven into the fabric of urban life, and were infiltrating into the most remote corners of the countryside. As the movies grew in prominence, their popularity sparked debates about empire and identity that resonated across the globe.”

See http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=658343 for more information.

The British Abroad Since the Eighteenth Century, Volume 1, by Martin Farr and Xavier Guégan

Description from Palgrave Macmillan: “This, the first part of a two volume collection of new essays from international scholars, is concerned with examining the British experience of travel, tourism, and imperialism. It considers the British travelling beyond their isles over the last three hundred years, and through a range of interdisciplinary perspectives reflects on their taste for discovery and self-discovery both through the exploration – and exploitation – of other lands and peoples, and also through their encounters with other societies and civilisations. The development into new forms of travel and tourism challenged the perceptions the British had of the world – and the world of the British. These journeys impacted on the representation and formation of ‘Britishness’, and the construction of national identity by defining a non-British world or a world becoming ‘British’.”

See http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=656222 for more information.

The British Abroad Since the Eighteenth Century, Volume 2, by Martin Farr and Xavier Guégan

Description from Palgrave Macmillan: “This, the second part of a two volume collection of new essays from international scholars, is concerned with examining the British experience of travel, tourism, and imperialism. It considers the British travelling beyond their isles over the last three hundred years, and through a range of interdisciplinary perspectives reflects on their taste for discovery and self-discovery both through the exploration – and exploitation – of other lands and peoples, and also through their encounters with other societies and civilisations. Experiencing Imperialism focuses on colonised lands and peoples, from the British Empire and those of other western powers, from territories ruled by the West to those that gained independence. Together the essays offer fresh and often challenging perspectives on the colonial and postcolonial ages, increasingly characterised as they were by the dominance of new means of transport and communication; of a world defined, as they saw it, by those travellers, explorers and colonialists.”

See http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=656227 for more information.

VI. Reminder: Judith Brown Lecture at Newcastle University on Tuesday, 26 November

The British Scholar Society would like to issue a reminder of Professor Judith Brown’s upcoming lecture at Newcastle University, the latest in our European Lecture Series. Professor Brown’s lecture, “The Dilemmas of Transition: Opposing and Inheriting Colonial Regimes,” will occur on 26 November from 17:30-18:30. It will focus on the “transitional generation” who led national movements of opposition to colonial powers and then had to adjust to forming governments and dealing with their colonial inheritance. Most of the evidence is taken from the experience of 20th century Indian political leaders such as Gandhi and Nehru as British rule ended: but the themes it explores are equally relevant to more recent events such as the ending of white rule in South Africa or the dilemmas of those who ave toppled dictatorships in the “Arab Spring”. Please join us what promises to be a very interesting talk.

VII. Associate Editor Dr Helene von Bismarck on Anglo-American Imperialism

Associate Editor at The British Scholar Society’s Dr Helene von Bismarck has written a very interesting short article on the question of American imperialism and its connection to the British example. You can read Dr von Bismarck’s article at the following link:

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

VIII. Book of the Month

Remaking the British Atlantic: The United States and the British Empire after American Independence, by P.J. Marshall (reviewed by Simon Hill)

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October/November 2013: Remaking the British Atlantic: The United States and the British Empire after American Independence

remakingBritishAtlanticReviewed by: Simon Hill, Liverpool John Moores University

P.J. Marshall. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. 335 pp. £35 (hardback).

One of the highlights of the 2011 British Scholar Conference was the Keynote Address delivered by A.G. Hopkins, entitled ‘The United States, 1783–1861: Britain’s Honorary Dominion?’ In it Hopkins noted that although the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783 undoubtedly ushered in major changes, not least American political independence from the British Empire, major continuities remained. For example, despite the horrors of the said conflict, many Americans continued to draw their social tastes from British culture. Both nations also remained significant trading partners. Intrinsically associated with the theory of ‘Gentlemanly Capitalism’, Hopkins could not resist making the point that investment from the City of London played a crucial role in financing the construction of American railroads during the nineteenth century. Hopkins also went on to suggest that these continuities after 1783 had sizable implications. Despite the creation of a Republican system of government, the United States arguably became ‘Britain’s Honorary Dominion’ – although Hopkins stopped short of categorising the United States as part of Britain’s ‘Informal Empire’. In an audience that contained many American and British academics, these conclusions raised more than a few hands in the subsequent Questions and Answers session (including my own). It left me wanting to know more about Anglo-American relations after Independence.

P.J. Marshall’s Remaking the British Atlantic goes a long way towards satisfying my appetite. The author requires little in the way of introduction to those in the historical profession. Now Emeritus Professor at King’s College London, P.J. Marshall has written numerous articles and books. Many of them are required reading for courses on the British Empire during the long eighteenth century. Whereas Hopkins surveyed an eighty year period in his lecture, Marshall’s book concentrates specifically upon the years from 1783 up to approximately 1790.

There are several themes interacting with each other in this publication. The first section broadly deals with the concept of ‘Transatlantic Politics’. Marshall shows that immediately after the war many politicians on both sides found it difficult to establish a harmonious working relationship. This was evident during the peace negotiations and with subsequent disputes over commercial policy. Moreover, both sides believed that the other posed a ‘challenge’ to their respective political system. This section also looks at the process of ‘Imperial Remaking’. British defeat in the War of Independence invariably required the policy-makers to rebuild the empire. P.J. Marshall goes on to argue that this reconstruction involved less change than is often thought, and uses the examples of Canada, the Caribbean and Ireland, to prove this point. The westward movement of the United States also ensured that a new empire was about to be spawned on the North American continent.

The second half of the book analyses the concept of ‘Transatlantic Communities’. Despite lingering tensions after 1783, many of the pre-war links were restored. The United States continued to draw large numbers of immigrants from the British Isles, Britain remained America’s dominant trading partner, and all levels of white American society continued to import and consume British manufactured goods. Perspectives on decor, education, law, religion and science, remained tantalisingly similar. Despite the obvious change with the advent of American political independence, why was it that elements of continuity still remained after 1783? Marshall writes that ‘There can be no doubt that, especially in the early years of the war, many in the British Atlantic world were passionately committed to political causes… Yet for most people at most times, politics was probably a secondary consideration.’ (pp. 320–1). Instead, people on both sides of the Atlantic were generally more concerned with getting on with their lives, and sought a return to normality after the war by continuing the socio-economic links that had long existed between Britain and America.

To help produce this book, the author has utilised a variety of secondary sources. He has also drawn upon manuscript collections located in several key repositories, including the British Library and the National Archives in London and Edinburgh. The one weakness of this book, which Marshall himself readily concedes, is that he used fewer archival materials relating to the American perspective (p. v). That is not to say, of course, that they are entirely absent from his work. On the contrary, Marshall’s references indicate that he has read edited collections of the works of key Founding Fathers, and that he has worked at the William L. Clements Library in Michigan. These sources are put to excellent use in the text, and clearly substantiate the arguments made by the author. Although Marshall no doubt had an academic audience in mind when he wrote this book, his writing style is such that it is accessible to a broader readership.

In conclusion, this publication makes for a very thoughtful and engaging read. It is certainly par with the best of P.J. Marshall’s previous works, and goes part of the way towards answering what the author describes as the ‘central problem of the American Revolution … how had the political cultures of Britons and Americans come to deviate so sharply that they eventually went to war with one another, while they remained indispensable to one another in many other respects?’ (p. v). After 1783 a new balance of power had emerged, which was both potentially exciting and frightening. In order to offset the latter, Americans and Britons, sometimes begrudgingly and with mixed results, rekindled what John Adams referred to as the ‘old good humour’. There is clearly scope for a successive volume to Remaking the British Atlantic, which covers the period after 1790 up to the War of 1812. Furthermore, as A.G. Hopkins had shown, this study could potentially be extended well in to the nineteenth century. If such a monograph is to be produced, then P.J. Marshall will have made a substantial contribution towards it. I thoroughly recommend Remaking the British Atlantic.

 

 

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Imperialism and the Global Anglo-American Relationship

Helene von BismarckBy: Dr. Helene von Bismarck
Associate Editor, The British Scholar Society

Is America an empire? This is a question which has intrigued both historians and political scientists over recent years and continues to do so. The flourishing field of empire studies is no longer satisfied with analyzing the obvious cases, such as Britain, France or Spain, but devotes increasing attention to the United States of America. Interestingly, it is not the expansionism of the United States on the North American continent, nor its very few experiences with formal overseas colonialism, such as the conquest of the Philippines, which are at the centre of the debate about American imperialism. Instead, a growing number of scholars seek to investigate whether the concept of empire is a useful lens through which the interactions of the United States with the wider world in general ought to be seen and which can help explain its rise from colony to superpower.[i] The fascination with imperialism is not confined to academic debates about US history. Open the pages of Foreign Affairs and you will find the terminology usually employed in discussions about empires – terms and phrases like “imperial overstretch”, “rise and fall” or “decline” – used by both advocates and critics of the present US foreign policy.[ii]

In view of the immense military and political power, as well as economic and cultural influence, that the United States has gained and exercised throughout the world since its independence, and especially during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, investigating the role that imperialism played in this process towards global ascendancy is certainly a fascinating topic deserving of scholarly attention. The point of the exercise, however, cannot be to decide whether or not it is appropriate and justified to attach the label “empire” to the United States. After all, there is only one way of answering this question with a definite yes or no: to establish a checklist of categories that typically define an empire and to apply it to the United States. The trouble is that this method suffers from a lack of contextualization and entails a significant risk of arbitrariness. Since it ought to be the point of historical enquiry to discover hitherto unknown things about the past rather than simply find new words to describe what we are already aware of, it is futile to get stuck in a debate that will, as Charles Maier succinctly put it, “never get past the definition”.[iii] If the aim is a more thorough understanding of the United States’ place in global history, what we need is a differentiated analysis of the extent to which imperialism has conditioned that place, not a discussion about semantics.

This is why using other empires as points of reference can be a useful way of learning more about the relationship of the United States with imperialism. The merit of the comparative perspective, however, does not lie in skimming through the existing knowledge about every historic empire we can think of, from Ancient Rome to the Ottoman Empire, in a search for common patterns that may also be discernible in the history of the United States. The results of such an approach are very likely to remain anecdotal. Instead, we should concentrate on the American encounters with, perceptions of and policies towards the modern European empires, bearing in mind that those played very significant roles in the international system that the United States was part of during the larger share of its history as an independent nation. The crucial question is what outcome these encounters had, in the long term, on the development of American globalism. In this context, the relationship between the United States and the British Empire is of special interest, not only because the former used to belong to the latter until 1776, but because the British Empire was, compared to its European competitors, the most global in scope.

How historians of the British Empire and historians working on the international relations of the United States can benefit from each other’s research was pointed out in a very thought-provoking paper presented by Jay Sexton (Corpus Christi College, Oxford University) at this year’s annual meeting of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR).[iv] Referring to recent literature which situates the history of the United States during the nineteenth century within the geopolitical and economic framework of the “British world-system”, Sexton argued that American expansionism and British imperialism were not two distinct and isolated processes, but, at least to some extent, interdependent.[v] He stressed that Britain’s global position of power, which was at its apogee during the Victorian era, was often the foundation on which US expansionism was built, both in North America and beyond. Sexton’s argument about the nineteenth century did not only demonstrate the benefits of an approach that takes the United States out of its national narrative and looks at its development from the outside, it also pointed in the direction of a much larger question that should fascinate historians of the British Empire and historians of America’s foreign relations alike: What is the connection between Britain’s experience as the mightiest world-power of the nineteenth century and the rise of the United States to global hegemony during the twentieth century? To what extent have the histories of these two globalist powers, when studied in the longue durée, met and influenced each other? And what does this tell us about the American approach towards imperialism? Have Britain and the United States exchanged their roles in the international system? A study of the global Anglo-American relationship from 1776 to the present day can tell us a lot about the places of both countries in world history.

 

 



[i] See Manela, Erez, “The United States in the World”, in: Eric Foner and Lisa McGill, American History Now (Philadelphia 2011), pp. 201-220, for an overview of the recent literature on this topic.

[ii] Parent, Joseph K./ MacDonald, Paul K., “The Wisdom of Retrenchment. America Must Cut Back to Move Forward“, in: Foreign Affairs 90, No. 6 (November/December 2011), pp. 32-47; Ferguson, Niall, “Complexity and Collapse. Empires on the Edge of Chaos”, in: Foreign Affairs 89, No. 2 (March/April 2010), pp. 18-32.

[iii] Maier, Charles S., Among Empires. American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors (Cambridge, MA 2006), p. 3.

[iv] Jay Sexton presented his paper on 20 June 2013 at the SHAFR conference in Arlington, VA, during the plenary session on “America and the World – the World and America. Writing American Diplomatic History in the Longue Durée”.

[v] Hopkins, A.G., “The United States, 1783-1861: Britain’s Honorary Dominion?”, in: Britain and the World  4, No. 2, pp. 232-246; Magee, Gary/ Thompson, Andrew, Empire and Globalization: Networks of People, Goods and Capital in the British World, ca. 1950-1914 (Cambridge 2010).

 

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