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Sue Thomas

Vidiadhur Surajprasad Naipaul has abjured being categorised as West Indian. Becoming ‘extraregional’ for Naipaul has entailed not just a broadening of his range of literary subjects as in Mr Stone and the Knights Companion; it has also involved a more active dissociation of himself from West Indian communities in England and social and political developments within them. The rise of black consciousness and Black Power movements during the 1960s disturbed Naipaul. His travel writing, advocacy of the standards of a universal civilisation, and casual cultural commentary in interviews show the reactionary conservatism of his politics of decolonisation. Naipaul's representations of England and the English do not uniformly indulge a patriotic racism and imperial nostalgia or play to persistent racial stereotypes of non-white peoples in England. His conservatism is characterised by deeply conflicted attitudes to liberal principles with respect to racial issues and histories.

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain

This book re-examines the campaign experience of British soldiers in Africa during the period 1874–1902—the zenith of the Victorian imperial expansion—and does so from the perspective of the regimental soldier. The book utilises a number of letters and diaries, written by regimental officers and other ranks, to allow soldiers to speak for themselves about their experience of colonial warfare. The sources demonstrate the adaptability of the British army in fighting in different climates, over demanding terrain and against a diverse array of enemies. They also uncover soldiers' responses to army reforms of the era as well as the response to the introduction of new technologies of war.

Editor: Bill Schwarz

Caribbean migration to Britain brought many new things—new music, new foods, new styles. It brought new ways of thinking too. This book explores the intellectual ideas that the West Indians brought with them to Britain. It shows that, for more than a century, West Indians living in Britain developed a dazzling intellectual critique of the codes of Imperial Britain. Chapters discuss the influence of, amongst others, C. L. R. James, Una Marson, George Lamming, Jean Rhys, Claude McKay and V. S. Naipaul. The contributors draw from many different disciplines to bring alive the thought and personalities of the figures they discuss, providing a picture of intellectual developments in Britain from which we can still learn much. The introduction argues that the recovery of this Caribbean past, on the home territory of Britain itself, reveals much about the prospects of multiracial Britain.

Open Access (free)
Catherine Hall

This chapter is concerned with the islands, and parts of the mainland, which were colonised by the British from the early seventeenth century and named as the British West Indies. The British West Indian colonies formed a link between North and South America and were strategically vital to the European powers. The task of the West India interest was to lobby the government and counter the abolitionists. The naming of black regiments as West Indian fractured the prevailing image of West Indian as signifying an exclusively white identity. Emancipation marked a critical break in ideas about the West Indian. James Anthony Froude's return to an insistence on white West Indians as ‘part of ourselves’ provides an endpoint to the preliminary charting of the shifting meanings of West Indian. Furthermore, the idea of West Indian is part of an older tradition of both colonial and anti-colonial thought.

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
The canadianizing 1920s
Katie Pickles

The chapter discusses the growing importance of ‘canadianisation’ during the 1920s, at which time the IODE was heavily involved with immigration and the canadianisation of immigrants. As canadianisation was based upon mimicking Britain as much as possible, British people were considered the easiest to canadianise. It was the IODE members' place to attempt assimilation in the homes of ‘foreigners’, this being considered ‘women's work’. As female imperialists, they used techniques familiar to those of other patriotic organisations around the Empire, promoting the English language and an imperial curriculum at every opportunity. Furthermore, the standards the IODE applied in rural areas reflected the urban aspirations of its members, and were often based on theories far removed from the realities of lived experience. It was with a great sense of citizenly mission that the IODE attempted to influence immigration and the subsequent life of immigrants.

in Female imperialism and national identity
Charles V. Reed

Chapter one examines the conceptual space between the projection of Queen Victoria as a symbol of empire and nineteenth-century royals often ambivalent attitude toward the empire and, particularly, the royal tours. It also describes the experiences of royal tourists of empire between the first royal tours of 1860 and the coronation durbar of 1911. Using correspondence to, from, and about travelling royals – including two future kings – the chapter examines Victorian and Edwardian royals’ encounters with the empire from their daily routines to their participation in Mughal-inspired durbars with Indian princes.

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911
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Global Britishness and settler cultures in South Africa and New Zealand
Charles V. Reed

Chapter three examines how colonial settlers imagined their relationships with a British ‘homeland’ and a larger British world. By examining the robust English-language print cultures in South Africa and New Zealand, the chapter explores how colonial settlers used the forum of the royal tour to self-fashion communal mythologies and identities in the languages of Britishness and imperial citizenship not only in individual colonies – in New Zealand or the Cape Colony – but also in provincial and urban cores – in the Eastern Cape or Dunedin, for instance. While the royal tours were used by colonial officials and local elites as instruments of propaganda and social control, colonial subjects in the empire often used the languages of Britishness and imperial citizenship to protest injustices, whether local or imperial, or to challenge racial or ethnic determinism.

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911
Open Access (free)
Colonial subjects and the appeal for imperial justice
Charles V. Reed

Chapter five examines a different kind of ‘royal tour’, the pilgrimage of colonial subjects ‘home’ to Great Britain in order to petition the queen/king for justice. Culturally imbued with the notion of the Great (White) King/Queen, colonial subjects brought their cases against British or settler governments in the colonies to the metropole in hopes of inspiring imperial intervention against colonial injustices and abuses. Through an examination of two visits by British subjects – the 1884 visit of the Maori King to London and the 1909 delegation in opposition to the Union of South Africa – and their failures to inspire change in imperial policy (in the case of the Union of South Africa) or even an audience (in the case of the Maori King), the chapter demonstrates how ‘imperial networks’ short-circuited when the empire came home.

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911
Open Access (free)
Charles V. Reed

Comparing the recent travels of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to those of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York at the turn of the twentieth century, the chapter examines the royal tour as a function of the modern British monarchy and its history from the reign of Queen Victoria to the present day. Framing its analysis around the ways in which various stakeholders understood and responded to both the royal tours of the nineteenth century and those of the twenty-first century, it argues that the queens’ subjects, from African and South Asian intellectuals to performing Aboriginal troupes, contributed importantly to a British-imperial culture and to the meanings of the royal tour.

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911
Charles V. Reed

Chapter two examines how ‘native’ princes and chiefs in Africa, South Asia, and New Zealand encountered the empire and British royals during the tours of empire. In particular, the chapter focuses on the ways that princes and chiefs, through the royal tour, symbolically resisted British appropriation of local political traditions or used connections with the British to invent or accentuate their own statuses and authority. At the same time, it also explores how colonial administrators, such as Lord Lytton in India or Theophilus Shepstone in Natal, sought to naturalize British rule by re-imagining themselves as Mughal governors or African chiefs within an imperial hierarchy.

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911