Experts and the development of the British Caribbean, 1940–62

This book produces a major rethinking of the history of development after 1940 through an exploration of Britain’s ambitions for industrialisation in its Caribbean colonies. Industrial development is a neglected topic in histories of the British Colonial Empire, and we know very little of plans for Britain’s Caribbean colonies in general in the late colonial period, despite the role played by riots in the region in prompting an increase in development spending. This account shows the importance of knowledge and expertise in the promotion of a model of Caribbean development that is best described as liberal rather than state-centred and authoritarian. It explores how the post-war period saw an attempt by the Colonial Office to revive Caribbean economies by transforming cane sugar from a low-value foodstuff into a lucrative starting compound for making fuels, plastics and medical products. In addition, it shows that as Caribbean territories moved towards independence and America sought to shape the future of the region, scientific and economic advice became a key strategy for the maintenance of British control of the West Indian colonies. Britain needed to counter attempts by American-backed experts to promote a very different approach to industrial development after 1945 informed by the priorities of US foreign policy.

Emigration and the spread of Irish religious influence

5 The spiritual empire at home: emigration and the spread of Irish religious influence The idea that mass migration from nineteenth-century Ireland created an Irish ‘empire’ has had enduring appeal. It proved a rare source of pride during depressed periods in independent Ireland, particularly the 1940s and 1950s, and provided the basis of an evocative title for at least one popular version of the Irish diaspora’s story as late as the turn of this century.1 In the latter context especially, ‘Irish empire’ can appear simply a wry play on a far more common and not

in Population, providence and empire
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Metropolis, India and progress in the colonial imagination

This is a detailed study of the various ways in which London and India were imaginatively constructed by British observers during the nineteenth century. This process took place within a unified field of knowledge that brought together travel and evangelical accounts to exert a formative influence on the creation of London and India for the domestic reading public. Their distinct narratives, rhetoric and chronologies forged homologies between representations of the metropolitan poor and colonial subjects—those constituencies that were seen as the most threatening to imperial progress. Thus the poor and particular sections of the Indian population were inscribed within discourses of western civilization as regressive and inferior peoples. Over time, these discourses increasingly promoted notions of overt and rigid racial hierarchies, the legacy of which remains to this day. This comparative analysis looks afresh at the writings of observers such as Henry Mayhew, Patrick Colquhoun, Charles Grant, Pierce Egan, James Forbes and Emma Roberts, thereby seeking to rethink the location of the poor and India within the nineteenth-century imagination. Drawing upon cultural and intellectual history, it also attempts to extend our understanding of the relationship between ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’.

The churches and emigration from nineteenth-century Ireland

The book knits together two of the most significant themes in the social and cultural history of modern Ireland - mass emigration and religious change - and aims to provide fresh insight into both. It addresses the churches' responses to emigration, both in theory and in practice. The book also assesses how emigration impacted on the churches both in relation to their status in Ireland, and in terms of their ability to spread their influence abroad. It first deals with the theoretical positions of the clergy of each denomination in relation to emigration and how they changed over the course of the nineteenth century, as the character of emigration itself altered. It then explores the extent of practical clerical involvement in the temporal aspects of emigration. This includes attempts to prevent or limit it, a variety of facilitation services informally offered by parish clergymen, church-backed moves to safeguard emigrant welfare, clerical advice-giving and clerically planned schemes of migration. Irish monks between the fifth and eighth centuries had spread Christianity all over Europe, and should act as an inspiration to the modern cleric. Tied in with this reading of the past, of course, was a very particular view of the present: the perception that emigration represented the enactment of a providential mission to spread the faith.

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Rennell, during which time the revolution in ‘our knowledge’ had rendered many of his observations obsolete. Furthermore, the supremacy of British rule was now so complete that India must be viewed not as a ‘mere assemblage of Nabobs, Sultans and Rajas, but as a component portion of the British empire’. 38 The result was A Geographical, Statistical and Historical Description of Hindostan . This

in The other empire
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Colonial subjects and the appeal for imperial justice

increased local governance in the colonies of settlement and India; and the declining value of an ‘empire of free trade’ in a world where Britain’s unilateral dominance was threatened by the growing political, economic, and military potency of the United States and Germany. In response, imperial stakeholders sought to cement the importance of the empire to British subjects at home and abroad. The

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

confusion, it also demonstrates the longevity of Queen Victoria as a symbol of British justice and benevolence, the image carefully nurtured by colonial officials and imperial stakeholders of the Queen as the mother of empire. Despite anti-colonial movements of the interwar period and imperial betrayals from the Union of South Africa to the Amritsar Massacre, this image managed to survive, a testament to

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911
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religion. This combination means that the book can also be located within two further, emerging bodies of work. The first and slightly older of these might be summarised as ‘religion and empire’ and concerns the nineteenthcentury diffusion of European religious denominations across the globe, and in particular how the ‘home’ churches helped with, were affected by, and felt about the process.43 By engaging with this scholarship, much of it naturally coming from historians of Britain and its empire, a second set of familiar questions about the ambiguous relationship

in Population, providence and empire
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Francisco’s prominent ‘labour priest’ Peter Yorke forcefully impressed upon Maynooth’s Walter McDonald, when the latter visited America in 1900 – looked to Ireland and her church as to the ‘rising sun’; to them it was the revered monarch of an English-speaking Catholic kingdom.10 Though Yorke was chiding McDonald and the Irish church for not fully appreciating this fact, as Chapter Five demonstrated, it had in fact constructed and developed a powerful and widely accepted narrative of a ‘spiritual empire’ arising out of mass emigration. In that sense, the tensions the

in Population, providence and empire
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A Review of Hilton Als’ God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin

This essay reviews Hilton Als’ 2019 exhibition God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin at the David Zwirner Gallery. The show visually displays Baldwin in two parts: “A Walker in the City” examines his biography and “Colonialism” examines “what Baldwin himself was unable to do” by displaying the work of contemporary artists and filmmakers whose works resonate with Baldwin’s critiques of masculinity, race, and American empire. Mirakhor explores how Als’ quest to restore Baldwin is part of a long and deep literary and personal conversation that Als has been having since he was in his teens, and in this instance, exploring why and how it has culminated via the visual, instead of the literary. As Mirakhor observes, to be in the exhibit is not to just observe how Als has formed and figured Baldwin, but to see how Baldwin has informed and made Als, one of our most lyrical and impassioned contemporary writers and thinkers.

James Baldwin Review