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As we approach the 20th anniversary of the seizure of power by the current Ethiopian government – the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) – a government which has shown itself ever more determined to monopolise power indefinitely, it is increasingly apposite to examine the roots of political modernity in Ethiopia.
Georgine Clarsen has produced a fascinating account of women motorists in the first three decades of the automobile age. Her crisp and elegant prose takes the reader on a speedy trip over a wide range of terrain, indicating the importance of the car in the cultural politics of the early 20th century.
Cross Currents and Community Networks is an important contribution to a growing literature on the Indian Ocean world. Edited by historians Himanshu Prabha Ray and Edward A. Alpers, it brings together leading figures to discuss the cultural landscape of the Indian Ocean world and the communities that crossed it.
The museums and historic sites of South Africa are a highly significant and revealing source of evidence for investigating how the country’s various communities have come to terms with their complex history and have chosen to project it publicly.
When I was an undergraduate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the early 1980s, the School had a motto: knowledge is power. Students of a radical inclination would denounce this explicit evocation of the School's imperial origins, and evidently the criticism took its toll.
To say that the lives of prominent political leaders are symbolic of the political culture of their time is, of course, a truism. Nelson Mandela is one of the handful of 20th-century leaders for whom this statement holds true in global terms, illustrated by the recent unveiling of his statue in London's Parliament Square.
Before the 1980s, the powerful link between empire and race was marginalised in British imperial history. The postcolonial 'turn' opened up new ways of exploring racial constructions of colonised subjects and stimulated debate over the extent to which representations of the colonised in colonial discourse underpinned imperial power.
In a memorandum for the Committee of Imperial Defence dated 10 July 1920 Harold Nicolson, whose family connection with these matters dated back to the time when his father Lord Carnock entered the Foreign Office, namely 1870, wrote:
Deadly Embrace is not only a well-written and thoroughly documented book but also a necessary and vital contribution to the study of the turbulent and often violent first four decades of twentieth century Spain.
If one saw a wrong being committed in public, should one intervene? This basic moral question is at the heart of a significant body of Muslim scholarship, and forms the topic of Michael Cook's eminently learned and comprehensive study.