There is a long-standing tradition of joint-authored works that seek to understand the economics of British imperialism from the perspective of its underlying cultural assumptions and practices.
Why are so many West Indians who were born in the first half of the 20th century so enamoured with Britain, British culture and its monarchy, even in the early 21st century?
In Ocean Under Steam Frances Steel explores the impact of the 19th-century sea transport revolution in one of the extremities of the British Empire, the South Pacific Ocean. Published as part of the Manchester University Press ‘Studies in Imperialism’ series, under the general editorship of John MacKenzie, this is a self-consciously ‘de-centred’ imperial history.
This year witnesses the publication of the 100th monograph in the Studies in Imperialism series published by Manchester University Press and edited by John Mackenzie.
As Kent Fedorowich (University of the West of England) and Andrew Thompson (University of Exeter) argue in the introduction to their edited collection Empire, Migration and Identity in the British World, the processes and histories of empire, migration and the British world are closely enjoined.
Somewhat late in the day, Tate Britain has got around to an exhibition about the British Empire and its legacies.
In Room 145 of the Ceramics Galleries of the Victoria & Albert Museum, at the top of case 50, you can see an ‘architectural fragment’, which, according to its label, ‘once ornamented a palace in Yuanmingyuan or “garden of perfect clarity”’.
Some 70 years after the British left India it is timely to look back at how the kings and queens of the United Kingdom came to amass one of the largest private collections of South Asian art in the world. Two conjoined exhibitions currently showing at the Queen’s Gallery do just that.
‘This book’, writes Jeffrey A. Auerbach in his Introduction to Imperial Boredom, ‘is very much about how people felt’ [his italics]. As such, it takes its place in a growing body of scholarship that explores through individual lives the mind-set that under-pinned the empire project, both individually and on a collective level.