In 1994 I published a now widely cited and highly regarded volume entitled Immigration, Ethnicity and Racism in Britain, 1815–1914 (1), which, at the time, faced critical comment.
Over the course of a long and distinguished career Donna Merwick has produced one of the most sustained and compelling inquiries into the life and culture of a single colony in colonial American historiography. Her time and place is the 17th-century Dutch colony of New Netherland which she has considered in four books and numerous chapters and articles.
Across the 17th century, more than 350,000 English people went to America. Yet many, if not most of those who went brought with them a keen sense of their bringing ‘Englishness’ with them, rather than transforming into ‘Americans’. Emigrants travelled to the New World for a variety of reasons.
In this history of representations and knowledge formation Sanjay Subrahmanyam turns a historian’s gaze to the problems both implicitly and explicitly embedded in all histories of the early modern and modern world: why did Europeans represent and construct India and by extension, the non-European world in the ways that they did? Why and how did these constructs evolve?
It is difficult to believe now that generations of scholars in the 20th century argued with insistence that the indigenous cultures of the Americas were destroyed by European imperial expansion.