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.
If we survey the historical profession at the moment, there are plenty of academic squabbles going on, but the great debates that once divided historians seem to be in short supply. Time was when contests over the standard of living during the industrial revolution or about post-modernism and its application to the study of history would drive scholars into a frenzy of position taking.
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.
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.
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”’.
Daniel Livesay’s first monograph comes at an opportune moment. With the recent release of digital projects such as the University of Glasgow’s Runaway Slaves in Britain database, historical attention has focused in on the lives of people of colour in early modern Britain.