On rare occasions, collections of conference proceedings have questioned paradigms and set new agendas, but for the most part this form of publication has limited impact and esteem, at least in the discipline of history. For those published straight after the event, collected conference papers tend to lack coherence and co-ordination.
The first question which may spring to the mind of any reader of this collection is: is it necessary or useful? Given the appearance in the not too distant past of the Oxford History of the British Empire, together with its themed volumes, can another edited collection on the empire contribute anything new or revealing?
Sascha Auerbach’s Race, Law and ‘The Chinese Puzzle’ in Imperial Britain is a truly unsettling account of how in the 19th and early 20th centuries media, politicians, trade unionists, writers, thespians, film makers, and not least police and court officials across the British realm stolidly and uncompromisingly articulated and executed racist, Sinophobic judgements, deliberately whippe
Scholars continue to find new things to say about the Irish Diaspora. For many of them-especially those in Ireland and America-the term Diaspora, when applied to the Irish, has a deep, politicised meaning. We can see this point exemplified in two observations.
The bowels of university libraries are often cluttered with the remnants of past historical approaches. The Cambridge History of the British Empire (1929-59) is one such work.
The first decades of British rule in Cyprus have so far received by far too little academic interest. Ever since the fourth volume of George Hill’s epic A History of Cyprus was published in 1952, few books have added in depth analysis and new insights on this period.
As the title of the book suggests, Geographies of Empire covers the period roughly from the beginning of the ‘scramble for Africa’ – following the British invasion of Egypt in 1882 – to the year by which many of the territories formerly acquired by European colonial powers had been lost or given up.
Breakfasting in bed, Maynard Keynes recalled the immense scope of the laissez-faire world of the Pax Britannica at its zenith in the summer of 1914. ‘The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his tea … the various products of the whole earth, in such quantities as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery at his doorstep; he could ...
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.
Those disinclined to judge their book by its cover will be pleased to discover that the image adorning the latest volume in the Oxford History of the British Empire (OHBE) series bears little relation to its contents. Showing the famous long bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, it presents the imperial British in exemplary (if not stereotypical) terms.