The cultural construction of the British world

Edited by Barry Crosbie and Mark Hampton

The cultural construction of the British world


  • Paperback
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9789-8
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: November 2015
  • BIC Category: United Kingdom, Great Britain, Social & cultural history, European history, Colonialism & imperialism, HISTORY / Social History, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Modern History, History
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


What were the cultural factors that held the British world together? How was Britishness understood at home, in the Empire, and in areas of informal British influence? This book makes the case for a 'cultural British world', and examines how it took shape in a wide range of locations, ranging from India to Jamaica, from Sierra Leone to Australia, and from south China to New Zealand.

These eleven original essays explore a wide range of topics, including images of nakedness, humanitarianism, anti-slavery, literary criticism, travel narratives, legal cultures, visions of capitalism, and household possessions. The book argues that the debates around these issues, as well as the consumer culture associated with them, helped give the British world a sense of cohesion and identity.

This book will be essential reading for historians of imperialism and globalisation, and includes contributions from some of the most prominent historians of British imperial and cultural history.


'This volume brings together some of the most eminent scholars of British imperial history, and provides a thought-provoking showcase for a range of innovative approaches to the cultural history of empire. The essays set new agendas for future research, and offer fascinating insights into the cultural connectedness of a once-British world.'
Simon J. Potter, Reader in Modern History at the University of Bristol

'"Culture" here knows no bounds. It hails politics, the popular, military, capital and the body - not simply to show their interconnections but to track the ways that empire itself both integrated and compartmentalised the terrains it aimed to colonise.'
Antoinette Burton, Professor of History and Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies at the University of Illinois


Introduction: The cultural construction of the British world - Barry Crosbie and Mark Hampton
1. Naked natives and noble savages: the cultural work of nakedness in imperial Britain - Philippa Levine
2. British radicals in Asia and the persistence of empire c.1820-1950 - C.A. Bayly
3. Sugar wars: the culture of free trade versus the culture of antislavery in Britain and the British Caribbean, 1840-50 - Philip Harling
4. At home in the Ottoman Empire: humanitarianism and the Victorian diplomat - Michelle Tusan
5. A semi-exclusionary empire?: the use of British colonial ideals in Trinidad and Bengal - Martin J. Wiener
6. The curious case of the chabutra-wallahs: Britons and Irish imperial culture in nineteenth-century India - Barry Crosbie
7. Sorting out China: British accounts from pre-opium war Canton - John M. Carroll
8. John Stuart Mill's other island: the discourse of unbridled capitalism in post-war Hong Kong - Mark Hampton
9. Scrutiny abroad: literary criticism and the colonial public - Christopher Hilliard
10. Mr. Hickey's pictures: Britons and their collectibles in late eighteenth-century India - Tillman Nechtman
11. Material culture and Sierra Leone's civilising mission in the nineteenth century - Bronwen Everill


Barry Crosbie is Assistant Professor of History at The Hong Kong Institute of Education

Mark Hampton is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Centre for Cinema Studies at Lingnan University

The cultural construction of the British world

Edited by Barry Crosbie, Mark Hampton

Hardcover £90.00 / $140.00

Paperback £20.00 / $29.95

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