Empire of scholars

Universities, networks and the British academic world, 1850-1939

By Tamson Pietsch

Empire of scholars


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9930-4
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £19.99
  • Published Date: June 2015
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Colonialism & imperialism, EDUCATION / Higher, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Society & social sciences / Universities, Modern History, History, United Kingdom, Great Britain, European history
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


At the start of the twenty-first century we are acutely conscious that universities operate within an entangled world of international scholarly connection. Now available in paperback, Empire of scholars examines the networks that linked academics across the colonial world in the age of 'Victorian' globalization. Stretching across the globe, these networks helped map the boundaries of an expansive but exclusionary 'British academic world' that extended beyond the borders of the British Isles. Drawing on extensive archival research conducted in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, this book remaps the intellectual geographies of Britain and its empire. In doing so, it provides a new context for writing the history of ideas and offers a critical analysis of the connections that helped fashion the global world of universities today.


'Along with this exclusion of Americans, Pietsch also recognises racial and gendered exclusions, responding directly to the criticisms outlined above that have been levelled at the British World framework. She explicitly acknowledges that this British academic world privileged "raced and gendered forms of trust and sociability, [and that] the social and institutional practices that connected settler scholars to those in Britain simultaneously sidelined the empire's various 'others.'"', Jared van Duinen, Charles Sturt University

'Pietsch's readable study is a nuanced account of "the social and institutional practices of British and settler English-speaking universities" (p. 8) and explores libraries, scholarships, academic trafficking and appointment practices, and the formalization of imperial university relationships. The book, which is based on the records of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and its precursors, as well as a dozen or more university archives, includes a valuable calendar of dates of foundations of pre-World War II British and Empire universities. It is essential reading for historians of higher education.'
William H. Brock, Isis-Volume 107, Number 4, December 2016


General Editor's introduction
Part I: Foundations, 1802-80
1. Building institutions
Part II: Connections, 1880-1914
2. Forging links
3. Making appointments
4. Imperial association
Part III: Networks, 1900-39
5. Academic traffic
6. The Great War
7. After the peace
Part IV: Erosions, 1919-60
8. Alternate ties


Tamson Pietsch is Lecturer in Imperial and Colonial History at Brunel University London

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout