Writing imperial histories

Edited by Andrew Thompson

Writing imperial histories


  • Hardcover
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1254-5
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £22.99 (incl. VAT)
  • Published Date: May 2016
  • BIC Category: History, United Kingdom, Great Britain, European history, Colonialism & imperialism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Literature & literary studies / Prose: non-fiction, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


This book appraises the critical contribution of the Studies in Imperialism series to the writing of imperial histories as the series passes its 100th publication. The volume brings together some of the most distinguished scholars writing today to explore the major intellectual trends in Imperial history, with a particular focus on the cultural readings of empire that have flourished over the last generation. When the Studies in Imperialism series was founded, the discipline of Imperial history was at what was probably its lowest ebb. A quarter of a century on, there has been a tremendous broadening of the scope of what the study of empire encompasses. Essays in the volume consider ways in which the series and the wider historiography have sought to reconnect British and imperial histories; to lay bare the cultural expressions and registers of colonial power; and to explore the variety of experiences the home population derived from the empire.


A fitting tribute to Professor MacKenzie's enormous contribution to modern imperial history. In the spirit of MacKenzie's expansive vision, this collection works both as a summation of his career and also as a stimulus to further research.'
Saul Dubow, Professor of History, Sussex University

Coincident attention to genealogy and innovative potential is the hallmark of this collection.
Leonardi and Ward, among others, connect recent cutting-edge scholarship
with its still-active ancestor: John M. MacKenzie, the founding editor of the Studies in
Imperialism. The theme reappears subtly in Robert Aldrich's study of gender in empire,
as he demonstrates that the series carved out a space for sexuality to be taken seriously
as a point of historical investigation, and, more pointedly, when Dane Kennedy traces
a clear path from early histories of exploration to the environmental histories now in
vogue in the academy. In fact, the dual vantage points make this collection much more
than a retrospective. While each of the essays elucidates the importance of past contributions
to the eld, the assembled authors also propose compelling future paths of inquiry.


Introduction - Andrew Thompson
1. The MacKenziean moment in retrospect (or how one hundred volumes bloomed) - Stuart Ward
2. The power of culture and the cultures of power: John MacKenzie and the study of imperialism - Cherry Leonardi
3. Sex matters: Sexuality and the writing of colonial history - Robert Aldrich
4. Exploration, the environment, and empire - Dane Kennedy
5. Spatial concepts and the historical geographies of British colonialism - Alan Lester
6. Policing the colonial crowd: Patterns of policing in the European empires during the Depression years - Martin Thomas
7. Whatever Happened to the Third British Empire?: Empire, nation redux - Mrinalini Sinha
8. Media, India and the Raj - Chandrika Kaul
9. Empires, diasporas and cultural circulation - Sunil Amrith
10. Decolonisation, space and power: Immigration, welfare and housing in Britain and France, 1945-74 - Jim House and Andrew Thompson
Afterword - John Mackenzie


Andrew S. Thompson is Professor of Modern History, University of Exeter

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