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In 1921 and 1924 Muhammadu Dikko, the emir of Katsina, traveled to Britain on a sightseeing trip, becoming the first emir or chief from Northern Nigeria to visit the British imperial metropole. This article analyzes the colonial relationship that put Dikko in the colonizers’ orbit and favor and paved the way for him to embark on the trips, the colonial logistics and networks that facilitated the journeys, Dikko's experiences and adventures in Britain, and, most importantly, his perspectives on British society, institutions, goods, and forms of leisure. I argue that Dikko, though constrained by serving as a prop in a colonial performance of power, used travel to Britain as a platform to advance metropolitan modernity as an aspirational if distant model of socioeconomic advancement and to give his peers and subjects in Northern Nigeria a textual reference for navigating colonial culture in relation to their own natal Islamo-Hausa cultural norms.
The eighteenth century saw a change in British readers’ sense of their place in the world. In the first half of the century, England – and later Britain – tended to imagine itself as the vulnerable but freedom-loving object of historical and contemporary global empires, engendering early Gothic images of tyrannical violence and ghostly resistance. However, the last decades of the century brought home news of war in America, the conquests of the East India Company and the vast horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. Britons were forced to begin to confront their own resemblance to the imperial tyrants against whom they had previously defined themselves. The Gothic became a means of articulating and managing the shock of this resemblance. In a wide range of genres, from stage pantomimes and Oriental novels to political speeches and abolitionist tracts, familiar discourses of Gothic oppression were combined with images and narratives of global cultural difference and colonial violence. Whether written overtly to promote or to oppose imperial expansion, these texts often diverted feelings of disquiet about the British empire onto its victims around the world.
This chapter explores how the Gothic in the late nineteenth century can be related to the different imperial contexts of India, Egypt and America. It argues that it is important to acknowledge the specificity of different colonialisms in order to situate the Gothic of the period and to understand its political complexity. The ghost stories of Rudyard Kipling, for example, challenge many of the colonial contexts that they ostensibly work within; in turn, Kipling’s ambivalent account of India reflects a politically conflicted view of British colonialism. Colonial ambivalence is also clear in the context of Britain’s seemingly illegitimate occupation of Egypt during the period. A number of mummy stories by Grant Allen, Eva M. Henry, Arthur Conan Doyle and Kate and Hesketh Prichard, which explore this specific colonial context, are discussed. The chapter concludes with an account of Bram Stoker’s change in attitude towards America as the country becomes increasingly cast as a colonial threat in Dracula (1897) and The Lady of the Shroud (1909).
This article revisits the story of one the greatest financial frauds in history: Poyais. In the 1820s, Gregor MacGregor issued bonds for this alleged fictitious Central American state on the London capital market. Putting together scattered evidence reveals a complex, multifaceted experiment undertaken by a private adventurer hoping to politically and economically position himself in a changing world. Poyais was a failed project to establish a settlement on a territory granted by an Indigenous leader and financed through British capital markets. Studying a financial failure provides nuanced insights into the political and legal frameworks defining origination processes of early nineteenth-century foreign loans. Following MacGregor’s actions entails drawing a story with contours that extend well beyond the City of London, revealing a rich set of transatlantic actors and spaces not known to be traditionally linked to the London-based capital market. The story of Poyais constitutes a window into the early financial dynamics of private colonialism and how these contributed to British imperial expansion. The Poyais loan appears as constituting a financial endeavor born from the encounter of different “worlds,” with MacGregor mediating these together but ultimately failing to legally and politically guarantee their lasting encounter.
The introduction describes the plan and purpose of the book. It begins with a problematic, yet influential, theory of Julius Wellhausen, according to which defeat at the hands of imperial armies transformed the people of Israel into a nonpolitical religious community. It then demonstrates the problems with this approach and introduces an alternative based on the study of war commemoration in the formation of national identities.
Disciplinary histories of International Relations (IR) in Australia have tended to start with the foundation of an IR chair at the Australian National University (ANU) in 1949. In this article, I trace the discipline's institutional history and traditions of thought from the formation of the Round Table in Australia in 1911, led by Lionel Curtis, through the establishment of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA), and ending with the ANU story. I argue that Australian IR took as its starting assumption the idea of terra nullius (nobody's land), and the subsequent need to settle Australia. As a result, much of the discussion in the early study of ‘IR’ in Australia was framed around ‘domestic’ matters of settlement and colonisation. The focus of Australian IR radiated outwards from regional capitals, particularly to the tropical and desert regions of Australia with large Indigenous populations. At the margins of this were Australia's colonial possessions in the South Pacific. Finally, Australia's IR looked upon East Asia, motivated at least in part by fears of Asian peoples who might also seek to settle Australia. I conclude with a consideration of what Australian IR's historical entanglements with settler colonialism should mean for the discipline today.
Many historians of China, particularly those based in North America, insist that the Qing dynasty's territorial expansion was imperial and comparable to the imperial expansions of other global empires. Other historians, particularly but not only those based in the People's Republic of China, continue to resist this interpretation. They argue that dynastic expansion in the Ming and Qing periods was simply a form of nation-state building, akin to similar processes in Europe. Rather than rejecting their claims as a product of Chinese nationalism, we argue that the term “empire” should be (re)understood as a global co-production, emerging from multiple intersecting histories and scholarly debates about those histories. Doing so challenges influential definitions of empire that rely on a distinction between empires and nation-states, highlighting their dual presence in both Euro-American and Chinese pasts (and presents). This move demands a rejection of periodizations that suggest that empires ceased to exist following the period of decolonization from 1945 to the 1970s. This opens up new avenues of historical and normative inquiry to acknowledge the modern continuity between empires and nation-states.
This chapters surveys the place of human rights in African nationalist thought during the 1940s and 1950s. Responding to the shifts in recent human rights historiography, it seeks parity for voices that have been cast to the narrative periphery. Locating African nationalist icons, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Touré, and Julius Nyerere, within the debate, rather than accessories to it, the chapter finds an indissoluble connection between collective and individual liberty. Human rights were embedded in African nationalist discourse, but with a different inflection. Genealogies which select their evolutionary line derived from a particular Western variant of the discourse necessarily narrow the concept and its meaning, applying a selection test which is potentially more normative than it is historical. African invocations of human rights, which emerged in a setting of colonial hypocrisy and collective political marginalization, were less animated by individual protection from the state – their lodestar was securing a state to protect their rights.
The introduction gives and overview of the modern history of Bahrain, highlighting the cyclical bouts of repression the country has experienced. It lays out they key protagonists in the book, most notably the British Political Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Al Khalifa Regime. It argues that the long history of repression in Bahrain makes it an interesting and important case study for analysing why certain repressive methods are used at certain times.
This chapter investigates India’s participation in the emergence of the UN human rights system as a lens through which to revisit the historical relation between the human rights discourse, anti-colonialism, and decolonization. It advances three main arguments. First, in the case of India, human rights were not a means to promote the principle of self-determination. A newly independent India sought to distance itself from its colonial predecessor by using the language of human rights, believing that the nascent nationalist regime could transform itself into a postcolonial (and anti-colonial) actor that rejected an older international order in which state sovereignty reigned supreme. Second, Indians subsequently saw human rights as a framework through which to protect Indians living outside India as a result of years of organized migration during the colonial period. Third, India’s quest for “normative leadership” at the UN and the concern for diasporic Indians did not lead, however, to an unqualified advocacy for human rights. This chapter offers a counterpoint to an emergent scholarly narrative in which the initial enthusiasm for universal human rights among the countries of the newly decolonized world waned in the 1960s as many of them came under authoritarian rule.
Taking a transnational and comparative approach, this chapter examines how a distinctive discourse of indigenous rights in Anglo settler states (the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) threaded claims at the level of the state – about collective identity, treaty promises, land rights, and sovereign peoplehood – together with an international language of human rights. Indigenous claims to rights of identity and sovereignty were not considered human rights in the way that international institutions and civil society was employing the concept in the 1970s. That is, to protect individuals from violence and suffering at the hands of the state. Yet indigenous peoples in the Anglo settler states argued that their claims to collective rights were matters of concern to humanity. This chapter argues for an alternative genealogy of the 1970s – distinct from the earlier anti-colonial claims of leaders in the Third World and from the increasingly individualist emphases in other human rights campaigns – in which indigenous peoples in the heart of “the West” claimed collective, quasi-sovereign, and substate rights in part by deploying, and expanding, the language of human rights.
In 1967, twelve years after Portugal’s admission to the UN, Franco Nogueira, the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs and one of the most important advocates of the multiple doctrines of exceptionality that governed the Portuguese postwar imperial ideology, stated that the Portuguese were solely responsible for the spread of the “notion of human rights and racial equality” in Africa. Speaking six years after the beginning of conflicts in Angola and ongoing racial discrimination across what Portugal termed its “overseas provinces” the idioms and repertoires of citizenship and human and social rights were appropriated in a particular way by the Portuguese authorities. This chapter investigates the embrace and deployment of human rights discourse by the Portuguese authoritarian empire. The study of the Portuguese case enables an additional understanding of the variegated historical dynamics, temporalities, and impacts of the human rights regime, providing another example, an understudied one, of the historical intersections of the global debates on human rights and national and imperial politics and policies.
In 1881, the southern Philippine archipelago of Sulu was plunged into an extended contest for the succession to its sultanate. With only a tentative peace established by 1894, tensions remained volatile between the districts of Patikul, Parang, Luuk, and Maimbung on the main island of Jolo. These tensions straddled coincided with the transition of the colonial regimes from the Spanish to the US regime in 1899. Therefore, the events of the early years of American rule, most often understood in the context of the American arrival and Spanish departure, were in fact intertwined with the prevailing conflict and rivalry between local candidates vying for the sultanate
The introductory chapter introduces the main questions that animate the book as a whole. It has a section on methods and a discussion of the theoretical and methodological traditions the book draws on. It elaborates on the stakes in construing Afghanistan as an ‘interve+G6nable object’. It uses an image of a textbook used in Afghanistan in the 1980s to show how knowledge about Afghanitan is produced and packaged and how it circulates around the world.
International law makes a claim to universality; it is supposed to be the law that applies to the relations among all peoples. This chapter argues that international law, instead, serves as a mechanism of closure; it provides a restrictive articulation of the rules that define which actors have a capacity for international rights. The chapter offers a reading of two of the most influential figures in early international law, Grotius and Vattel, in terms of the closure thesis. It traces the principle mechanism of closure to a notion of property rights that invests the territorial state with the capacity for rights based on possession and ownership. It then details how the combination of property and natural rights as the basis for sovereignty would justify the equal treatment of some and the domination and exploitation of others. Rules of closure served to accelerate the formation of property monopolies, first in the form of colonial extraction and later in the form of market neoliberalization. The chapter considers the contemporary implications of the international-law-as-closure argument. At stake is whether universalism is understood as a project of homogenizing differences and protecting privileges, or of making space for pluralism and diversity.
The Conclusion begins with some thoughts on two historical changes that seem especially pertinent to the study at hand: the relationship between imperial authority and colonial autonomy, and the rise of British power in the nineteenth-century Atlantic world. The chapter then returns to the microregional framework of analysis presented in Chapter 1 and its specific dynamics in the context of the colonial Leeward Islands, followed by a discussion of the relevance of the concept for global imperial and maritime history more broadly, as well as for the study of nineteenth-century globalization. In exploring the usefulness of the microregional framework for analysis, the chapter discusses other inter-imperial microregions across the nineteenth century, including the Gold Coast in West Africa, Mauritius and Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, Singapore and the Strait of Melaka, the South China Coast, and Shanghai during the period of the International Settlement.
Chapter 1 outlines the arguments of the book, provides a brief introduction to the Caribbean during the age of revolutions, and gives an overview of the geography, population, and political composition of the Leeward Islands, focusing in particular on the Danish West Indies, the British Virgin Islands, and Swedish St. Barthélemy. It then places the book within broader historiographical debates about Atlantic, global, and imperial history, before presenting the analytical model of the inter-imperial microregion. This model draws on relational theory and practice analysis to provide a framework for understanding zones of interaction and integration in the borderlands of overseas empires, emphasizing networks of border-crossing practice involving the subjects of multiple empires and colonies.
Chapter 5 deals with the establishment of a colonial administration in the region. Whereas the German administration hardly established any enduring administrative structures in the region, the South African government was more ambitious to ensure dominance and administrative effectiveness. Closely connected to (but not controlled by) the advancing colonial administration is the rapid repastoralisation of the population. Within a period of thirty years a community subsisting mainly on foraging and small stock keeping turns itself into a prosperous cattle rearing community.
The Islamic empires, and specifically the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire, were not antithetical to the Westphalian principles of international order. The claim of Islamic and Ottoman incompatibility had more to do with European colonial ambitions. Altering their universalist claims, Ottoman rulers engaged in significant adjustments to Western principles of international diplomacy and international relations. Studying the Islamic world provides insights into how a regional order might be based on a shared collective identity rather than on material dominance by a hegemonic power. The Ottoman Empire provides a perfect case to examine adjustment at the peak of Western imperial expansion and confrontation with the West.
The expansion of trade and colonial conquest in the early modern era propelled the potato around the world, but the processes that made it a global staple reflect not only these forces but also the varied circumstances that it encountered on its travels. European colonisers congratulated themselves on bringing the nutritious potato to the supposedly backward inhabitants of Bengal and Botany Bay, and viewed its adoption as an index of the overall level of civilisation attained by locals. For gardeners in Tehran, Māori entrepreneurs in New Zealand, and Bengali villagers, potatoes served other purposes. The transformation of eating habits that followed the global dissemination of American foodstuffs after 1492 reveals the complex interactions between local environments, patterns of agriculture and landholding, commercial structures and existing foodways. The potato’s changing status in China demonstrates this well. For centuries the potato provided an important resource for villagers in peripheral regions, yet was almost invisible to the state. Now it is part of a state strategy to increase food security. This transformation in the potato’s political role coincides with the Chinese state’s embrace of the market economy; vigorous state promotion of potatoes has accordingly emphasised individual choice and personal benefit. In China, as in Europe, capitalism, individualism and personal eating practices are closely intertwined with modern forms of statecraft.