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This article posits that friendship has been a particularly fertile and creative category against the backdrop of imperial expansion and consolidation in the Himalayas. As a small but strategically perceived sovereign Himalayan country, Bhutan's history through the last centuries has been marked simultaneously by imperial and post-colonial asymmetries of power. The term “friendship” is deployed as a key diplomatic category in Bhutan's most significant relationship, that with its much larger neighbour India. However, the origin of this friendship is always traced back to the mid-twentieth-century post-colonial period. In contradistinction to this, I constellate a much longer history of this friendship with a special focus on the landmark 1910 Treaty of Punakha between Bhutan and Britain, which was a key turning point in Bhutan's relations with its southern neighbour (British India at the time). Scholars typically state as a matter of fact that in the year 1910, with the initiative of Political Officer Charles Bell, a treaty was signed between Britain and Bhutan that placed Bhutan's external relations under the guidance of Britain. This present work is situated within the oeuvre of critically rereading imperial sources and evaluating their historical legacies, and is the first detailed scholarly analysis of why this treaty was significant and how it came to be signed. I identify the factors that were at work in how and why the 1910 friendship treaty was realised for imperial British purposes—the interpersonal friendships fostered by the British Political Officers; the threat of China as an Other; and the representation of material and ideational advantages from associating with an imperial power. In making this argument, I analyse the role played by the vocabulary of friendship and draw upon primary archival sources to illustrate the factors that were at work as well as the dissonance between the archival and public rationales provided by Political Officer Bell. The 1910 treaty was signed at a watershed moment after the then-recent installation of a monarchy in Bhutan in 1907, and against the great game backdrop of Qing activities in Tibet and British interests in the region; throughout the twentieth century, the impact of this friendship treaty was of paramount significance, and its shadow continues into the twenty-first century.
The music of Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederic Handel and Domenico Scarlatti received more performances, publications and appreciation in Britain between 1750–1850 than in any other country during this era. The compositions of these three seminal baroque composers were heard in the numerous public and private concerts that proliferated at this time; edited, arranged and published for professionals and amateurs; written about by scholars and journalists; and used as teaching pieces and in pedagogical treatises. This Element examines the reception of their music during this dynamic period in British musical history, and places the discussion within the context of the artistic, cultural, economic, and political factors that stimulated such passionate interest in 'ancient music.' It also offers a vivid picture of the aesthetic concerns of those musicians and audiences involved with this repertoire, providing insights that help us better understand our own encounters with music of the past.
This chapter concretizes this book’s theoretical and analytical arguments by analyzing two transformations in the political history of the English East India Company (EIC). First, I show that key to the EIC’s success were public/private hybrid relations ranging from contractual, institutional, and shadow configurations. Contractual hybridity was visible through formal and frequent charter negotiations and public exchange of forced loans and other fiscal extractions. Institutional hybridity was evident through the EIC benefiting from insider rules and the rise of MP-Directors as well as more sophisticated informal lobbying. Shadow hybridity materialized through side payments and the presence of back channels through the Secret Committee. Second, the EIC’s self-understanding of sovereign authority shifted from a privilege understood within Idealized Sovereignty to a self-possessed right from extensive enactments of Lived Sovereignty. Meanwhile, the EIC’s sovereign awakening revealed problems with mutually inclusive and nonhierarchical early modern sovereignty that were thus far ignored.
This chapter uses case studies of postcolonial Tanzania and Sierra Leone to examine pathways of persecution and punishment during pivotal moments of autocratic contestation and consolidation. Through careful process tracing, I analyze how the politics of the early independence period, which were fundamentally shaped by the struggle for national control, influenced strategies of judicial and extrajudicial repression in the years that followed. My analysis draws on a variety of archival sources that provide a rare window into the challenges faced by new autocrats, including how threats to autocratic survival were perceived in real time.
Whose fault are financial crises, and who is responsible for stopping them, or repairing the damage? Impunity and Capitalism develops a new approach to the history of capitalism and inequality by using the concept of impunity to show how financial crises stopped being crimes and became natural disasters. Trevor Jackson examines the legal regulation of capital markets in a period of unprecedented expansion in the complexity of finance ranging from the bankruptcy of Europe's richest man in 1709, to the world's first stock market crash in 1720, to the first Latin American debt crisis in 1825. He shows how, after each crisis, popular anger and improvised policy responses resulted in efforts to create a more just financial capitalism but succeeded only in changing who could act with impunity, and how. Henceforth financial crises came to seem normal and legitimate, caused by impersonal international markets, with the costs borne by domestic populations and nobody in particular at fault.
For much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Iran was the scene of competition and rivalry by the dominant global powers at the time, Britain and Russia, and later the Soviet Union. Iran managed to remain nominally independent under both the Qajars and the Pahlavis, but for long periods of time that independence was hardly meaningful. Over the course of the century that this chapter covers, from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, the country experienced prolonged periods of foreign economic domination, political subjugation, and outright military occupation. Situated in a geography of increasing strategic significance, Iran was, in fact, one of the primary areas in which the Russians and the British played out a great game of high-stakes international chess, almost always to the detriment of local peoples and leaders.
The seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries are often viewed as the “age of absolutism,” but customary privileges, legal variations, and the enormous expenses of nearly constant warfare imposed limits on absolute monarchs. Wars included regional wars, civil wars, dynastic wars, revolts, and Europe-wide conflicts, all fought with larger and more deadly standing armies and navies. Warfare shaped the internal political history of each state, which followed somewhat distinct patterns but also exhibited certain common themes: an expansion of centralized authority; the continued development of government bureaucracy; and the pursuit of territorial power and colonial wealth. France, Spain, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, the Austrian Habsburgs, Brandenburg–Prussia, Sweden, Poland, and Russia all saw struggles between the nobles and the ruler, and warfare with one another. In the British Isles, disputes led to civil war and a temporary overthrow of the monarchy, while the Dutch Republic became amazingly prosperous through trade and toleration. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, rulers in many of these states, who saw themselves as “enlightened,” began programs of reforms designed to enhance their own power and military might, but also to improve the lives of their subjects.
Chapter 1 explores the campaigns of Cecilia John, Meredith Atkinson and the Save the Children Fund, which in Australia was formed in 1919. John established an Australian branch after attending the Women’s International Peace Congress in Zurich in 1919 with feminist Vida Goldstein, where she witnessed the horror of images of starving children in Europe, which left an indelible impact on her. A biographical study of John provides a framework through which to bring together disparate parts of her life that have been studied in isolation. Previously, her national and international efforts have been discussed separately. Integrating these studies has revealed, I argue, not a continuum of political ideals but contradictions. During the First World War, John critiqued the British Empire for draining the blood of Australia’s men on the battlefields of Europe, but after the war, she eulogised the Empire for rescuing starving and destitute children through Save the Children. She appears not to bring these politics into Save the Children, however, focusing instead on the desperate plight of starving children in an apolitical framework. The emotive, apolitical appeal of rescuing starving children seemingly sat without the complications of her earlier proclamations. Privileging sentimentality in the cause of destitute children, void of political or critical analysis, was a challenge the journalist and educator Meredith Atkinson encountered too, as he attempted to promote the cause of Russian children caught in the civil war.
The United Kingdom is more properly called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, where Great Britain includes the nations of Scotland, England, and Wales. In this chapter we will see that the development of psychological assessment as a science in the United Kingdom and more widely proceeded in parallel with and in interaction with the development of psychometrics as a set of measurement tools, which in turn was used to support a world view at that time which saw psychological differences as relatively fixed attributes that were only primarily changeable through genetic changes. We also track the development of assessment methods which were influenced strongly by the two World Wars. The greatest changes and developments in testing and assessment in the United Kingdom took place in occupational job selection and training settings before they had an impact on practice in clinical and educational assessment. As a consequence, this chapter focuses on the history of occupational assessment rather than on developments in the clinical and educational fields.
While civilians in the metropole had mixed responses to concerted efforts to urge them to carry their gas masks, popular culture continued to make the gas mask an object of humor as well as something to manage panic or fear. As the war continued, new questions emerged that showed the limits of the gas mask’s reach, notably who was responsible for providing gas masks for internees in camps on the Isle of Man or for colonial subjects in places ranging from Aden to India to Singapore to the West Indies. Those planning for civil defense had not considered provisions for those in Britain’s extensive empire, and those in the colonies came to treat imperial civil defense with ambivalence. As Britain’s access to its overseas empire – and most importantly its source of rubber – shifted by the middle of 1942, so too did its instructions about gas masks. It now no longer asked its inhabitants to carry their gas masks everywhere but instead to ensure that they knew where they were and would keep them in good order. Despite poison gas not being deployed in massive attacks on civilians, as feared in the planning stages, the government continued to provide babies’ anti-gas protective helmets to all infants, and to inspect and repair gas masks for other ages throughout the war. At the war’s end, however, it decided not to collect these devices, just in case they could be of use in a future war.
Chapter 5 explores how Australia’s participation in the Children’s Overseas Reception Board scheme reinforced imperial ties and was seen as vital to Australia’s contribution to the war effort. Britain’s children were seen as Australia’s children, and the Australian government at the time enthusiastically embraced the scheme. But the scheme did this by more than simply accepting children – it was overtly racialised. Even before children departed, they were meticulously screened to establish who was eligible for the scheme. The unanimous support for the scheme was, I argue, premised on the narrative of emotions evoked by child evacuation and was framed by the constructed emotional bonds between the family of nations that connected countries to the values and aspirations of the British Empire.
The civilian gas mask made total war seem normal. As an object that could remind wearers of an existential threat to their lives and families and livelihoods while being carried on the body, the gas mask could encapsulate both the warfare state and the welfare state of the twentieth century. A government that freely distributed civilian gas masks made it acceptable to factor its noncombatant population fully into the waging of modern war.
The trial run of civil defence and the gas mask in September 1938 yielded several important lessons for the government. One was that it urgently needed to solve the absence of anti-gas protection for infants and toddlers, which it did by the time Britain entered the Second World War in September 1939. Until the outbreak of war, it continued to encounter resistance to these measures, and when war broke out, some conscientious objectors used their refusal to accept their gas masks as a sign of their commitment to oppose all war. As for the majority who accepted the mask as the gift of a benevolent state, the issue became whether or not they would follow instructions to carry them whenever they left their homes. The government soon came to see gas mask carrying not only as a mark of good morale, but also as indicating whether or not someone was being a good wartime citizen, willing to follow instructions in order to keep the entire civilian population safe. Mass Observation delegated respondents to survey who carried their masks, and they recorded these efforts as mapping onto attitudes towards the war effort. When the worst of the Battle of Britain had subsided with a decrease in devastating aerial attacks by April 1941, the government launched a concerted campaign, using posters, film, and staged gas mask drills to encourage the population to remember that “Hitler Will Give No Warning,” so everyone had to accept the obligation always to have a gas mask at the ready. Carrying and caring for the gas mask became a sign that you accepted your duty to participate in the war effort.
The central chapters of this book focus on the development and growth of insular origin legends over time by studying a key subset of themes that came to take on particular significance within this corpus. Tracing the expansion and increasing centrality of these themes over time allows us to witness the influence that individual texts within the corpus of material containing early insular origin legends had on the development of these legends themselves. Chapter Four focuses on intermarriage and incest, first tracing medieval understanding of these concepts in biblical tradition before examining contemporary evidence for intermarriage and incest in early medieval legal and historical texts. Origin legends expanded further to envision what might have happened after a foundational ancestor who emigrated alone or with a small band of followers arrived to the insular region. Women were necessary in order to preserve the population, and there were really only two solutions to the problem: intermarriage or incest. This chapter examines each of these motifs in turn, studying how they were introduced into insular origin legends and expanded to create different narrative possibilities for political commentary as the corpus grew.
The growth of origin narratives throughout a wide swath of literary and historical genres demonstrates their important role in constructing a particular vision of the present by linking it to a carefully constructed narrative of the past during the medieval period. It also underscores the intellectual connections that this book argues were widespread in the early medieval insular region. Such textual connections were not limited to the more comprehensive historical works which have formed the focus of this study. Local origin stories also drew on the same narrative patterns and motifs. The conclusion examines four brief dynastic origin legends that incorporate some of the themes explored in this book: the brief genealogical treatise of the Dál Riata known as Senchus Fer n-Alban / Míniugud Senchusa Fher n-Alban; the legendary piece of Uí Néill dynastic propaganda known as Echtra mac nEchach Muigmedóin; the legend of ancestral figure Cunedda and his sons expelling the Irish from Gwynedd which is embedded in the Historia Brittonum; and the story of legendary Danish ancestor Scyld Scefing from the opening lines of Beowulf. These narratives underscore the importance of movement within the corpus of insular origin material, even on a local level.
A key argument of this book is that it is impossible to separate the growth of any insular origin narrative from that of the larger corpus of historical writing which contained them. Chapter One presents the evidence for the textual connections between these works, while the chapters to follow analyse the implications of these connections. This chapter outlines the sources and later reuses of each major work under consideration. Specialists on individual texts and manuscripts will already be aware of many of these connections, yet broader scholarship on the early medieval period still treats so-called ‘Irish’, ‘Welsh’, ‘Anglo-Saxon’ and ‘Scottish’ literary and historical traditions as disparate. This chapter thus provides the ‘hard evidence’ for the extent to which the corpus of texts containing origin narratives influenced one another during the early medieval period. Early medieval authors were interested not solely in writing the story of their own people, but rather, in collecting the histories of the peoples of Britain and Ireland together. Chapter One overturns the common perception that the authors of these texts were working in proto-national isolation, instead revealing the textual connections that shaped the intellectual landscape of the early medieval insular region.
The central chapters of this book focus on the development and growth of insular origin legends over time by studying a key subset of themes that came to take on particular significance within this corpus. Tracing the expansion and increasing centrality of these themes over time allows us to witness the influence that individual texts within the corpus of material containing early insular origin legends had on the development of these legends themselves. Chapter Three focuses on kin-slaying, first tracing the influence of the biblical legend of Cain and the classical legend of Romulus and Remus on early medieval authors before examining contemporary evidence for kin-slaying in early medieval legal and historical texts. As insular origin narratives expanded, their authors recognised the narrative need to explain ancestral exile. The idea that a foundational ancestor had committed the crime of kin-slaying was introduced via the Brutus story in the ninth-century Historia Brittonum and proved subsequently popular, as exile was theoretically the legal sentence for this crime. As a narrative motif, kin-slaying allowed a people to retain the prestige of ties to ancient dynasties while embracing political independence in the present moment.
The central chapters of this book focus on the development and growth of insular origin legends over time by studying a key subset of themes that came to take on particular significance within this corpus. Tracing the expansion and increasing centrality of these themes over time allows us to witness the influence that individual texts within the corpus of material containing early insular origin legends had on the development of these legends themselves. Chapter Two focuses on exile, first tracing the influence of the biblical myth of Exodus and the classical legend of the Aeneid on early medieval authors before examining contemporary evidence for exile in early medieval legal and historical texts. The chapter argues that as the corpus of insular works containing origin narratives grew and developed over time, the concept of exile took on central importance. Arising from Gildas’s foundational description of Britain as an island on the outermost fringes of the known world, the centrality of exile to insular origin stories grew after the ninth-century Historia Brittonum introduced the influential legend that Britain’s founding ancestor was Brutus, an exile from Troy. From there, the concept of exile gained increasing thematic importance within insular origin narratives.
When writing their own histories and those of their neighbours, early medieval insular peoples sought to provide answers to some obvious questions. Who were their ancestors? Where did they come from? And why did they leave their homelands? Over the course of the early medieval period, a discourse of origin narratives developed within the insular region. By the time of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, an expansive origin legend had become attached to each of the four peoples who inhabited Britain and Ireland. This book explores the development of these stories in the early medieval period from (roughly) the departure of the Romans to the arrival of the Normans before turning to an examination of how they were treated by early modern chroniclers writing histories with a more nationalist bent. In the early medieval period, the corpus of insular origin legends evolved together to flesh out the history of the region. Individual origin narratives were in constant development, written and rewritten to respond to other works. Together, these legends were constructed not to form four distinct ‘national’ histories but rather to fill in the blanks of prehistory for the region as a whole.
A single pit containing a mixed assemblage of charred plant remains, including broomcorn millet, was discovered during excavation of a Middle–Late Bronze Age settlement at Old Catton, Norfolk. Radiocarbon dating of this assemblage dates it to the Late Bronze Age—including a date of 910–800 cal BC for the millet itself—making this the earliest securely dated use of broomcorn millet in Britain.