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This chapter looks at how and why Churchill has become such a divisive figure. It opens with a description of recent debates in the public discourse and on social media. It then briefly discuses Churchill’s reputation during his lifetime before recounting the role that he played in shaping his own legacy through his words, written and spoken, and through the creation of his archive and official biography. The authors then examine the long and complex historiography of Churchill, highlighting some of the most significant challenges to the dominant Churchillian narrative. Particular attention is paid to the more recent politicising of Churchill as a result of debates over Brexit, empire and race.
The British Empire provided the context in which both Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt came to maturity and defined and aggravated their differences as national leaders. The chapter begins by comparing the shared beliefs and values of Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt on empire and race before showing how Franklin Roosevelt emerged from his cousin’s shadow to develop a hostility towards the British Empire inspired by genuine idealism as well as calculating pragmatism. It documents the tension between Churchill’s imperialism and his appreciation that American participation in the war was the key to victory, examining the differences between the two leaders before looking at their wartime relationship through the lens of their very different responses to events in the British Empire, especially in India. Churchill’s dispute with Roosevelt on the subject of the British Empire went to the heart of the relationship between a Democrat president who wanted to create a new world order imbued with American values and a Conservative prime minister who aimed to maintain the old world in all its glory. This disjunction threatened the stability of the wartime alliance.
The chapter sees India as a stain on Churchill’s reputation. As a young officer, Churchill spent twenty-two months in India, representing his longest concentrated stay outside of Britain, but his prejudice against Anglo-Indians meant that he engaged only with the elites of British India and remained isolated. The Empire and its permanence became the bedrock of a deep-seated conviction just at the time of India’s nationalist upsurge for self-rule and independence. He condemned the Amritsar massacre but thereafter opposed all ideas for Indian political evolution. The fact that he held no responsibility for India affairs apart from May 1940 to July 1945 did not stop him speaking about the subcontinent. His campaign against the India Act of 1935 was conducted at enormous political cost to himself and left the leaders of the Indian independence movement embittered, contributing to Hindu–Muslim polarisation. During the Second World War Churchill manipulated Britain’s response to the Indian independence movement, titling policy in favour of Jinnah and the creation of Pakistan. His response to the Bengal Famine has to be framed in terms of race.
The role of the state has been underplayed in scholarship on global health. Taking a historical view, this paper argues that state institutions, practices and ideologies have in fact been crucial to the realisation of contemporary global health governance and to its predecessor regimes. Drawing on state theory, work on governmentality, and Third World approaches to international law, it traces the origins of the ‘health state’ in late colonial developmentalism, which held out the prospect of conditional independence for the subjects of European empires. Progress in health was also a key goal for nationalist governments in the Global South, one which they sought to realise autonomously as part of a New International Economic Order. The defeat of that challenge to the dominance of the Global North in the 1980s led to the rise of ‘global governance’ in health. Far from rendering the state redundant, the latter was realised through the co-option and disciplining of institutions at national level. To that extent, the current order has an unmistakably imperial character, one which undercuts its declared cosmopolitan aspirations, as evidenced in the approach to vaccine distribution and travel bans during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In this epilogue, we consider first the language of resistance and how its rhetoric encodes a complex and competing set of positionalities: it is hard, we argue, to distinguish between cultural resistance and cultural difference. This process is especially complex in the Roman Empire, where cultural conflict between Roman and Greek, for example, has to negotiate the surprising dynamics of cultural authority where the colonisers privilege the culture of the conquered, and where Christianity is a major vector in the changing nature of resistance over time. This opening discussion leads to six ways in which the case of the Roman Empire offers a particularly productive and challenging model for contemporary resistance studies, which shows a way forward from this volume: first, resistance from marginalised groups and the possibility of institutional rejection of dominant culture; second, resistance from within the elite; third, resistance as a multidirectional process which is testimony to the fragility of imperial self-assertion; fourth, the resistance between classes, and especially slaves to masters; fifth, how the imaginary of resistance – its narratives and tropes – functions; sixth, how resistance has its own historical account which shifts from public acts of resistance to models of inwardness.
Chapter 5 illuminates the literary, political, and ecological significance of Milton’s depiction of contentment. In Eikonoklastes, Milton responds directly to the appropriation of contentment discourse in Eikon Basilike. Charles I had identified his opponents as malcontents and positioned himself as a contented martyr-king. By contrast, Milton describes Charles’s discontent as the immediate cause of the English Civil War and as the epitome of tyranny. In Paradise Lost, he adds an environmental dimension to the religious and republican significances of content and discontent. The language of self-containment has limited applications for unfallen Adam and Eve, who interact harmoniously with their environment. Satanic discontent reconstitutes the experience of selfhood as a space defined in opposition to the natural world. Satan perverts contentment and finds it impossible to relate to the world around him in any way other than as a conqueror. When Adam and Eve choose to sin, they emulate diabolic discontent and subject all of creation to imperialism. Milton’s revision of Christian contentment reveals his efforts to endure, lament, and resist the Restoration.
In The Seventh Member State, I show that imperial concerns were central to the original shape of the European Communities, in particular French anxieties about Algeria. The latter had been imagined by several generations of French as an extension of the metropole across the Mediterranean, while at the same time a majority of the population was not granted citizenship rights. While in 1951 France opted for the exclusion of Algeria from the territory of the Coal and Steel Community, in 1957 the strategy followed was the opposite, and Algeria was made part of the EEC, not least because this seemed to reinforce French claim that the territory was part of France and, perhaps above all, it rendered possible to obtain the financial support of the other five founding states for costly Algerian development projects. Labelling Algeria a seventh member state, as is done in the title of the book, calls the attention of the reader not only to the sweeping expanse of postwar European institutions, which lasted even after states such as Algeria gained independence, but also to the contestable and contested conception of Member State. Mainly intended as a piece in French history, the book illuminates the extent to which Europe was the main vehicle of the rescue of the imperial nation-state, and how white supremacy and colonial rule were maintained through a peculiar combination of the rule of law and states of emergency.
The history of European integration, even if yet a rather minor sub-field, has seen a good deal of developments in the last two decades. New scholars have joined the field and new topics of research have been considered. Megan Brown’s The Seventh Member State is an impressive contribution to the literature. The book does not only demonstrate that a main goal of the European Economic Community was to rescue the imperial nation-state, but illustrates the point by means of considering the complex relationship between France and Algeria, also marked by Algeria becoming part of the territory of the European Economic Community. As Brown shows, this had lasting effects, especially after Algeria’s independence. Doubts, however, can be raised regarding the extent to which the title of the book is not a trifle exaggerated. Not least because Algeria was never offered the status of member state, but remained subordinated to France. If its territory was part of the EEC, it was indeed as a result of the peculiar status assigned to Algeria under French law. In addition, it could be argued that the conclusions of the book would have been strengthened if a wider set of archives and literature would have been consulted (Dutch and German, and above all Algerian literature).
Federation was promoted as an ideal before and between the two world wars, in both colonial independence movements and internationalist thought. It also became a term for promoting reforms to imperial governance, referring sometimes to greater political and economic integration and at other times to devolution or self-rule. Writers around the world responded to these developments directly, in specific political and constitutional discussions, and through indirect engagement with federalism’s rhetorical, conceptual, historical, and affective structures. Modernists such as Gertrude Stein, W. H. Auden, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner exemplify the range of white metropolitan writers’ playful, earnest, and creative engagements with federal themes during the interwar period. Paradigmatic of a so-called ‘federal moment’ amidst global decolonisation movements during the post-war period, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children illustrates federalism’s contested status as both a legacy of colonial rule and a potential mechanism for imagining postcolonial futures.
The first chapter focuses on Leonard Woolf’s journey from colonialist civil servant working on behalf of the British Empire in Ceylon, to writer and celebrated anti-imperialist. Looking closely at his correspondence and autobiographical reflections on the years 1904 to 1911, as well as the novel, The Village in the Jungle (1913), written upon his return to England, it details how Woolf’s encounters with animals gradually disrupt his human- and European-centred worldview. The chapter begins by examining Woolf’s role in both facilitating and partaking in the hunting of big game, through which his early attraction to shooting animals shifted to forceful critique of its imperialist, anthropocentric and commercial dimensions. It then explains how hunting in Woolf’s first novel is associated with gendered and racial violence. In the process, Woolf is placed in dialogue with postcolonial theory and histories of trophy hunting, and his approach is compared to that of George Orwell, Harry Storey and John Still among others.
This chapter focuses on E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India (1924) to explore Forster’s repeated, if sometimes reluctant, interest in modes of animality that threaten to unravel his humanism and complicate what critics, most notably Edward Said, have claimed to be his orientalising descriptions of the country and its people. It begins by looking at Forster’s depiction of beetles and wasps in the novel, examining how his later paratextual notes, added in 1942, undercut taxonomic precision. When placed in the context of the rise in popular entomology, Forster’s ‘unentomological’ approach to insects emerges as an important aesthetic feature of the novel. In part, it signals Forster’s hesitancy to impose western systems of knowledge on India, while it also differentiates his use of beastly language from writings by René Maran and Mulk Raj Anand. Bringing in intertextual material from Forster’s earlier novel Howards End (1910) and later account of visits to India, The Hill of Devi (1953), the chapter goes on to explore how he stages encounters with vaguely understood animal figures in which his anti-imperialism becomes, ironically, clearer.
This chapter is about how Buddhism in Inner Mongolia, specifically Geluk Buddhism, was regulated in the post-Qing (1636–1912) under Republican China (1912–49) and the Japanese Empire (1868–1947), two regimes that competed to govern this key region in the interwar period. This chapter examines how the Republic of China and the Japanese Empire understood Geluk Buddhism in Inner Mongolia and the kinds of regulations and policies that were introduced to define and regulate the tradition. The chapter reveals that Geluk Buddhism was promoted to a certain degree as a useful “tool” in the two regimes’ geopolitical plannings, but it was ultimately understood as a “problem” for modernization and secularization efforts. The chapter further argues that the competition by the two regimes to regulate Buddhism in Inner Mongolia can be viewed as a larger civilizing process for modern nation-states to limit, secularize, modernize, and de-ethnicize religion.
During and after World War I, British businessmen made major inroads in political, administrative, and policymaking circles. In so doing, they forged a nexus of power, the business-state, that aligned the interests of big business with the state’s imperial aspirations. Well before the widespread acceptance of the concept of the national economy, there was a common understanding in London that what was good for British business, especially industry, was good for the economic health of the country and empire. The result was that after World War I, the state aggressively helped British commercial interests.
This essay takes up the question of what it is to teach international law ‘in context’, drawing on experiences of teaching undergraduate survey courses in the US and UK, and designing a new LLM module on Histories of International Law. The essay begins with an exploration of teaching as a particular context of its own – one with constraints which might also function as foils for creativity. It then sketches some aspects of what teaching international law ‘in context(s)’ might involve, including the ways in which contexts of different kinds put in question one's theory of law, and vice versa. It turns, finally, to an examination of the promise and limits of interdisciplinarity – particularly recourse to history as a discipline – in illuminating contexts.
This roundtable takes up old themes and new perspectives in the field of political history. Scholars engage with six questions across three main categories: the scope of the field, current debates, and teaching. The first two questions ask how we should think about political power and the boundaries of what constitute political history. The section on current debates interrogates the relationship between governing and social movements during the GAPE, and how to situate the political violence of the January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill riot in historical perspective. The final section on teaching takes up two very different challenges. One question is a perennial concern about connecting with students in the classroom about political history. The other dilemma is how to respond to the growing cascade of censorship laws passed by state legislatures that prohibit the teaching of so-called “divisive concepts.”
Diplomatic conflict with a newly rising Meiji Japan spurred the first significant importation into official discourse of notions of “sovereignty” in the sense of state authority over a specified territory based on a legal title. Earlier accounts of sovereignty via diplomatic encounters and Martin’s translations had, by contrast, emphasized only its aspects related to “independence” of a state vis-à-vis others. The notion of a legally defined title to state territory was thrust into the Qing consciousness by Meiji efforts to annex the Ryūkyū Kingdom and Taiwan, which reached a climax in 1875 and affected the reshuffling of Qing politics and diplomacy that came in the wake of Emperor Tongzhi’s untimely death that same year.
This chapter argues that the various forms of fallibility historically identified in the genre of the essay – the tentative, the unfinished, and the imperfect – add up to a freedom from mastery that is peculiarly conducive to the consciousness of the postcolonial subject. The author examines essays by writers such as J. M. Coetzee, Nirad C. Chaudhuri, C. L R. James, Jamaica Kincaid, and Arundhati Roy.
Hadrian's Wall remains one of the most iconic elements of Roman frontier infrastructure, with considerable symbolic capital in all kinds of contemporary situations and representations. Whether inspiring the fictional ice wall in Game of Thrones or illustrating debates about English–Scottish relationships in Brexit-era Britain, the Wall has a powerful legacy. In more scholarly circles, the Wall sometimes figures in the literature of the emerging field of Border Studies, too, and in this paper I examine some of these representations, as a prelude to discussing what Border Studies offers to Wall studies within Roman archaeology. While the interdisciplinary nature of Border Studies can mean that Hadrian's Wall is misunderstood when taken out of context, this does not mean that the broader insights of Border Studies have no value to Roman archaeologists in better interpreting the Wall and its place in Roman Britain. To the contrary, the combination of innovative theories of frontiers and borderlands with detailed, nuanced understanding of the Wall communities through time has much to offer the archaeology of Britain in the Roman empire. Indeed, this field has the potential to connect frontier studies better with other dimensions of Roman provincial archaeology than has been typical in our discipline over much of the last half-century.
This Element studies the causes and the consequences of modern imperialism. The focus is on British and US imperialism in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries respectively. The dynamics of both formal and informal empires are analyzed. The argument is that imperialism is moved mainly by the desire of major powers to enhance their national economic prosperity. They do so by undermining sovereignty in peripheral countries and establishing open economic access. The impact on the countries of the periphery tends to be negative. In a world of states, then, national sovereignty is an economic asset. Since imperialism seeks to limit the exercise of sovereign power by subject people, there tends to be an inverse relationship between imperialism and development: the less control a state has over its own affairs, the less likely it is that the people of that state will experience economic progress.