Histories of the British Empire

History 280U/285U

Fall 2011
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
W 2-4P

This course will explore the historical development and nature of the modern British empire. At its height in 1919 that empire stretched over a quarter of the globe and included almost a third of its population with a staggering 458 million people spread across 13m square miles. We will ask how this was achieved, what made this empire modern, and whether conceptualizing the empire as one big thing - an economic system, a political ideology, a structuring culture organized around hierarchies of difference, or a set of mobile technologies of rule - can do justice to the immense varieties and contingencies of rule. Particular attention will be paid to questions of the political economy of empire, the nature of the imperial state, the rise of nationalist and internationalist critiques of empire and the process of decolonization.


280.003 CCN 39975 285.003 CCN 39978