HIS 381 • Imperialism: New Imperial Hist
This course will take a historiographical and analytical view of what is becoming known as the 'new' imperial history. This term is not yet widespread and it may not take root, but it serves as a convenient summary of a number disparate trends in the study of Western expansion and imperialism. The implication of the designation 'new' is that there is also an 'old' imperial history. This, too has not been closely defined but it can be taken to refer to the standard or orthodox literature derived from the classic contributions to the subject and represented most recently and most fully in the OXFORD HISTORY OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE (5 vols. 1998 and 1999). The 'new' history emphasises an alternative set of themes, such as gender, race, environment, cultural representations, First Nations, and globalization, which have come to the fore in the last ten to fifteen years. In assessing this literature, the course will try to determine what is truly new about the 'new' history and to assess whether it is as opposed to the 'old' history as its advocates suggest. This course complements Course 380L offered in the Fall semester, but can be studied independently.
These are large themes and they have generated a large literature. The selection of topics for the semester and the depth to which each can be studied will be determined partly by the need to cover a range of themes and partly by the interests of the students taking the course. In each case an attempt will be made to balance abstract analysis with historical illustrations drawn from new research on these emerging themes.
Relevant studies containing additional references to recent work include: Dane Kennedy, 'The Boundaries of Oxford's Empire', INTERNATIONAL HISTORY REVIEW, 23 (2001), pp.604-2; A. G. Hopkins, 'Back to the Future: From National History to Imperial History', PAST & PRESENT, 164 (1999), pp.198-243; A. G. Hopkins, ed. GLOBALIZATION IN WORLD HISTORY (2002); Mrinalini Sinha, 'Britain and the Empire: Towards a New Agenda for Imperial History', RADICAL HISTORY REVIEW, 72 (1998), pp.163-74; Patrick Wolf, 'Imperialism and History: A Century of Theory from Marx to Postcolonialism', AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW, 102 (1997), pp.388-420; Catherine Hall, ed., CULTURES OF EMPIRE: A READER (2000); David Washbrook, 'Orients and Occidents: Colonial Discourse Theory and the Historiography of the British Empire', in Robin Winks, ed. OXFORD HISTORY OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE, V (1999), pp.596-611.