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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Fall 2007

HIS 380L • Eur Imperialism: Brit Empire

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
41140 TH
5:00 PM-8:00 PM
RAS 313B

Course Description

This research seminar will discuss the causes of British expansion in the nineteenth century and the reactions to British conquest and rule. How did the British manage to establish colonial sway over a quarter of the globe? What were the aims of British colonial administration? How did the Empire affect the lives of Asians, Africans and others throughout the world and also the lives of those within the British Isles? The general aim is to study the history of the British Empire with the advantage of a post-colonial perspective on the ruled as well as the rulers, on the colonized as well as the colonizers. Some forty years ago Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher wrote a challenging book that has established itself as a classic. It continues to provoke debate and controversy. They argue in Africa and the Victorians that the partition of Africa and parts of the Middle East in the late nineteenth century was no more than a footnote to the British Raj in India and that the African continent was partitioned essentially for political and strategic reasons, not for economic exploitation. Whether one agrees with their interpretation or not, they have provided an analysis that offers an alternative to economic theories of imperialism. The Robinson and Gallagher Controversy provides the basis for the discussion in the first part of the seminar, which will deal principally with Africa and the Middle East, especially Egypt.

In the latter part of the seminar, the focus will shift to India as an example of British rule and the problem of Indian independence in 1947. The Transfer of Power in India documentary series will be studied as a primary source. The reading includes Wavell: The Viceroys Journal, R.J. Moore, Escape from Empire, and Judith Brown, Modern India. Students may take the seminar as a research seminar generally on the British Empire or as a research seminar on India, the Middle East or Africa. May be repeated with a change in regional topic. The chronological focus in the fall semester 2005 will be the twentieth century (especially in Middle East and India). In a more general way, the seminar upholds the principles of the Modern History Faculty at Oxfordto enhance (1) intellectual curiosity, (2) conceptual clarity; (3) flexibility, that is the capacity to engage with alternative perspectives and new information; (4) accuracy and attention to detail; (5) critical engagement; (6) capacity for hard work (7) enthusiasm for history; and (8) historical imagination and understanding, that is the ability to speculate and compare, alongside the possession of appropriate historical knowledge and the capacity to deploy it.


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