The Secret History Behind Today’s Algeria-Germany #WorldCup Match

The Algerian team in 1982
The Algerian team in 1982

Mathilde von Bülow
Lecturer in International and Imperial history, University of Nottingham

Today, Germany’s Mannschaft will face Algeria’s Fennecs at Porto Alegre, after both teams made it through the group stage of the FIFA World Cup. Though it has yet to be played, the match is already being hailed as an historic, even epic, event. Why? Because it represents the first time the Algerian squad has progressed to the final sixteen at a World Cup. Its larger symbolism, however, is rooted in a longstanding Algerian resistance to French colonialism, which underpinned the secret history of Algerian-German football relations. Continue reading “The Secret History Behind Today’s Algeria-Germany #WorldCup Match”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History


Marc-William Palen
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From selling cat meat in the British Empire to how the CIA was behind the publication of Dr. Zhivago, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Academic Arrested by Government of Tajikistan – A Call For Support

[Editor’s Note: Below is a statement from Dr. John Heathershaw that seeks to bring attention to the recent arrest of an academic colleague by the Government of Tajikistan. For further details or to lend your support, please contact Dr. Heathershaw at the email address below. You can also sign a petition at Scholars for Sodiqov, and read more at the Guardian.]

Dr. John Heathershaw
Politics Department, University of Exeter


On Monday 16 June at approximately 2.30pm my academic colleague Alexander Sodiqov was arrested and detained in Khorog whilst working on the research project ‘Rising Powers and Conflict Management in Central Asia’.  He has not been heard of since.  On Tuesday 17 June, it was reported on state news agency Khovar that he was under investigation for ‘espionage’.    Later we heard that Presidential Advisor Mr Khairulloev accepted that Alexander is an academic researcher and he would be released. However, yesterday evening a heavily edited video was shown on television in Badakhshon.  I remain saddened and shocked by his detention and worried about his condition. I call on the Government of Tajikistan to release information about his arrest. Continue reading “Academic Arrested by Government of Tajikistan – A Call For Support”

‘Men of Martial Nature’: Reconsidering Churchill and Indian Muslims

Warren Dockter
Junior Research Fellow, Cambridge University
Follow on Twitter @WarrenDockter

Churchill in India.
Churchill in India.

Winston Churchill’s tumultuous relationship with India is typically seen in the context of his campaign to deny increased autonomy and independence to India during the 1930s. The standard narrative tends to engage Churchill’s relationship with India by depicting a fiercely imperialist Churchill whose policy ‘rested on the simple concept that British power in India must be preserved without qualifications’ against the meek and well-intentioned Mahatma Gandhi, whose policy of ahimsa (nonviolence) helped make Churchill seem even more fanatically imperialist. Many historians also have linked Churchill’s resistance to Indian Independence to his romantic Victorian conception of the British Empire. That is, that he allowed his belief in the ‘civilizing effects of British rule’ to serve as his primary, if only, motivation for opposing Indian home rule.  While Churchill’s romantic view of the British Empire undoubtedly played a role in his motivation to keep India within the British Empire, taken alone it does not sufficiently explain what motivated him to undertake such a politically ruinous stance.

These combined approaches are problematic because they are predicated on the notion that Churchill only understood British India as a static and monolithic extension of the empire, and that the Victorian-minded Churchill was so convinced of this view that he was willing to politically marginalize himself.  As a result, Churchill is often caricatured as a hater of all Indians, an approach that ignores important considerations regarding Churchill’s view of minorities in India — especially India’s Muslims. Continue reading “‘Men of Martial Nature’: Reconsidering Churchill and Indian Muslims”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Dundee Antarctic Whaling Expedition (1892–1893) by William Gordon Burn-Murdochphoto [credit: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)]

Marc-William Palen
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the imperial roots of hunger to whaling stations at the end of the earth, here are this week’s top reads in imperial and global history.

Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

In Search of British Values

Rumana Begum and Andrew Thompson 
Email Rumana Begum, or Andrew Thompson,

Cross-Posted from Care for the Future

Last week Michael Gove rekindled the debate on British values by demanding that they should be taught in Britain’s schools. Gove’s broadside against the dangers of Islamic extremism taking a hold of our education system was backed by the Prime Minister, who rallied to his Education Secretary’s side, claiming that the incorporation of British values into the school curriculum was likely to have the “overwhelming support” of the country. The Prime Minister went on to give his own view of what these values are, citing freedom, tolerance, respect for the rule of law, belief in personal and social responsibility, and a respect for British institutions.

Continue reading “In Search of British Values”

Allende, the Third World, and Neoliberal Imperialism

Chris Dietrich
Assistant Professor, Fordham University
Follow on Twitter @C_R_W_Dietrich

allende“Allende was assassinated for nationalizing the . . . wealth of Chilean subsoil,” Pablo Neruda wrote on September 14, 1973. Neruda was lamenting the overthrow and death of his friend, Chilean President Salvador Allende, a week before he himself succumbed to cancer.  “From the salt-peter deserts, the underwater coal mines, and the terrible heights where copper is extracted through inhuman work by the hands of my people, a liberating movement of great magnitude arose,” he continued.  “This movement led a man named Salvador Allende to the presidency of Chile, to undertake reforms and measures of justice that could not be postponed, to rescue our national wealth from foreign clutches.”  Unfortunately, Allende’s flirtation with economic nationalization ran up against the country’s multinational business interests, particularly those that had support from the U.S. government. His socialist reforms were also ill timed; the U.S. government’s ideological view towards the global economy tended towards the Manichean.

So what was the American role in Allende’s overthrow? Continue reading “Allende, the Third World, and Neoliberal Imperialism”

Imagining Britain’s Global Markets

A 1927 pictoral map with all the dominions and trade routes. British Empire Marketing Board.   (Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-27-382 Copyright expired.)
A 1927 pictoral map with all the dominions and trade routes. British Empire Marketing Board.
Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-27-382 Copyright expired.

The History Department at the University of Exeter has recently received funding from the AHRC to support an international research network: ‘Imagining Markets: Conceptions of Empire/Commonwealth, Europe and China in Britain’s economic future since the 1870s’. The network led by David Thackeray, Richard Toye and Andrew Thompson aims to provide a bridge between historical and contemporary ways of thinking about Britain’s future global economic orientation, bringing together scholars working in the fields of Imperial, European and Asian studies, and scholars from cultural studies and economic studies, which have become increasingly separated branches of enquiry calling for reintegration.

Continue reading “Imagining Britain’s Global Markets”

A Scottish Referendum on the Failed Empire?

Dr. Bryan S. Glass
History Department, Texas State University
Follow on Twitter @glass_bryan

Glass Scottish NationWith the Scottish independence referendum just around the corner, Dr. Glass, General Editor of The British Scholar Society and founder of the journal Britain and the Worlddiscusses the complicated relationship between the British Empire and Scottish nationalism following decolonisation. He will be debating Michael Gove on these very issues later this month at the Chalke Valley History Festival. Dr. Glass’s book, The Scottish Nation at Empire’s End, was released today by Palgrave Macmillan.

The Scottish independence referendum is just a little over three months away.  Pundits are constantly discussing or debating why Scotland should either remain within the United Kingdom or vote for an independence that would look far different from what the Scots last experienced in 1707. Continue reading “A Scottish Referendum on the Failed Empire?”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

The imagery and text of this British First World War poster indicate a parent-child relationship between Britain and its dominions. Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand are the 'Young Lions’ helping Britain the 'Old Lion' (even though India sent more men than all the other dominions combined).  Te Papa.
From Te Papa collection.

Marc-William Palen
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From new digital archives to China’s last Tiananmen prisoner, here is this week’s roundup in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

What the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is Hiding in its Secret Archive

FCO archives in Hanslope Park – Katie Engelhart, Vice Magazine.

Richard Overy

Following a meeting last month with representatives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Exeter Professor Richard Overy reports on the status of over 1 million secret files that the FCO has long kept hidden from the public. What is in the files? Will they be made available? If so, when? As Prof. Overy puts it, the situation remains ‘a rather gloomy one’. The Forum has previously reported on the secret archive’s implications for the history of decolonisation. Katie Engelhart (@katieengelhart), James Renton (@RentonJE, #secretarchive), Richard Overy, and Richard Drayton, among others, continue to keep us informed as events unfold.

The meeting was called by the FCO to inform interested academics and archivists about the current position of the so-called ‘Special Collections’ still held in the Foreign Office archives. The object was to gather views about what priority should be given to particular collections and to give a detailed breakdown of the current programme for releasing material to The National Archives. Around 60 people were in attendance with a panel of six experts, including representatives from TNA and the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Council on archives.

The following points summarize the information that was given at the meeting: Continue reading “What the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is Hiding in its Secret Archive”