How should historians tackle the controversial topic of imperialism? To what extent is it permissible to pass moral judgements on the actions of people in the past who had very different sets of values than we hold today? In his forthcoming book The British Empire: A History and A Debate, Professor Jeremy Black notes that the rights and wrongs, strengths and weaknesses of empire are a major topic in global history, and deservedly so.Focusing on the most prominent and wide-ranging empire in world history, the British empire, Black provides not only a history of that empire, but also a perspective from which to consider the issues of its strengths and weaknesses, and rights and wrongs. In short, this is history both of the past, and of the present-day discussion of the past, that recognizes that discussion over historical empires is in part a reflection of the consideration of contemporary states.
In this video, I interview Professor Black about his findings.