This permanent, full time post is available from 1st July 2017.
The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university that combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. Exeter has over 21,000 students from more than 130 different countries and is in the top 1% of universities in the world with 98% of its research rated as being of international quality. Our research focuses on some of the most fundamental issues facing humankind today. Continue reading “We’re Hiring! Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Digital Humanities”→
This full time, permanent post is available from 1st September 2017.
The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university that combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. Exeter has over 21,000 students from more than 130 different countries and is in the top 1% of universities in the world with 98% of its research rated as being of international quality. Our research focuses on some of the most fundamental issues facing humankind today. Continue reading “We’re Hiring! Professor in Digital Humanities”→
Martin Thomas and Richard Toye University of Exeter
‘The struggle of races and of peoples has from now on the whole globe as its theatre; each advances towards the conquest of unoccupied territories.’ Tempting as it might be to ascribe such inflated rhetoric to Friedrich Nietzsche or Adolf Hitler, its originator was Gabriel Charmes, a disciple of leading late nineteenth-century French republican, Léon Gambetta.
In September 1882, Charmes was trying to persuade his fellow parliamentarians that France’s recent seizure of Tunisia was ethically imperative. Similar rhetoric could be found across the political spectrum, in Britain as well as in France. In 1888, the Conservative Prime Minister Lord Salisbury described small imperial wars as ‘merely the surf that marks the edge of the advancing wave of civilisation’. But if Britain and France both claimed to be the spearhead of civilizing influences, what happened when their interests clashed, and what new arguments emerged to rationalize the struggle for power between rival ‘civilized’ nations?
That is one theme of our new book, Arguing About Empire, but in order to answer the question we need equally to ask what happened when Anglo-French interests appeared to coincide. How did the two countries’ respective elites justify their mutual collaboration in the face of challenges from other powers and, increasingly as time went on, from domestic anti-colonial critics and local nationalist opponents too? Continue reading “France and Britain – colonial rivals, or co-imperialists?”→
New directions in the history of imperial and global networks
An ECR workshop at the University of Exeter, in collaboration with the History & Policy Global Economics and History Forum. 23 June, Reed Hall, Exeter (12-5pm)
Following the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump on a protectionist programme much debate has focused on the future of economic, political and humanitarian networks and the apparent challenges to globalisation present today. This, in turn, has stimulated interest in earlier histories of imperial and global networks. In Britain, for example, there has been a great deal of discussion of the potential value of reviving historical trade links with the Commonwealth, a move which has pejoratively been referred to as ‘Empire 2.0’ by its critics.
As well as showcasing new research in the history of imperial and global networks this workshop will include a seminar on training in public engagement, focused on addressing public audiences and policy-makers, led by History & Policy. We invite papers from early career researchers on any aspects of the history of imperial and/or global networks since c.1800. ECRs are defined as postgraduate students or those within ten years of the award of their PhDs. Topics may include (but are not limited to): Continue reading “New directions in the history of imperial and global networks”→
According to a longstanding international relations theory, the global economic order is at its most orderly when there’s at least one hegemonic free-trade champion.
As per this theory, Britain took this role upon itself in the mid-nineteenth century, ushering in a brief transatlantic flirtation with trade liberalization and relative hemispheric peace.
The United States was the first major nation to turn against this mid-nineteenth century free-trade epoch. From the Civil War to the Great Depression, the United States instead embarked upon nearly a century of Republican-style economic nationalism, which I’ve explored in my own work.
But this began to change following the Second World War when the United States assumed the mantle of free-trade hegemon. Promising prosperity, profits, and peace to the world, it sought to foster international trade liberalization through supranational initiatives like the International Monetary Fund (1944) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (1947), the latter of which morphed into the World Trade Organization in 1995.
Well, the times they are a-changing again.
Trump’s fast-developing protectionist and ultra-nationalist “America First” program has signalled that the United States is abdicating its role as free-trade leader. As the New York Timesnoted earlier this month:
President Trump’s advisers and allies are pushing an ambitious idea: Remake American trade. They are considering sweeping aside decades of policy and rethinking how the United States looks at trade with every country. Essentially, after years of criticizing China and much of Europe for the way they handle imports and exports, these officials want to copy them. This approach could result in higher barriers to imports that would end America’s decades-long status as the world’s most open large economy.
The Trump regime’s protectionist trade vision is fast becoming reality.
So what does this mean for the future of the global economic order?
Caroline Preston is in her final year of undergraduate study in History at the University of Exeter. This post stems from an essay written for the module ‘Critics of Empire.’
Many Indian nationalists in the 1920s were angered by the coercive British enforcement of free trade in India. The policy was, according to one scholar, ‘thrust by an advanced industrialised country on a nation which still needed protective tariffs to develop’. This same free trade imperial policy had resulted in an economic ‘drain’ as India had to export raw cotton and import manufactured cotton goods because India’s native industries were underdeveloped and thus uncompetitive in the global economy. Mass nationalist politics picked up in colonial South Asia, first in Bengal in the Edwardian era, and then across India in the 1920s. This included the self-determination ‘Swadeshi’ (indigenous goods) movement, which aimed to achieve ‘swaraj’ (home rule) by establishing India’s economic self-sufficiency from Britain. Swadeshi was in certain respects an anti-colonial adaptation of German-American protectionist theorist Friedrich List’s (1789- 1846) concept of economic nationalism.
Mahatma Gandhi led the Swadeshi movement in the 1920s, encouraging non-cooperation and the exclusive consumption of hand spun cloth called ‘khadi’ in order to develop domestic industries. In response, the pro-India movement of the 1920s arose in the United States, a network of Indian and US intellectuals who hoped to mobilise the US government and the public to challenge British imperial policy. They promoted Indian independence from British rule, or at least dominion status comparable to that of Canada.
I’ve chosen two illustrative sources to explore the political economy of the pro-India movement in 1920s America. The first is an article by Norman Thomas, ‘Internationalism and India’ (June 1920) in Young India, a monthly magazine published in New York by the Indian Home Rule League of America (IHRL). Thomas (1884- 1968) was an American Presbyterian minister, a pacifist, and an anti-imperialist. He was a member of the Friends of Freedom for India (FFI), another key pro-India organisation. Thomas was also a democratic socialist; he became formally affiliated with the American Socialist Party in 1918, and was its presidential nominee in 1928. Murray Seidler has since described Thomas as the party’s ‘most influential theoretician’. In the article, Thomas’s general argument was that, although he supported the Indian nationalist movement, once they obtained independence they should avoid enforcing a protectionist economic policy, believing such policies created geopolitical tensions that could eventually result in war. Instead, he advocated internationalism under a democratic socialist structure.
The second source comprises of extracts from a chapter entitled ‘American Interest in India’ by the American liberal activist and Unitarian minister Dr Jabez Sunderland (1842- 1936). The chapter is from India in Bondage (1929), which, like Young India, was published in New York. Sunderland was elected vice president of the IHRL in 1918. Following the collapse of the IHRL and FFI in 1922, Sunderland again became active in the Pro-India Movement at the end of the decade, largely in response to Gandhi’s ongoing civil disobedience campaign. Sunderland’s India in Bondage argued for Indian Home Rule, written partly in response to Pennsylvania journalist Katherine’s Mayo’s explicitly pro-imperialist book Mother India (1927). This particular chapter explained why America held an interest in what was commonly perceived to be a local colonial issue for Britain. Here Sunderland focussed on economic factors; he suggested that Britain should relinquish its imperial control over India and enable Indians to enforce their own policy of free trade. He hoped this would reduce international tensions and provide opportunities for American businessmen.
To the consternation of the peace-loving Dutch public, the country was confronted in the 1970s with a home-grown terrorist movement that was directly rooted in the decolonization of Indonesia. Additionally, although the perpetrators of the violence had political goals, they were also at war with the Dutch collective refusal to remember decolonization. As such they were battling against widespread unremembering. Continue reading “A Moluccan Victory in a Dutch Court”→
Based on historical experiences, what economic opportunities might the Commonwealth of Nations offer a post-Brexit Britain?
As the UK seeks a new place in the global economy post-Brexit, the Commonwealth of Nations is often touted as a possible alternative. In a week in which Commonwealth leaders meet the Commonwealth Trade Conference, historians, policy makers and other experts meet to consider the potential of Commonwealth economic relations in historical perspective.
CHAIR: Dr Marc-William Palen, Lecturer, University of Exeter and Co-director, Global Economics and History Forum (History & Policy)
Tim Hewish, Director of Policy & Research, The Royal Commonwealth Society and Co-Founder, Commonwealth Exchange
Dr Surender Munjal, Director, James E. Lynch India and South Asia Business Centre, University of Leeds
Dr Andrew Dilley, Senior Lecturer, University of Aberdeen and Co-director, Global Economics and History Forum (History & Policy)
Where once China sought communist revolution, it now seeks global economic expansion. As a result, the African continent has been one of the major areas of Chinese foreign economic investment. Numerous studies of China’s Africa policy have appeared in recent years, a number of which accuse China of exploiting resource rich African states or behaving like an imperial power in the continent, most notably Peter Hitchens’s assertion that China is building a ‘slave empire’ in Africa .
These views on Chinese policy also reflect the changes in the perceptions of China in the Western mind. The crude stereotypes of the Yellow Peril that dominated Western culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries have given way to a fear that China will follow in the West’s imperial footsteps. In other words, the legacy of imperialism underpins today’s perceptions of China’s foreign policy as well as Chinese identity.
Chinese engagement in Africa illuminates the influence of the imperial experience. The initial form of Chinese policy in Africa came as ideological and military assistance to the various anti-colonial movements of the 1950s in their struggles against the once dominant European empires that had been ravaged by the Second World War. During this period of decolonisation, Beijing formed strong ties with a number of African nations that would become increasingly important to Chinese economic goals once the Cold War subsided. Should these goals be seen as neo-imperialism? Continue reading “China’s Neo-Imperialism in Africa: Perception or Reality?”→
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