This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Donald Trump and Calvin Coolidge.

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

With a special “sh*thole” edition, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Science Fiction and Imperial History – Call for Blog Posts

Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself …. Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done.

– Ray Bradbury

I don’t think humanity just replays history, but we are the same people our ancestors were, and our descendants are going to face a lot of the same situations we do. It’s instructive to imagine how they would react, with different technologies on different worlds.

– Kage Baker

This is the call for blog post submissions for an Imperial & Global Forum roundtable on science fiction and imperial history. We are looking for submissions exploring the ways in which the imperial and anti-colonial past manifests itself in, and intersects with, the classics (and the obscurities) of science fiction. After all, as Patricia Kerslake has recently argued, much can be gleaned by examining “one of the most important and revealing foundations of SF, that of the function and manipulation of political power, of empire and its abuses within the genre, and to explore the great houses of fiction built upon such an informative substructure.”[1]

  • Have some thoughts about sovereignty and cylons?
  • Slavery and colonialism among Octavia Butler’s Oankali?
  • Interested in the relationship between Belter patois and the formation of the Outer Planets Alliance?
  • The “civilizing mission” of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End?
  • British imperialism and H. G. Wells’s War of the Worlds?
  • Is time travel into Britain’s colonial past getting you feeling a bit wibbly wobbly, timey wimey?
  • What about the application of Marxist theories of imperialism to the interstellar world of The Expanse? Or perhaps anti-colonial theories and Avatar?
  • How does thinking about space—an often land- and water-less expanse—help us refine our definitions of formal and informal imperialism? Borderlands? Frontiers? Globalization?
  • What does a trade deal look like when it moves beyond the geographical boundaries of a single planet or even a single solar system?
  • Does the idea of a place with “final” frontiers push back against evolving notions of borders, and the people who crossed them?
  • In what ways does Star Wars’s Trade Federation or the Galactic Empire’s imperialism reflect that of modern empires?
  • How does possessing advanced technologies—sonic screwdrivers, Death Stars, protomolecules—change the state of power relations among colonized planets and rogue states?
  • Do universal human rights take on new meanings and implications when they are defended by Star Trek‘s Federation across a universe divvied up by rival empires?

Continue reading “Science Fiction and Imperial History – Call for Blog Posts”

Spring Term’s @ExeterCIGH Seminar Schedule


The schedule for the Spring term’s Centre for Imperial and Global History seminar series, organised by Dr Emily Bridger, is now available. As previously, the seminars will take place on Wednesdays from 4:30-6pm. The seminars will take place bi-weekly beginning in Week 2, with an extra seminar in Week 11. Mark your calendars!



24 January

Week 2

Amory B219

Dora Vargha (Exeter), ‘World health in a Cold War: a view from behind the Iron Curtain’

7 February

Week 4

Amory B219

 Richard Toye, (Exeter) ‘Churchill’s Great Game: rethinking the long-term origins of the Cold War’

21 February

Week 6

Amory B219

 Meg Kanazawa (PhD Candidate, Exeter), ‘The Ford Foundation’s AIDS Grantees, 1990 to 2001: Visions for India’s Transformation through the NGO Sector’

7 March

Week 8

Amory B219

Katie Natanal, (Exeter, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies) ‘Unruly affects: Tracing love and melancholia in Israeli settler colonialism’

21 March

Week 10

Amory B219

Rhian Keyse, (PhD Candidate, Exeter) ‘Forced Marriage in British colonial Africa: International, imperial, and local responses’

28 March

Week 11

Amory B219

* Note 5pm start

Emma Hunter (Edinburgh), ‘Nationhood and Nationalism in Sub-Saharan Africa’

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Zwarte Pietin 2. Image credit Gerard Stolk via Flickr.

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From forgetting and remembering war to a new documentary on the British Empire’s bloody legacy in India, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Some people got depressed by Churchill’s speeches

Churchill’s visiting Geneva, 1946. Foto: Photopress-Archiv (Keystone)

Richard Toye, the English historian and rhetoric expert, talks about the influence Winston Churchill’s speeches had at the time – and what kind of reaction they got.

Cross-posted from Tages-Anzeiger

How does the Brexit situation harp back to longings about the British Empire?
Certainly things seemed to have changed very abruptly, and I would put down a lot of what has happened to the pursuit of austerity policies since 2010, and the fact that people’s living standards have sort of frozen or gotten worse. That creates an opportunity for people to play out various sentiments. It’s probably worth saying that when people have these discourses about Britain becoming great again they may be talking in almost total ignorance of what happened at the time.

About the time during the war?
No, I’m trying to explain why opinion has changed in the last few years to become more sympathetic to Brexit and towards imperial nostalgia. It has to do with the policies of cutting public spending and public services that have taken place. Then the situation becomes ripe for people to exploit discontent by blaming immigrants. So you have the playing up of the glorious past. Continue reading “Some people got depressed by Churchill’s speeches”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Marc-William Palen 
History Department, University of Exeter

Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From safe spaces for colonial apologists to Britain’s second empire, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history.

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