The Limits of Globalization

Marc-William Palen

Inimese_tegevusruumAfter last week’s post extolling the seemingly limitless avenues of historical inquiry offered through the study of globalization, it seems only fitting that I should now offer a somewhat contrary one on the limits of globalization.

Sycophantic proponents and adamant critics alike view globalization — the process of speeding up global integration via capital flows, markets, ideas, people, and technology — as an omnipresent and inexorable process. For devout acolytes from Richard Cobden to Thomas Friedman, it appears as a benign process that will one day make the world’s markets so interdependent that war itself will become anachronistic. For its harshest critics, and despite historical evidence and scholarship to the contrary, globalization remains an unstoppable force led by a secretive cabal of powerful multinational corporations hell-bent upon undermining national sovereignty in an endless search for profit. Continue reading “The Limits of Globalization”

Registration Open for ‘Postwar Decolonisation and Its Impact in Europe’, Exeter, December 2-3 2013

The Centre for Imperial and Global History is delighted to announce that registration is open for the fast-approaching ‘Postwar decolonizationregistryDecolonisation and its Impact in Europe’ Conference, to be held at the University of Exeter, December 2-3, 2013.

The unravelling of European empires was foundational to the making of the modern world. An old imperial order was swept away, and a new age of nation states rapidly replaced it. Whilst decolonisation played a fundamental role in the shaping of post-war world, its repercussions for Europe itself, and its legacies in a host of political, social and cultural spheres, are still relatively little examined.This conference will examine how the global dynamics of decolonisation had an impact not only on the ‘western core’ of the continent, but also in state socialist eastern Europe, and in southern Europe, which have been hitherto little considered in this light. Continue reading “Registration Open for ‘Postwar Decolonisation and Its Impact in Europe’, Exeter, December 2-3 2013”

Talking Empire: The Gallagher-Robinson Controversy

The Centre for Imperial and Global History is pleased to announce its new ‘Talking Empire’ podcast series. Hosted by Professor Richard Toye, Centre academics are developing a series of podcasts on controversies in global and imperial history, which are available to listen to for free on this page.

AfricaVictoriansWith this first installment, Centre Director Andrew Thompson discusses the longstanding debates surrounding the work of Jack Gallagher and Ronald Robinson. In their path-breaking 1953 Economic History Review article, ‘The Imperialism of Free Trade’, Gallagher and Robinson suggested that the so-called ‘New Imperialism’ of the late nineteenth century was not new at all. They argued instead that imperial historians had previously missed Britain’s informal imperial expansion following its adoption of free trade policies c. 1850. The authors expanded further upon their informal imperial findings with Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism (1961).

Listen to the three installments of Andrew Thompson discussing the controversial legacy of Gallagher and Robinson: Continue reading “Talking Empire: The Gallagher-Robinson Controversy”

Winston Churchill – Liberal Imperialist?

Richard Toye

JamesCHURCHILLandEmpireIn the introduction to his new book Churchill and Empire, Lawrence James refers to Winston Churchill’s ‘essentially liberal imperialism’. James does not really explain what he means by this, but his comment is intriguing. Previously, in a Daily Mail article, he decried the ‘hand-wringing and breast-beating’ of modern-day critics of Empire, or, as he describes them, the ‘tribunes of political correctness’. From this, one would not think that he is someone who would in general view ‘liberal’ as a term of praise; yet his use of it in this instance is clearly not intended as a criticism of Churchill. Rather, one deduces, he sees ‘liberal’ in this particular context as a synonym for ‘moderate’ or perhaps ‘humane’. If that is indeed what he means – in other words, that if Churchill was a liberal imperialist then his imperialism must have been benign – the equation is highly problematic. Continue reading “Winston Churchill – Liberal Imperialist?”

Coming Soon!

Welcome to the Imperial & Global Forum, the blog of the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the History Department, University of Exeter! Under the directorship of Professor Andrew Thompson, the Centre brings together the strong research expertise of the University’s eminent imperial historians. Continue reading “Coming Soon!”