This pioneering 2006 volume addresses the question of how Britain's empire was lived through everyday practices - in church and chapel, by readers at home, as embodied in sexualities or forms of citizenship, as narrated in histories - from the eighteenth century to the present. Leading historians explore the imperial experience and legacy for those located, physically or imaginatively, 'at home,' from the impact of empire on constructions of womanhood, masculinity and class to its influence in shaping literature, sexuality, visual culture, consumption and history-writing. They assess how people thought imperially, not in the sense of political affiliations for or against empire, but simply assuming it was there, part of the given world that had made them who they were. They also show how empire became a contentious focus of attention at certain moments and in particular ways. This will be essential reading for scholars and students of modern Britain and its empire.
Catherine Hall is Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History at University College London. Her previous publications include, with Keith McClelland and Jane Rendall, Defining the Victorian Nation: Class, Race, Gender and the British Reform Act of 1867 (2000) and Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination 1830-1867 (2002). Sonya Rose is Emerita Professor of History, Sociology and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her recent publications include Which People's War? National Identity and Citizenship in Wartime Britain, 1939-45 (2003), and, as a co-editor with Kathleen Canning, Gender, Citizenship and Subjectivity (2004).
1. Introduction: being at home with the Empire Catherine Hall and Sonya Rose; 2. At home with history: Macaulay and the history of England Catherine Hall; 3. A homogeneous society? Britain's internal 'others', 1800-present Laura Tabili; 4. At home with Empire: the example of Ireland Christine Kinealy; 5. The condition of women, women's writing and the Empire in nineteenth-century Britain Jane Rendall; 6. Sexuality and Empire Philippa Levine; 7. Religion and Empire at home Susan Thorne; 8. Metropolitan desires and colonial connections: reflections on consumption and empire Joanna de Groot; 9. Imagining Empire: history, fantasy and literature Cora Kaplan; 10. New narratives of imperial politics in the nineteenth century Antoinette Burton; 11. Bringing the Empire home: women activists in imperial Britain, 1790s-1930s Clare Midgley; 12. Taking class notes on Empire James Epstein; 13. Citizenship and Empire 1867-1928 Keith McClelland and Sonya Rose; Select bibliography.