Situating the 1857 Indian uprising within an imperial context, Jill C. Bender traces its ramifications across the four different colonial sites of Ireland, New Zealand, Jamaica, and southern Africa. Bender argues that the 1857 uprising shaped colonial Britons' perceptions of their own empire, revealing the possibilities of an integrated empire that could provide the resources to generate and 'justify' British power. In response to the uprising, Britons throughout the Empire debated colonial responsibility, methods of counter-insurrection, military recruiting practices, and colonial governance. Even after the rebellion had been suppressed, the violence of 1857 continued to have a lasting effect. The fears generated by the uprising transformed how the British understood their relationship with the 'colonized' and shaped their own expectations of themselves as 'colonizer'. Placing the 1857 Indian uprising within an imperial context reminds us that British power was neither natural nor inevitable, but had to be constructed.
Jill C. Bender is Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and a historian of modern Britain and the British Empire. She holds an M.A. in Culture and Colonialism from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a Ph.D. in History from Boston College. In 2010-11, Bender was a Smith Richardson Pre-Doctoral Fellow in International Security Studies at Yale University, Connecticut and in 2009, she was a Fulbright Scholar at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Bender has published a number of articles and book chapters on Ireland, India, and the British Empire.
1. Introduction; 2. A 'great body corporate': 1857 and the sinews of empire; 3. 'A mutiny is a very catching thing': fears of widespread resistance; 4. Defending an empire: 1857 and the Empire's 'martial races'; 5. Rebels, race, and violence: mid-Victorian colonial conflicts; 6. A legacy of violence; 7. Conclusion; Select bibliography; Index.