New and Forthcoming Publications (25 September 2021)

Charles Reed's picture

H-Empire regularly shares recent publications relevant to the network's scope, content, and purpose ("the origin, development, working and decline of empires, rather broadly defined across academic disciplines and professional interests, chronological time periods, and geographical regions"). Members are encouraged to share their new and forthcoming publications (but are also welcome to share the work of others).

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Ozan Ozavci, Dangerous Gifts: Imperialism, Security, and Civil Wars in the Levant, 1798-1864 (Oxford University Press, 2021). 

From Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Egypt in 1798 to the foreign interventions in the ongoing civil wars in Syria, Yemen, and Libya today, global empires or the so-called Great Powers have long assumed the responsibility to bring security in the Middle East. The past two centuries have witnessed their numerous military occupations to 'liberate', 'secure' and 'educate' local populations. They staged first 'humanitarian' interventions in history and established hitherto unseen international and local security institutions. Consulting fresh primary sources collected from some thirty archives in the Middle East, Russia, the United States, and Western Europe, Dangerous Gifts revisits the late eighteenth and nineteenth century origins of these imperial security practices. It explicates how it all began. Why did Great Power interventions in the Ottoman Levant tend to result in further turmoil and civil wars? Why has the region been embroiled in a paradox--an ever-increasing demand despite the increasing supply of security--ever since? It embeds this highly pertinent genealogical history into an innovative and captivating narrative around the Eastern Question, emancipating the latter from the monopoly of Great Power politics, and foregrounding the experience of the Levantine actors. It explores the gradual yet still forceful opening up of the latter's economies to global free trade, the asymmetrical implementation of international law in their perspective, and the secondary importance attached to their threat perceptions in a world where political and economic decisions were ultimately made through the filter of global imperial interests.

Paul M.M. Doolan, Collective Memory and the Dutch East Indies: Unremembering Decolonization (Amsterdam University Press, 2021).

In this new book I examine the afterlife of decolonization in the collective memory of the Netherlands. I offer a new perspective on the cultural history of representing the decolonization of the Dutch East Indies between 1945 and 1995, and map out how a contested collective memory was shaped. Taking a transdisciplinary approach and applying several theoretical frames from literary studies, sociology, cultural anthropology and film theory, I reveal how mediated memories contributed to a process of what I call "unremembering." I analyse in detail a broad variety of sources, including novels, films, documentaries, radio interviews, memoirs and historical studies, to reveal how five decades of representing and remembering decolonization fed into an unremembering by which some key notions were silenced or ignored. I conclude that historians, or the historical guild, bear much responsibility for the unremembering of decolonization in Dutch collective memory.

Jeffrey Auerbach, “Before the Mandate: British Rule in Palestine, 1920–1922,” Israel Studies 26, no. 3 (2021): 5–23. 

This article argues that most of the contentious issues which flared up during Britain’s Mandate for Palestine, including Jewish immigration, ineffective policing, inadequate funding, ethno-religious violence, conflicting sympathies among British officials, and Arab displeasure over the Balfour Declaration, were already visible to Herbert Samuel, Winston Churchill and other British officials in the eighteen months before the Mandate officially began; in short, that the seeds of Britain’s administrative failure in Palestine had already taken root.

Paul Wood and Leon Wainwright, with Charles Harrison, eds.,  Art in Theory: The West in the World - An Anthology of Changing Ideas (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020).

A ground-breaking new anthology in the Art in Theory series, offering an examination of the changing relationships between the West and the wider world in the field of art and material culture.  Art in Theory: The West in the World is a ground-breaking anthology that comprehensively examines the relationship of Western art to the art and material culture of the wider world. Editors Paul Wood and Leon Wainwright have included over 370 texts, some of which appear in English for the first time.

The anthologized texts are presented in eight chronological parts, which are then subdivided into key themes appropriate to each historical era. The majority of the texts are representations of changing ideas about the cultures of the world by European artists and intellectuals, but increasingly, as the modern period develops, and especially as colonialism is challenged, a variety of dissenting voices begin to claim their space, and a counter narrative to western hegemony develops. Over half the book is devoted to 20th and 21st century materials, though the book’s unique selling point is the way it relates the modern globalization of art to much longer cultural histories.

Gareth Knapman, "Settler Colonialism and Usurping Malay Sovereignty in Singapore," Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (2021): 1-23. 

This article proposes that Singapore should be considered as a settler colony during its first years of settlement. The first Residents, William Farquhar, Thomas Stamford Raffles and John Crawfurd all attempted to build Singapore as a settler colony, similar to those in Australia and North America. The difference was, however, that they looked to attract Chinese, Malay and Indian settlers as well as Europeans. By viewing Singapore as a settler colony, this article reinterprets our understanding of who constitutes a settler within settler colonial frameworks. It concludes that settler colonialism was not directly about moving indigenous people off the land, but rather establishing a new system of sovereignty in which individuals (regardless of race) were allowed to own land and become settlers. Nevertheless, the actions of the settlers and the British authorities created violent tensions with the original Malay inhabitants that were only resolved by the transfer of sovereignty from Sultan Hussein to the East India Company.