Conversations: Colonialism

The global wave of protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd reminds us that we live in times of continuing racial injustice. As a publisher, we believe that books are uniquely able to help inform public consciousness and understanding – so this summer we are posting a series of extracts from works that explore our society, share different perspectives and take lessons from the past.

This blog post focuses on ‘colonialism’, and you can find other ‘Conversations About Global Racial Injustice’ blogs posts here.

We hope that by turning to books, we can contribute towards vital conversations about social equity and a brighter future – you can find the Association of University Presses Statement on Equity and Anti-Racism here, and a statement from the President of Yale University on the killing of George Floyd here.

The first extract is the chapter The Warrior-Diplomat from Kate Fullagar’s The Warrior, the Voyager, and the Artist.  The extract looks at the life of the Cherokee Ostenaco, tracing his emergence as a warrior, his engagement with colonists through war and peace, and his eventual rejection of imperial politics during the American Revolution.

The second extract is the chapter Massacre from Kim A. Wagner’s Amritsar 1919.  The extract details the events of 13 April 1919 when General Dyer ordered his troops to open fire at the crowd at Jallianwalla Bagh.

The third extract is the chapter The Plan from Yasmin Khan’s The Great Partition. The extract covers the plan to partition the British Indian empire into two new nation states – India and Pakistan.

Related Reading

The Transported Men, Women and Children Who Built Britain’s Empire

Graham Seal

Drawing on firsthand accounts, letters, and official documents, Graham Seal uncovers the traumatic struggles of those shipped around the empire. He shows how the earliest large-scale kidnapping and transportation of children to the American colonies were quickly bolstered with shipments of the poor, criminal, and rebellious to different continents, including Australia.

The Bhutto Dynasty
The Struggle for Power in Pakistan

Owen Bennett-Jones

Drawing on original research and unpublished documents gathered over twenty years, Owen Bennett-Jones explores the turbulent existence of this extraordinary family, including their volatile relationship with British colonialists, the Pakistani armed forces, and the United States.

“A gripping and timely take on a family and a country – past, present and future.”—Mishal Husain, Broadcaster for BBC News

Visualizing Empire – Africa, Europe, and the Politics of Representation

Edited by Rebecca Peabody, Stephen Nelson and Dominic Thomas

Getty Publications

This volume examines how an official French visual culture normalized the country’s colonial project and exposed citizens and subjects alike to racialized ideas of life in the empire. Essays analyze aspects of colonialism through investigations into the art, popular literature, material culture, film, and exhibitions that represented, celebrated, or were created for France’s colonies across the seas.

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