Modern European Imperialism

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History 419/519, W 6-8:45pm, 246 Withers David Gilmartin

Spring 2016 Off.: 476 Withers

e-mail: Tel: 513-2243
Modern European Imperialism
This course will examine a number of the central issues in the modern history of European imperialism. We will begin with a survey of the spread of European world domination, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, examining the patterns and causes of European expansion. We will then look at the theories that have been offered to explain the new imperialism of the late 19th century, and the role of imperialism in European life and politics. The course will then turn to an examination of the structure, culture, and economics of European domination in the colonial world, particularly in Asia and Africa. The history of colonialism's demise in the nationalist revolts of the 20th century will conclude the course.
The course will be based on readings, lectures and discussions. There will be a take-home mid-term exam (due February 24), a final (April 29), and occasional short written assignments. There will be a final paper (10 pages) due from all those enrolled in HI419 due on Monday, April 25. This paper may assess the impact of colonialism on one country, or it may deal with another topic cleared by the instructor. Graduate students enrolled in HI 519 will instead be required to write a longer term paper (20 pages) on any subject relating to the course, due also on April 25. Undergraduates enrolled in HI 419 may, with my permission, write a longer paper (20 pages) as a substitute for both the final paper and the final exam.
Attendance: In a class that meets only once a week, regular attendance is critical. Excessive absences (more than one) may lead to a lowering of your grade.
Grading: For students in HI419, grades will be based on: mid-term, 20%; final, 20%; final paper, 40% (60% for a long paper substituting for the final as well); class participation and other short assignments, 20%. For students enrolled in HI519, grades will be based on: mid-term, 15%; final, 15%, final paper, 50%; class participation and other short assignments, 20%.

Honor Code: Remember that plagiarism, or copying without attribution, is a violation of the student honor code and the University's policy on academic integrity. If you are uncertain about what constitutes plagiarism or the nature of the policy, please talk to me. You should be familiar with the Code of Student Conduct (
Readings: The following paperbacks are available for purchase in the bookstore:
Robert B. Marks, The Origins of the Modern World

Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost: A Study of Greed, Terrorism and Heroism in Colonial Africa

E. M. Forster, A Passage to India

Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God

Zareer Masani, Indian Tales of the Raj

Other readings are either on electronic reserve (available through the library website), or are accessible through JSTOR as marked on the syllabus.

WEEK 1 (January 6) - Course Introduction
I. European Expansion and World History
WEEK 2 (January 13) - Imperialism as World History

READING: Robert B. Marks, The Origins of the Modern World (2002)

WEEK 3 (January 20) - The Nature of Empires in History

READING: Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History (2010), pp. 1-22; 149-84; 219-250; 287-329; 443-460 (chaps. 1, 6, 8, 10, 14)

II. The Old and the New Imperialism: Politics and Domination in the 19th Century
WEEK 4 (January 27) - The New Imperialism: Theoretical Approaches to Capitalism and Imperialism

READING: Tony Smith, The Pattern of Imperialism (1981), pp. 15-49

J. A. Hobson, “Imperialism: A Study,” and Joseph Schumpeter, “Imperialism as a Social Atavism,” excerpted in Harrison Wright, ed. The New Imperialism: Analysis of Late Nineteenth Century Expansion, pp. 5-44 (Hobson), 69-88 (Schumpeter).

John Gallagher and Ronald Robinson, “The Imperialism of Free Trade,” Economic History Review, 6, 1 (1953) pp. 1-15 [JSTOR]

Daniel R. Headrick, "The Tools of Imperialism: Technology and the Expansion of European Colonial Empires in the Nineteenth Century," Journal of Modern History, 51 (1979), pp. 231-263
WEEK 5 (February 3) - Imperialism in European Politics: Class, Nationalism and Imperialism in Germany and Britain

READING: Susan Thorne, “‘The Conversion of Englishmen and the Conversion of the World Inseparable’: Missionary Imperialism and the Language of Class in Early Industrial Britain,” in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler, eds. Tensions of Empire (1997), pp. 238-262

Hans-Ulrich Wehler, "Industrial Growth and Early German Imperialism," in Owen & Sutcliffe, Studies in the Theory of Imperialism, pp. 71-92

Richard N. Price, "Society, Status and Jingoism: The Social Roots of Lower Middle Class Patriotism, 1870-1900," in Geoffrey Crossick, ed., The Lower Middle Class in Britain, pp. 89-112

David Cannadine, Ornamentalism: How the British Saw their Empire (2001), pp. xiii-xxii, 3-24, 101-135

WEEK 6 (February 10) - Imperialism and Popular Culture: Science, Spectacle and Order

READING: Harriet Ritvo, “Exotic Captives” (chap. 5) and “The Thrill of the Chase’ (chap. 6) in The Animal Estate (1987), pp. 205-288

Stephen Jay Gould, “Measuring Heads: Paul Broca and the Heyday of Craniology” (chap. 3) in The Mismeasure of Man (1981), pp. 73-107

Jeffrey Richards, "Boy’s Own Empire: Feature Films and Imperialism in the 1930s," in John M. Mackenzie, ed., Imperialism and Popular Culture (1986), pp. 140-164

FILM: "Lives of a Bengal Lancer" (1935)
WEEK 7 (February 17) - Scandal and Morality: Imperialism and its Critics

READING: Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (1998)

III. The Structure, Economics and Culture of Colonial Control

WEEK 8 (February 24) – Colonial Administration and Rule

READING: E. M. Forster, A Passage to India (1924)

WEEK 9 (March 2) – Economy and Administration: Contradictions of Colonial State & Society

READING: Joel S. Migdal, Strong Societies and Weak States (1988), pp. 52-96

Emily Lynn Osborn, “‘Circle of Iron’: African Colonial Employees and the Interpretation of Colonial Rule in French West Africa,” Journal of African History (2003) pp. 29-50

Elizabeth Kolsky, Colonial Justice in British India: White Violence and the Rule of Law (2010), chapter 2, pp. 69-107

WEEK 10 (March 16) - The Transformation of Religion and Culture

READING: Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 163-85

Clifford Geertz, Islam Observed (1968), pp. 23-89

John Iliffe, "The Creation of Tribes," in A Modern History of Tanganyika (1979), pp. 318-341

Thomas Spear, “Neo-Traditionalism and the Limits of Invention in British Colonial Africa,” The Journal of African History (2003), pp. 3-27 [JSTOR]

WEEK 11 (March 23) - Colonial Culture: Resistance and Collaboration

READING: Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God (1967)

IV. Colonial Revolt and the Era of Decolonization

WEEK 12 (March 30) - Patterns of Organized Colonial Revolt

READING: Terence Ranger, "African Reactions to the Imposition of Colonial Rule in East and Central Africa," in Gann and Duignan, Colonialism in Africa, 1870-1960, vol. 1, pp. 293-324

C. A. Bayly, “Two Colonial Revolts: The Java War, 1825-1830, and the Indian ‘Mutiny,’ 1857-59,” in C. A. Bayly and Dirk Kolff, eds., Two Colonial Empires: Comparative Essays on the History of India and Indonesia in the 19th Century (1986) pp. 111-136

Chris Vaughan, “‘Demonstrating the Machine Guns’: Rebellion, Violence and State Formation in Early Colonial Darfur,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 42, no. 2 (March 2014) pp.286-307

WEEK 13 (April 6) – Nationalism and Decolonization

READING: Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History, pp. 369- 411 (chapter 12)

Michael Adas, “Contested Hegemony: The Great War and the Afro-Asian Assault on the Civilizing Mission,” Journal of World History, vol. 15, no. 1 (2004) 31-63

Zareer Masani, Indian Tales of the Raj

WEEK 14 (April 13) – Decolonization: Transition or Continuity?

READING: Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History, pp. 413-442 (chapter 13)

Tony Smith, Patterns of Imperialism, pp. 85-137

David Prohaska, “That Was Then, This Is Now: The Battle of

Algiers and After,” Radical History Review, 85 (Winter 2003) pp.133-149 (and view film, "The Battle of Algiers" (1966), on YouTube:
WEEK 15 (April 20) – The Legacies of Imperialism:

READING: Bernard Porter, “We Don’t Do Empire,” History Today (March 2005), pp. 31-33

George Steinmetz, “Return to Empire: The New U.S. Imperialism in Comparative Historical Perspective,” Sociological Theory, 23:4 (December 2005) pp. 339-367

Jeremy Prestholdt, “Superpower Osama: Symbolic Discourse in the Indian Ocean Region after the Cold War,” in Christopher Lee, ed., Making a World After Empire (2010), pp. 315-350

Final Exam: Friday, April 29: 6- 9 pm

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