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Empire and After
Englishness in Postcolonial Perspective
Edited by Graham MacPhee and Prem Poddar
218 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-320-6 $135.00/£99.00 hb Published (October 2007)
ISBN 978-1-84545-790-7 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (August 2010)
eISBN 978-0-85745-333-4 eBook
"This is an intellectually rigorous collection of essays investigating the nature of "Englishness" both within and beyond national borders… [It] offers a useful and timely intervention into analyses of the continuing significance of empire in understanding English/British identity and culture… the relationship of history to present circumstances, and the co-option of the "past" for political objectives, is a key theme… while several of its essays are grounded in the field of literature and contemporary culture, historians should not be tempted to overlook this important collection." · English Historical Review
"The coherence of the volume derives from – and it is, in some respects a remarkably coherent volume – an introduction that anticipates, indeed, proves the theoretical coordinates through which the individual essays form their analyses." · College Literature
"This excellent collection of essays addresses with great range and significant insight urgent questions that have long haunted and are again animating the relation of Englishness to Britishness, of nationalism to imperialism, of local cultural grammars to global political forms. In collecting the essays for the volume and in their own contributions to and introduction of it, the editors have done a superb job of reminding readers why the many paradoxes of "Englishness" are vital not only to the long history of the formal British empire but to the moment of flexible imperialism we currently inhabit. This is a timely and striking addition to the field." · Ian Baucom, Duke University.
The growing debate over British national identity, and the place of "Englishness" within it, raises crucial questions about multiculturalism, postimperial culture and identity, and the past and future histories of globalization. However, discussions of Englishness have too often been limited by insular conceptions of national literature, culture, and history, which serve to erase or marginalize the colonial and postcolonial locations in which British national identity has been articulated. This volume breaks new ground by drawing together a range of disciplinary approaches in order to resituate the relationship between British national identity and Englishness within a global framework. Ranging from the literature and history of empire to analyses of contemporary culture, postcolonial writing, political rhetoric, and postimperial memory after 9/11, this collection demonstrates that far from being parochial or self-involved, the question of Englishness offers an important avenue for thinking about the politics of national identity in our postcolonial and globalized world.
Graham MacPhee has taught at universities in Britain and the US and is currently Assistant Professor of English at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Architecture of the Visible: Technology and Urban Visual Culture (Continuum, 2002).
Prem Poddar is Associate Professor of English at Aarhus University. He is the author of Violent Civilities (Aarhus UP, 2003) and the co-editor of A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures in English (Edinburgh UP/ Columbia UP, 2005).