Thinking the Empire Whole
Professor Steven Pincus
Thomas E. Donnelly Professor of British History, University of Chicago
The history of the British Empire to 1784 has been hopelessly fractured. Each bit of the Empire is discussed separately, the binary relationship between proto-nations and the imperial metropole. This was not how folks in the seventeenth and eighteenth century experienced their world. They thought and wrote about their empire as a whole. This empire was shaped by institutions and riven by debates about how best to run an empire. While some innovative scholars have recently deployed the paradigm of “settler colonialism” to attempt to reconnect and compare similar phenomena, this paradigm is insufficient because it marginalizes the imperial state, narrows the range of political economic debate, and homogenizes both the settler and indigenous experience. By thinking the empire whole it is possible to reinterpret seminal moments like the imperial crisis of the 1760s–1780s.
Location: Archway 3, 5:30pm, Wednesday 15 August, 2018