Managers from the British World: A Global Approach to Sheep Farming Industry Labour Disciplines in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, 1837-1956
From the late nineteenth century onwards, enterprising men from Britain and the British Empire began arriving in Southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, in Argentina and Chile. Part of a wider process of Europeanisation and capitalist colonisation, these men managed an imported activity which deeply transformed this South American borderland region: the sheep farming industry. An important part of this process was the installation of labour regimes, where managers from the British world introduced new practices of disciplining the local workforce. However, as Nicolás Gómez Baeza argues in this blog post, this history of Patagonian local capitalisms was also one of British-global-imperial transfers of diverse capitalist and management knowledge and behaviours.
A cotton growing scheme in the British ruled Aden Protectorate, the Abyan Scheme was built on transfers of knowledge from across Britain’s shrinking empire that were truly global in scope. From the immense cotton fields in Sudan to the agricultural methods taught at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad, there was much more to the cotton grown at Abyan than met the eye. Equally, the Abyan Scheme was also not immune to the existential threat of Arab nationalism in the 1950s, as its cotton crops soon became embroiled in Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s criticisms of British imperialism. As William Harrop argues in this blog post, Abyan stands as an important case study of how global ideas of development, expertise and anti-colonialism interacted and became reshaped on a local scale.
Until 1979, Britain contended with an avowedly segregationist element in its population, with complex but significant legacies. Located on the fringes of ‘Greater Britain’ in Southern Africa, 250,000 ‘Britons’ in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) justified white-minority rule, and rebellion against the Crown, using transatlantic discourses of white nationalism which had a significant impact on discussions regarding race and identity in the British metropole. Through Rhodesia’s experience and the discourses white Rhodesian propagandists produced, we can grasp the manner in which imperial nostalgia was transformed into transnational white nationalism, a discourse that continues to haunt present debates. Unravelling this must be one of the key tasks of global historians today, argues Niels Boender.
Every Tuesday evening in August, Oxford-based orchestra Instruments of Time & Truth in collaboration with Warwick's Global History and Culture Centre and Early Modern and Eighteenth-Century Centre presents a digital series of performances and talks exploring the lives of musicians and their patrons in eighteenth-century London. The series will premiere on Youtube on 4 August at 7pm. This blog post features an historical essay accompanying the concert series by Professor Maxine Berg, detailing the rich musical culture of eighteenth-century London and Britain more generally and its historic links to empire, slavery, and changing global patterns of consumption.
The ‘transnational’ is an old theme in British imperial history, though continually reinventing itself in new interventions and guises. The two-day workshop Between and Beyond: Transnational Networks and the British Empire engaged with a number of important conceptual and historiographical questions in the field of British imperial history. What role does the British empire play in the facilitation of networks within, without and beyond its boundaries? Do we need to think of the networks of the British Empire following Tony Ballantyne’s metaphor of a “web”? Is the web of networks in the British Empire made of only main arteries or of “multiple filaments”? And what does ‘transnational’ bring to the field of imperial studies, particularly when posited with the ever-expanding category of the ‘global’? By Somak Biswas and Dr Guillemette Crouzet.