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‘Civis Britannicus Sum’: forging an imperial citizenship

With territories so expansive that the sun genuinely never set on all of them at once (Gandhi suggested that God didn't trust the British in the dark), the British Empire at its peak encompassed extraordinary human, geographical, social and cultural diversity. Until 1962, it was also -- at least in theory, and as seen from London -- a single zone of free human movement. Here we will set the stage for closer scrutiny of migration in imperial settings by exploring the emergence and decline of 'imperial citizenship'.

Required Readings:

  • Marjory Harper and Stephen Constantine, Migration and Empire (Oxford: OUP, 2010), 'Introduction: The British Empire and Empire Migration, 1815-the 1960s', 1-10. NOTE: this very short and useful reading is only available via Short Loan, so please leave yourself time to read/copy it -- and if you happen to borrow the Library copy, please return it promptly for your peers. Thanks!
  • Irina Spector-Marks, '“The Indian’s Own Magna Carta”: Britishness and imperial citizenship in diasporic print culture, 1900–1914', Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, vol. 16 no. 3, 2015. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/cch.2015.0040
  • Laura Tabili, 'A Homogenous Society? Britain's Internal "Others"' in Catherine Hall and Sonya Rose, At Home with the Empire: Metropolitan Culture and the Imperial World (Cambridge: CUP, 2006), 53-76. E-book (and see the 'Introduction' to this volume for a useful sketch of the historiography!)

Discussion Questions:

  • 'Subject' or 'citizen', 'native' or 'national': were (all) imperial migrants also imperial citizens? Why or why not?
  • Who benefitted from the creation and implementation of 'imperial citizenship'? Did this change over time?

Background Readings:

Margaret Allen, '"Innocents Abroad’ and ‘Prohibited Immigrants': Australians in India and Indians in Australia 1890–1910', in Ann Curthoys and Marilyn Lake, eds, Connected Worlds: History in Transnational Perspective (ANU Press, 2005), 111–124. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jbkp3.11

Sunil S. Amrith, 'INDIANS OVERSEAS? GOVERNING TAMIL MIGRATION TO MALAYA 1870–1941', Past & Present, no. 208 (2010): 231-61. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40783318

Robert Bickers, ed., Settlers and Expatriates: Britons over the Seas (Oxford: OUP, 2010).

Elizabeth Buettner, Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India (Oxford: OUP, 2004).

Helen Callaway, Gender, Culture and Empire: Women in Colonial Nigeria (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1987).

Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005).

Fredrick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler, eds, Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley, CA: UC Press, 1997).

Daniel Gorman, Imperial Citizenship: Empireand the Question of Belonging (Manchester, MUP, 2007), esp. chapters 1 and 7.

Catherine Hall, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination, 1830-1867
(Oxford: OUP, 2002).

Catherine Hall and Sonya Rose, At Home with the Empire: Metropolitan Culture and the Imperial World (Cambridge: CUP, 2006). NB: The 'Introduction' to this volume offers a useful sketch of the historiography of (British) empire.

Randall Hansen, Citizenship and Immigration in Post-War Britain (Oxford: OUP, 2000).

Marjory Harper and Stephen Constantine, Migration and Empire (Oxford: OUP, 2010), esp. Chapter 6, 'Exile into Bondage'.

A.G. Hopkins, ‘Rethinking Decolonization’, Past and Present, 200 (2008) 211-247. (Useful for understanding Britain's graduale estrangement from the Dominions.)

Christian Joppke, Immigration and the Nation State: The United States, Germany and Great Britain (Oxford: OUP, 1999).

Krishnan Kumar, 'Empire, Nation and National Identities', in Andrew Thompson (ed.), Britain’s Experience of Empire in the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 298-329.

Lynn Hollen Lees, “Being British in Malaya, 1890-1940.” Journal of British Studies, vol. 48, no. 1, 2009, pp. 76–101. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25482963.

Michael Christopher Low, ‘Empire and the Hajj: Pilgrims, Plagues, and Pan-Islam under British Surveillance, 1865-1908 ‘, International Journal of Middle East Studies 40, no. 2 (2008): 269-90. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30069613.

Renisa Mawani, ‘Specters of Indigeneity in British-Indian Migration, 1914’, Law & Society Review 46, no. 2 (2012): 369-403. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23252280. Case study of Indian chartered migrant ship that traveled around Empire to reach Canada but whose imperial passengers were then excluded. Explores ‘indigeneity’ in imperial contexts.

Robert Miles, ‘Who Belongs?: The Meanings of British Nationality and Immigration Law’, Journal of Law and Society, 18 (1991), 279-286.

Robert Miles, ‘Nationality, Citizenship, and Migration to Britain, 1945-1951', Journal of Law and Society, 16 (1989), 426-442.

Radhika Viyas Mongia, ‘Race, Nationality, Mobility: A History of the Passport’, in Antoinette
Burton (ed.), After the Imperial Turn: Thinking With and Through the Nation (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 196-215.

Sonya Rose, Which People’s War? Identity and Citizenship in Wartime Britain, 1939–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

Anne S. Rush, Bonds of Empire: West Indians and Britishness from Victoria to Decolonization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)

Anne S. Rush, ‘Imperial Identity in Colonial Minds: Harold Moody and the League of Coloured Peoples, 1931–50’, Twentieth Century British History, 13(4) (2002): 356–83.

Mrinalini Sinha, “The Strange Death of an Imperial Ideal: The case of Civis Britannicus,” in Saurabh Dube, ed., Modern Makeovers: Handbook of Modernity in South Asia, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Bill Schwarz, The White Man’s World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Becky Taylor, 'Immigration, Statecraft and Public Health: The 1920 Aliens Order, Medical Examinations and the Limitations of the State in England', Social History of Medicine 29.3 (2016): 512-533 doi:10.1093/shm/hkv139 E journal.

Andrew Thompson with Meaghan Kowalsky, 'Social Life and Cultural Representation: Empire in the Public Imagination', in Andrew Thompson (ed.), Britain’s Experience of Empire in the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 251-297.

Wendy Webster, ‘The Empire Comes Home: Commonwealth Migration to Britain’ in Andrew Thompson (ed.), Britain’s Experience of Empire in the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 122-160

Wendy Webster, Englishness and Empire, 1939-1965 (Oxford: OUP, 2005).