© 2016

Anxieties, Fear and Panic in Colonial Settings

Empires on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

  • Harald Fischer-Tiné
  • Focuses on multiple different colonial empires in order to provide a greater scope

  • Sheds light on the growth of seemingly irrational anxieties about empire

  • Brings together contributions from leading scholars from aroung the world


Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Harald Fischer-Tiné, Christine Whyte
    Pages 1-23
  3. The Health of Body and Mind

  4. Imperial Panics and Discursive Responses

  5. Practical and Institutional Counter-measures

  6. ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Ignorance’

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 393-404

About this book


This book argues that the history of colonial empires has been shaped to a considerable extent by negative emotions such as anxiety, fear and embarrassment as well as by the regular occurrence of panics. The case studies it assembles examine the various ways in which panics and anxieties were generated in imperial situations and how they shook up the dynamics between seemingly all-powerful colonizers and the apparently defenceless colonized. Drawing from examples of the British, Dutch and German colonial experience, the volume sketches out some of the main areas (such as disease, native ‘savagery’ or sexual transgression) that generated panics or created anxieties in colonial settings and analyses the most common varieties of practical, discursive and epistemic strategies adopted by the colonisers to curb the perceived threats. 


colonies empire imperial colonialism panic cross-colonial

Editors and affiliations

  • Harald Fischer-Tiné
    • 1
  1. 1.ZurichSwitzerland

About the editors

Harald Fischer-Tiné is Professor of Modern Global History at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zürich), Switzerland. Previous to his appointment in Zurich he taught at Jacobs University, Bremen, Humboldt-University, Berlin and the University of Heidelberg. He has published extensively on South Asian colonial history, the history of the British Empire and global history. His most recent monograph is the biography of an Indian revolutionary in European exile: Shyamji Krishnavarma: Sanskrit, Sociology and Anti-Imperialism (2014)

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Anxieties, Fear and Panic in Colonial Settings
  • Book Subtitle Empires on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  • Editors Harald Fischer-Tiné
  • Series Title Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series
  • Series Abbreviated Title Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-45135-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-83220-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-45136-7
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 404
  • Number of Illustrations 4 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Modern History
    Imperialism and Colonialism
    Cultural History
    Social History
    History of the Middle East
  • Buy this book on publisher's site