Gender Politics and Imperial Politics

Rethinking the Histories of Empire
  • Catherine Hall


There is an urgency in the current political conjuncture for historians of Britain and empire to rethink ways of writing imperial histories. For British historians the urgency comes from the difficult questions which face British society about the meanings now attached to the nation. What identities are possible as members of that imagined community? What ethnicities? What future is there for Britain as a multi-ethnic society?1 For centuries white British identities, both male and female, have been constructed through sets of assumptions about imperial power in relation to racialised others. Those white identities are now in crisis, and are no longer possible in the same forms. Britain no longer has an empire; she is no longer the first industrial nation and forms of national sovereignty have shifted given the transfer of power to Brussels. Furthermore, the empire has ‘come home’, in the shape of those decolonised peoples from the Caribbean, from Asia and from Africa who have made their homes in Britain and whose children have been confronted by the difficulties of being black and British.2


Black Woman Imperial Power Gender Order British Historian Imperial Politics 
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Copyright information

© Department of History, U.W.I., Mona, Jamaica 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Hall

There are no affiliations available

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