Black Experience and the Empire

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This work explores the lives of people of sub-Saharan Africa and their descendants, how they were shaped by empire, and how they in turn influenced the empire in everything from material goods to cultural style. The black experience varied greatly across space and over time. Accordingly, thirteen substantive essays and a scene-setting introduction range from West Africa in the sixteenth century, through the history of the slave trade and slavery down to the 1830s, to nineteenth- and twentieth-century participation of blacks in the empire as workers, soldiers, members of colonial elites, intellectuals, athletes, and musicians. No people were more uprooted and dislocated; or traveled more within the empire; or created more of a trans-imperial culture. In the crucible of the British empire, blacks invented cultural mixes that were precursors to our modern selves - hybrid, fluid, ambiguous, and constantly in motion.

The purpose of the five volumes of the Oxford History of the British Empire was to provide a comprehensive study of the Empire from its beginning to end, the meaning of British imperialism for the ruled as well as the rulers, and the significance of the British Empire as a theme in world history. The volumes in the Companion Series carry forward this purpose by exploring themes that were not possible to cover adequately in the main series, and to provide fresh interpretations of significant topics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a volume that speaks to some of the major historical forces of the past three centuries. Morgan and Howkins have managed a demanding task with great editorial skill. The end result is an important volume which embraces the best of historical originality and intellectual vigor." -- New West Indian Guide

"Fourteen authors--US, British, African, and Canadian--have come together to produce a truly outstanding contribution to scholarship that no one interested in the history of Africa and its people in the US, Britain, Canada,or the former British colonies in the Caribbean can afford not to read. Especially valuable is the way the authors analyze the best of the recent scholarship in relation to their topics, especially those relating to the history of slavery and its abolition. Essential."--CHOICE

The Black Experience is a volume which will be of primary importance for a wide range of historians, and not simply those interested in the historical experience of people of African descent. This is a volume that speaks to some of the major historical forces of the past three centuries. Morgan and Hawkins have managed a demanding task with great editorial skill. The end result is an important volume which embraces the best of historical originality and intellectual vigor. The editors' introduction is a model of clarity and precision, making sense of the mass of detail that follows and arguing for the coherence of the collection. It was clearly not an easy task, but they have carried it off with persuasive aplomb. --James Walvin, University of York

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Professor Wm Roger Louis
Kerr Professor of English History and Culture, University of Texas, Austin

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Table of Contents

Introduction, Sean Hawkins and Philip Morgan
1. West Africans and the Atlantic 1500-1800, David Northrup
2. Through a Looking Glass: Olaudah Equiano and African Experiences in the British Slave Trade, David Richardson
3. The Black Experience in the British Empire 1680-1810, Philip Morgan
4. From Slaves to Subjects: Envisioning an Empire without Slavery 1772-1834, Christopher L. Brown
5. From Slavery to Freedom: Blacks in the Nineteenth Century British West Indies, Gad Heuman
6. Cultural Encounters: Britain and Africa in the Nineteenth Century, T. C. McCaskie
7. The Betrayal of Creole Elites 1880-1920, Vivian Bickford-Smith
8. The British Empire and African Women in the Twentieth Century, Diana Jeater
9. African Participation in the British Empire, Timothy Parsons
10. African Workers and Imperial Designs, Frederick Cooper
11. The Black Experience in the British Caribbean in the Twentieth Century, Howard Johnson
12. The Black Experience in Twentieth Century Britain, Winston James
13. Language, Race, and the Legacies of the British Empire, Kwame Anthony Appiah

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