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Race, Empire and First World War Writing

Santanu Das, Paul J. Bailey, Kimloan Hill, Michelle Moyd, Joe Lunn, Christian Koller, Dominiek Dendooven, Alison S. Fell, Heather Jones, Christopher Pugsley, Peter Stanley, Jock Phillips, Keith Jeffery, Richard Smith, Mark Whalan, Michèle Barrett
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  • Date Published: April 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107664494


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About the Authors
  • This volume brings together an international cast of scholars from a variety of fields to examine the racial and colonial aspects of the First World War, and show how issues of race and empire shaped its literature and culture. The global nature of the First World War is fast becoming the focus of intense enquiry. This book analyses European discourses about colonial participation and recovers the war experience of different racial, ethnic and national groups, including the Chinese, Vietnamese, Indians, Maori, West Africans and Jamaicans. It also investigates testimonial and literary writings, from war diaries and nursing memoirs to Irish, New Zealand and African American literature, and analyses processes of memory and commemoration in the former colonies and dominions. Drawing upon archival, literary and visual material, the book provides a compelling account of the conflict's reverberations in Europe and its empires and reclaims the multiracial dimensions of war memory.

    • The international and multiracial perspective of this book will appeal to readers who are increasingly uncomfortable with a Eurocentric view of the First World War
    • Issues such as race and wartime representation, interracial contact, and literary and cultural memory are analysed in an easy and accessible style
    • Brings together scholars from diverse fields such as history, literature, sociology, and colonial, war and gender studies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This new volume of essays provides a wonderfully comprehensive account of its subject … The result is a stunningly fresh perspective on an event which continues to open new dimensions of understanding just as it maintains its signal importance in modern history.' Vincent Sherry, Washington University, St Louis

    'Santanu Das has presented a collection of scholarly essays which powerfully re-centres the history of the Great War in its full imperial character … Here is a major contribution to the cultural history of the 1914–1918 war.' Jay Winter, Yale University

    'Engaging voices recovered from diaries, censored letters and oral histories resurrect the soldiers and workers whose experiences provide diverse narratives of 'The old lie: Dulce et decorum est/Pro patria mori'.' The Times Literary Supplement

    'Das's edited volume is an exemplary study of global First World War encounters that implicitly suggests how some of the 'new' new imperial historiography might continue to unfold … Das's volume is a seminal contribution to this.' History Workshop Journal

    'A compelling, scholarly, and highly nuanced portrayal of 'the combatants and non-combatants from the former colonies and dominions' … Das's insightful introduction expresses the exemplary degree of nuance evident in the volume's composition.' Journal of British Studies

    'A wide-ranging, accessible, powerful and highly nuanced study of the all too often marginalized racial and colonial aspects of the First World War. The volume's cast of international scholars has effectively decentred the hitherto Eurocentric 'Great War and Modern Memory'.' Textual Practice

    'The achievement of this wide-ranging and revelatory collection of essays is to bring these suppressed aspects of the First World War experience back into the light of day. … Together, the essays in Race, Empire and First World War Writing cast a vivid and long-overdue spotlight on the complex intersections between war, race, and the colonial experience.' Edmund G. C. King, Wasafiri

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107664494
    • length: 350 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Santanu Das
    Part I. Voices and Experiences:
    1. 'An army of workers': Chinese indentured labour in First World War France Paul J. Bailey
    2. Sacrifices, sex, race: Vietnamese experiences in the First World War Kimloan Hill
    3. Indians at home, Mesopotamia and France, 1914–18: towards an intimate history Santanu Das
    4. 'We don't want to die for nothing': Askari at war in German East Africa, 1914–18 Michelle Moyd
    5. France's legacy to Demba Mboup? A Senegalese Griot (and his descendants) remember his military service during the First World War Joe Lunn
    Part II. Perceptions and Proximities:
    6. Representing Otherness: African, Indian, and European soldiers' letters and memoirs Christian Koller
    7. Living apart together: Belgian civilians and non-European troops and workers in wartime Flanders Dominiek Dendooven
    8. Nursing the Other: the representation of colonial troops in French and British First World War nursing memoirs Alison S. Fell
    9. Imperial captivities: colonial prisoners of war in Germany and the Ottoman Empire, 1914–18 Heather Jones
    10. Images of Te Hokowhitu A Tu in the First World War Christopher Pugsley
    Part III. Nationalism, Memory and Literature:
    11. 'He was black, he was a white man, and a dinkum Aussie': race and empire in revisiting the Anzac legend Peter Stanley
    12. The quiet Western Front: the First World War and New Zealand memory Jock Phillips
    13. 'Writing out of opinions': Irish experience and the theatre of the First World War Keith Jeffery
    14. 'Heaven grant you strength to fight the battle for your race': nationalism, Pan-Africanism and the First World War in Jamaican memory Richard Smith
    15. Not only war: the First World War and African American literature Mark Whalan
    Afterword: death and the afterlife: Britain's colonies and dominions Michèle Barrett.

  • Editor

    Santanu Das, Queen Mary University of London
    Santanu Das is Senior Lecturer in English at Queen Mary, University of London and is author of Touch and Intimacy in First World War Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2006).


    Santanu Das, Paul J. Bailey, Kimloan Hill, Michelle Moyd, Joe Lunn, Christian Koller, Dominiek Dendooven, Alison S. Fell, Heather Jones, Christopher Pugsley, Peter Stanley, Jock Phillips, Keith Jeffery, Richard Smith, Mark Whalan, Michèle Barrett

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