Skip to content

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

The Imperial Security State
British Colonial Knowledge and Empire-Building in Asia

$33.99 (C)

Part of Critical Perspectives on Empire

  • Date Published: May 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107519572

$ 33.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The Imperial Security State explores an important but under-explored dimension of British imperialism – its information system and the close links between military knowledge and the maintenance of empire. James Hevia's innovative study focuses on route books and military reports produced by the British Indian Army military intelligence between 1880 and 1940. He shows that together these formed a renewable and authoritative archive that was used to train intelligence officers, to inform civilian policy makers and to provide vital information to commanders as they approached the battlefield. The strategic, geographical, political and ethnographical knowledge that was gathered not only framed imperial strategies towards colonised areas to the east but also produced the very object of intervention: Asia itself. Finally, the book addresses the long-term impact of the security regime, revealing how elements of British colonial knowledge have continued to influence contemporary tactics of counterinsurgency in twenty-first-century Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Innovative study of British military intelligence before World War One
    • Sheds new light on the close links between empire-building and intelligence
    • Reveals the long-term origins of contemporary counterinsurgency tactics
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This book is a groundbreaking study of the rise of the British imperial security regime in the 19th century. James L. Hevia’s mastery of rare military archives demystifies the trope of the Great Game and provides an extraordinarily detailed analysis of how the geopolitical boundaries of Asia were produced through a proliferation of route books, maps and statistics, and other apparati of imperial intelligence networks. His scrutiny of the imperial past makes the contemporary security-obsessed American empire supremely legible."
    Lydia H. Liu, author of The Clash of Empires

    "Clearly written, well researched, and persuasively argued, Hevia's latest book will engage a range of readers. Scholars of diplomatic history will find especially valuable Hevia's insights into the growth and development of military intelligence as the other major component of the developing European security regimes in Europe and in Asia. Historians of Asia will also gain much from his research, linking as it does south, central, and eastern Asia into the British imperial network of intelligence gathering and control."
    Michael H. Fisher, H-Diplo

    "… an elegant, thoughtful and often provocative analysis of how security imperatives dictated the collection, analysis, and dissemination of military information … The Imperial Security State makes a persuasive and passionate argument for the centrality of military intelligence in not only developing strategies to intervene in Asia but more significantly in defining what Asia actually meant then and now. It is a very compelling account, lucidly presented, solidly researched and theoretically sophisticated."
    Douglas M. Peers, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History


    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107519572
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The military revolution of the nineteenth century
    3. Imperial state formation, the professionalization of the army, and the making of experts
    4. Forming intelligence, making an archive
    5. Disciplining the space of Asia: triangulation and route books
    6. Regulating the facts of Asia: military reports and handbooks
    7. The uses of intelligence
    8. The effects of the imperial security regime in Asia and Great Britain
    9. Imperial security and the transformation of Asia

  • Author

    James Hevia, University of Chicago
    James Hevia is Professor of International History at the University of Chicago. His research interests have centred on European imperialism in Asia from the late eighteenth century onwards, and his previous publications include English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century China (2003).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.