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Making Empire
Colonial Encounters and the Creation of Imperial Rule in Nineteenth-Century Africa

$55.99 (C)

textbook Award Winner
  • Date Published: November 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521718196

$ 55.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This is the dramatic story of the colonial encounter and the construction of empire in Southern Africa in the nineteenth century. What did the British make of the Xhosa and how did they make sense of their politics and culture? How did the British establish and then explain their dominion, especially when it ran counter to the cultural values they believed themselves to represent? In this book, Richard Price answers these questions by looking at the ways in which individual missionaries, officials and politicians interacted with the Xhosa. He describes how those encounters changed and shaped the culture of imperial rule in Southern Africa. He charts how an imperial regime developed both in the minds of the colonizers and in the everyday practice of power and how the British imperial presence was entangled in and shaped by the encounter with the Xhosa from the very moment of their first meeting.

    • Fascinating account of the colonial encounter between the British and the Xhosa
    • Sheds new light on the development of a culture of imperial rule in Southern Africa
    • Will appeal to scholars and students of modern British history, imperial history and colonial studies
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    • Awarded the 2009 Albion Prize by the North American Conference of British Studies for the 'Best Book on British Studies since 1800'

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This book is a brilliant entry point for anyone who wants to see how imperial rule in Africa was established… Characters leap out; their absurd antics are sometimes pure slapstick. But this is no Carry On Up the Cape. In the scale of suffering unleashed by this power struggle, it is more like Shakespearean tragedy. At times, the folly of man is overwhelming." -Joanna Lewis, Times Higher Education

    "Where this books shines is in demonstrating the intricate formation of colonial knowledge and the role of the colonized in its creation." -American Historical Review

    "a most impressive book...a vivid and detailed account which brings out the drama in the story and combines skillful narrative with insightful analysis'." -Times Literary Supplement

    "masterful, and contribute significantly to our understanding of the building of empire and imperial culture at its edges, and of the people inexorably caught up in the process." -Journal of African History

    " us easily the most 'human' account yet written of the formative years of British rule in South Africa."
    Victorian Studies, Martin J. Wiener, Rice University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521718196
    • length: 412 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 153 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.67kg
    • contains: 17 b/w illus. 5 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface: intentions and purposes
    1. Encounters in empire
    2. The making of missionary culture
    3. Observation, engagement and optimism
    4. Cultural encounters: the destabilization of missionary culture
    5. Missionaries encounter the Chiefs
    6. The closing of the missionary mind
    7. Creating colonial knowledge
    8. Meetings, ceremonies and display
    9. Empire as democracy
    10. Empire and liberalism
    11. The destruction of the Xhosa Chiefs
    12. The trials of the Chiefs
    13. Postscript: endings and beginnings.

  • Author

    Richard Price, University of Maryland, College Park
    Richard Price is Professor and Chair at the Department of History, University of Maryland, College Park. His previous publications include Labour in British Society 1780–1980 (1986) and British Society 1680–1880: Dynamism, Containment and Change (1999).


    • Awarded the 2009 Albion Prize by the North American Conference of British Studies for the 'Best Book on British Studies since 1800'

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