Acheson and Empire offers a compelling reassessment of Dean Acheson's policies toward the former colonial world during his period as secretary of state from 1949 to 1953. John T. McNay argues that Acheson inherited through his own personal history a way of understanding the world that encouraged imperial-style international relationships. This worldview represented a well-developed belief system rooted in his Ulster Protestant heritage that remained consistent throughout his life.
By exploring relationships of the United States with Britain and countries formerly or then controlled by Britain, such as India, Ireland, Iran, and Egypt, McNay shows the significance of Acheson's beliefs. McNay argues that Acheson's support of existing imperial relationships was so steadfast that it often led other nations to perceive that the United States was nothing more than a front for British interests. He believes this approach to foreign policy damaged American relations with emerging countries and misled the British regarding possibilities of an Anglo-American partnership.
Acheson and Empire contends that the widely accepted view of Acheson as a foreign policy realist is misleading and that historians should acknowledge that his affinity for the British Empire went beyond his clothing and mannerisms. McNay maintains that the widely accepted view of Acheson as one of a group of "wise men" who shaped the Cold War world by basing their decisions on cold calculation of American interests should be reconsidered.
Drawing from extensive research in archival sources, including the Truman Library, the National Archives, the Public Record Office in London, and Acheson's personal papers at Yale, Acheson and Empire offers a fresh look at Dean Acheson that runs counter to previous biographies and many histories of the Cold War.
Tropical Africa was one of the last regions of the world to experience formal European colonialism, a process that coincided with the advent of a range of new scientific specialties and research methods. Africa as a Living Laboratory is a far-reaching study of the thorny relationship between imperialism and the role of scientific expertise—environmental, medical, racial, and anthropological—in the colonization of British Africa.
A key source for Helen Tilley’s analysis is the African Research Survey, a project undertaken in the 1930s to explore how modern science was being applied to African problems. This project both embraced and recommended an interdisciplinary approach to research on Africa that, Tilley argues, underscored the heterogeneity of African environments and the interrelations among the problems being studied. While the aim of British colonialists was unquestionably to transform and modernize Africa, their efforts, Tilley contends, were often unexpectedly subverted by scientific concerns with the local and vernacular. Meticulously researched and gracefully argued, Africa as a Living Laboratory transforms our understanding of imperial history, colonial development, and the role science played in both.
When railroads connected the United States and Mexico in 1884 and overland travel between the two countries became easier and cheaper, Americans developed an intense curiosity about Mexico, its people, and its opportunities for business and pleasure. Indeed, so many Americans visited Mexico during the Porfiriato (the long dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, 1876–1911) that observers on both sides of the border called the hordes of tourists and business speculators a “foreign invasion,” an apt phrase for a historical moment when the United States was expanding its territory and influence.
Americans in the Treasure House examines travel to Mexico during the Porfiriato, concentrating on the role of travelers in shaping ideas of Mexico as a logical place for Americans to extend their economic and cultural influence in the hemisphere. Analyzing a wealth of evidence ranging from travelogues and literary representations to picture postcards and snapshots, Jason Ruiz demonstrates that American travelers constructed Mexico as a nation at the cusp of modernity, but one requiring foreign intervention to reach its full potential. He shows how they rationalized this supposed need for intervention in a variety of ways, including by representing Mexico as a nation that deviated too dramatically from American ideals of progress, whiteness, and sexual self-control to become a modern “sister republic” on its own. Most importantly, Ruiz relates the rapid rise in travel and travel discourse to complex questions about national identity, state power, and economic relations across the U.S.–Mexico border.
America’s Vietnam challenges the prevailing genealogy of Vietnam’s emergence in the American imagination—one that presupposes the Vietnam War as the starting point of meaningful Vietnamese-U.S. political and cultural involvements. Examining literature from as early as the 1820s, Marguerite Nguyen takes a comparative, long historical approach to interpreting constructions of Vietnam in American literature. She analyzes works in various genres published in English and Vietnamese by Monique Truong and Michael Herr as well as lesser-known writers such as John White, Harry Hervey, and Võ Phiến. The book’s cross-cultural prism spans Paris, Saigon, New York, and multiple oceans, and its departure from Cold War frames reveals rich cross-period connections.
America’s Vietnam recounts a mostly unexamined story of Southeast Asia’s lasting and varied influence on U.S. aesthetic and political concerns. Tracking Vietnam’s transition from an emergent nation in the nineteenth century to a French colony to a Vietnamese-American war zone, Nguyen demonstrates that how authors represent Vietnam is deeply entwined with the United States’ shifting role in the world. As America’s longstanding presence in Vietnam evolves, the literature it generates significantly revises our perceptions of war, race, and empire over time.
The United States has always imagined that its identity as a nation is insulated from violent interventions abroad, as if a line between domestic and foreign affairs could be neatly drawn. Yet this book argues that such a distinction, so obviously impracticable in our own global era, has been illusory at least since the war with Mexico in the mid-nineteenth century and the later wars against Spain, Cuba, and the Philippines. In this book, Amy Kaplan shows how U.S. imperialism--from "Manifest Destiny" to the "American Century"--has profoundly shaped key elements of American culture at home, and how the struggle for power over foreign peoples and places has disrupted the quest for domestic order.The neatly ordered kitchen in Catherine Beecher's household manual may seem remote from the battlefields of Mexico in 1846, just as Mark Twain's Mississippi may seem distant from Honolulu in 1866, or W. E. B. Du Bois's reports of the East St. Louis Race Riot from the colonization of Africa in 1917. But, as this book reveals, such apparently disparate locations are cast into jarring proximity by imperial expansion. In literature, journalism, film, political speeches, and legal documents, Kaplan traces the undeniable connections between American efforts to quell anarchy abroad and the eruption of such anarchy at the heart of the empire.
Separating historical reality from myth, Daniel Castro provides a nuanced, revisionist assessment of the friar’s career, writings, and political activities. Castro argues that Las Casas was very much an imperialist. Intent on converting the Indians to Christianity, the religion of the colonizers, Las Casas simply offered the natives another face of empire: a paternalistic, ecclesiastical imperialism. Castro contends that while the friar was a skilled political manipulator, influential at what was arguably the world’s most powerful sixteenth-century imperial court, his advocacy on behalf of the natives had little impact on their lives. Analyzing Las Casas’s extensive writings, Castro points out that in his many years in the Americas, Las Casas spent very little time among the indigenous people he professed to love, and he made virtually no effort to learn their languages. He saw himself as an emissary from a superior culture with a divine mandate to impose a set of ideas and beliefs on the colonized. He differed from his compatriots primarily in his antipathy to violence as the means for achieving conversion.
While focusing on the expansion of the British Empire, The Scramble for Africa illuminates the intense nineteenth-century contest among European nations over Africa’s land, people, and resources. Highlighting the 1885 Berlin Conference in which Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, and Italy partitioned Africa among themselves, this collection follows British conflicts with other nations over different regions as well as its eventual challenge to Leopold of Belgium’s rule of the Congo. The reports, speeches, treatises, proclamations, letters, and cartoons assembled here include works by Henry M. Stanley, David Livingstone, Joseph Conrad, G. W. F. Hegel, Winston Churchill, Charles Darwin, and Arthur Conan Doyle. A number of pieces highlight the proliferation of companies chartered to pursue Africa’s gold, diamonds, and oil—particularly Cecil J. Rhodes’s British South Africa Company and Frederick Lugard’s Royal Niger Company. Other documents describe debacles on the continent—such as the defeat of General Gordon in Khartoum and the Anglo-Boer War—and the criticism of imperial maneuvers by proto-human rights activists including George Washington Williams, Mark Twain, Olive Schreiner, and E.D. Morel.
Tracing the beginnings of the British colonial enterprise in South Asia and the Middle East, From the Company to the Canal brings together key texts from the era of the privately owned British East India Company through the crises that led to the company’s takeover by the Crown in 1858. It ends with the momentous opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Government proclamations, military reports, and newspaper articles are included here alongside pieces by Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Benjamin Disraeli, and many others. A number of documents chronicle arguments between mercantilists and free trade advocates over the competing interests of the nation and the East India Company. Others provide accounts of imperial crises—including the trial of Warren Hastings, the Indian Rebellion (Sepoy Mutiny), and the Arabi Uprising—that highlight the human, political, and economic costs of imperial domination and control.
More than a decade ago, before globalization became a buzzword, Yves Dezalay and Bryant G. Garth established themselves as leading analysts of how that process has shaped the legal profession. Drawing upon the insights of Pierre Bourdieu, Asian Legal Revivals explores the increasing importance of the positions of the law and lawyers in South and Southeast Asia.
Dezalay and Garth argue that the current situation in many Asian countries can only be fully understood by looking to their differing colonial experiences—and in considering how those experiences have laid the foundation for those societies’ legal profession today. Deftly tracing the transformation of the relationship between law and state into different colonial settings, the authors show how nationalist legal elites in countries such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea came to wield political power as agents in the move toward national independence. Including fieldwork from over 350 interviews, Asian Legal Revivals illuminates the more recent past and present of these legally changing nations and explains the profession’s recent revival of influence, as spurred on by American geopolitical and legal interests.
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