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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography$
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Robin Winks

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205661.001.0001

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The Future of Imperial History

The Future of Imperial History

(p.653) 41 The Future of Imperial History
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography

Robin W. Winks

Oxford University Press

The study of the British Empire is embedded in an ever-changing culture, largely but not exclusively academic, and trends and expectations in the field naturally reflect the larger environment. There is no point in the historiography of the British Empire at which development differed in any sustained and significant way from general trends in the development of historical studies broadly, though of course specific lines of inquiry also reflected the more nation-, class- or time-specific cultures from which they came. Nationalism played the most important role in the selection of subjects for study. It can scarcely be surprising to find that the history of the British Empire reflects the changes in the years since the Second World War. In the 1960s, there was a notable trend towards embedding the history of the British Empire, and of the Commonwealth, into the comparative history of imperialism. In the future, writing about the history of the British Empire is likely to require more collaborative ventures. One would like to think that in time the concept of ‘Other’ will have only a historiographical utility.

Keywords:   British Empire, Imperial history, historiography, nationalism, Second World War, Commonwealth

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