Nick Pearce

Shadows of Empire

with Michael Kenny, Philip Murphy, Nick Pearce (pictured) and Sumita Mukherjee (chair)

FoI at Waterstones/
Wed 02 May 2018

Shadows of Empire

with Michael Kenny, Philip Murphy, Nick Pearce (pictured) and Sumita Mukherjee (chair)

Nick Pearce
Wed 02 May 2018,

The idea of a global alliance between Britain and its old commonwealth colonies has recently made a remarkable comeback in the context of Brexit. Based on the belief in a special bond between the English-speaking peoples of the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, it has been dubbed the ‘Anglosphere’ by its supporters and ‘Empire 2.0’ by its critics.

Philip Murphy (The Empire’s New Clothes) and Michael Kenny and Nick Pearce (co-authors of Shadows of Empire) trace the historical origins of this idea back to the late Victorian era. They show how it has been reworked, amended and reinvented by some of Britain’s leading politicians, from Churchill to Thatcher, and how it was revived to support the case for Brexit. They explain how the Commonwealth is organised, and look at what has held it together for so long. Why has it had such a troubled recent past, and is it realistic to imagine that its fortunes might be reversed? Can it ever escape from the shadow of the British empire to become an organisation based on shared values, rather than a shared history?

The event will be chaired by Sumita Mukherjee, senior lecturer in history at the University of Bristol.

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