Catalogue


Making empire : colonial encounters and the creation of imperial rule in nineteenth-century Africa /
Richard Price.
imprint
New York : Cambridge University Press, 2008.
description
xxix, 371 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN
9780521889681
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Cambridge University Press, 2008.
isbn
9780521889681
catalogue key
6682600
 
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-11-01:
Price's well-researched study examines how the encounter between the British and the Xhosa on South Africa's eastern Cape frontier in the first half of the 19th century served as the touchstone for Britain's imperial conquest of Africa later in the century. He focuses primarily on two groups--missionaries and imperial administrators--and analyzes how their views evolved during this period from an ambiguity about the morality of empire to a certainty regarding the power of empire as a progressive force. Price (Maryland) first documents the missionary experience, revealing how the failure to gain mass conversions among the Xhosa resulted in a cognitive reorganization. While missionaries first believed that civilization followed from conversion, they acquired the view that civilization must come first, even if that required the coercive intervention of the state. The culmination of this aggressive style of liberal imperialism took place during the governorship of George Grey in the 1850s. Grey, a strong advocate of cultural assimilation, cynically manipulated the disastrous Xhosa cattle-killing movement of 1856-57 and used it to break the power of the Xhosa chiefs. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. O. Gump University of San Diego
Reviews
Review Quotes
'In this vivid, arresting and very well-documented work, Richard Price offers an interpretation of a neglected episode in imperial history. As well as a specific locale and a remarkable cast of characters, he illumines aspects of empire that have applied far more generally: its frequent utopianism and fragility, and the disparity that always exists between metropolitan ideals and the violence and compromise of the frontier.' Linda Colley, Princeton University
'Making Empire is an enthralling study of the colonial encounter which probes and dissects a maze of stories and episodes generated by touchy dealings between Africans and Britain's military, missionary and other intrusive agents of empire. As a deft exploration of how the British grappled to make sense of it all, there is really nothing quite like it in the field. Combining meticulous scholarship, lucid writing and sharp judgement, this is an outstanding book.' Bill Nasson, University of Cape Town
'Many have sought to describe the forging of an imperial culture in nineteenth-century Britain. Richard Price's brilliant idea was to get out of England and look where the bodies are buried - on the brutal frontiers of expanding empire. His riveting account of interactions between missionaries, British officials and Xhosa chiefs in South Africa charts the process by which the Empire defined its new subject peoples, ignoring any evidence that stood in the way. Price offers an instructive, perceptive, sad riposte to those who look nostalgically back to a 'liberal empire' that never was.' Norman Etherington, University of Western Australia
'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 Supplement
"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
'Richard Price's Making Empire is a fine critical account of one key part of the global process of empire-building, in 19th-century Africa.' Stephen Howe, The Independent
"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
"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
'... masterful, and contributes 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
"...gives 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
'In this exceptionally rich and sensitive study, Richard Price examines the clash between the British and the Xhosa in nineteenth-century South Africa - a laboratory, he suggests, for the imperial conquest of Africa. He traces the sad retreat by British missionaries and officials from a liberal humanitarianism to a harsh racism and the shrewd resistance by Xhosa chiefs to the encroachments of empire. This book offers as insightful an analysis of the colonial encounter and as moving an assessment of its costs as any I have read in some time.' Dane Kennedy, George Washington University
"a most impressive book...a vivid and detailed account which brings out the drama in the story and combines skilful narrative with insightful analysis'." -Times Literary Supplement
"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
'...an innovative study of how imperial power operated in practice through an emerging missionary culture (itself reshaped by the experience) and a colonial voice. There is much in the book that teachers could use in the classroom especially the stories that Price uses to establish this case. This is a well written and cogently argued work that I thoroughly recommend.' The Historical Association
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2009
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Richard Price looks at what the British thought of the Xhosa and how they made sense of their politics and culture. He also studies how the British established and explained their dominion when it ran counter to the cultural values they believed themselves.
Description for Bookstore
The dramatic story of the construction of empire in Southern Africa in the nineteenth century. It 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 shaped by the encounter with the Xhosa.
Description for Bookstore
This 2008 book is the dramatic story of the construction of empire in Southern Africa in the nineteenth century. It 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 shaped by the encounter with the Xhosa.
Main Description
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 2008 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.
Main Description
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? 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.
Table of Contents
Preface: intentions and purposes
Encounters in empire
The making of missionary culture
Observation, engagement and optimism
Cultural encounters: the destabilization of missionary culture
Missionaries encounter the Chiefs
The closing of the missionary mind
Creating colonial knowledge
Meetings, ceremonies and display
Empire as democracy
Empire and liberalism
The destruction of the Xhosa Chiefs
The trials of the Chiefs
Postscript: endings and beginnings
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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