1st Edition

Africans and Britons in the Age of Empires, 1660-1980

By Myles Osborne, Susan Kingsley Kent Copyright 2015
    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    Africans and Britons in the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 tells the stories of the intertwined lives of African and British peoples over more than three centuries. In seven chapters and an epilogue, Myles Osborne and Susan Kingsley Kent explore the characters that comprised the British presence in Africa: the slave traders and slaves, missionaries and explorers, imperialists and miners, farmers, settlers, lawyers, chiefs, prophets, intellectuals, politicians, and soldiers of all colors.

    The authors show that the oft-told narrative of a monolithic imperial power ruling inexorably over passive African victims no longer stands scrutiny; rather, at every turn, Africans and Britons interacted with one another in a complex set of relationships that involved as much cooperation and negotiation as resistance and force, whether during the era of the slave trade, the world wars, or the period of decolonization. The British presence provoked a wide range of responses, reactions, and transformations in various aspects of African life; but at the same time, the experience of empire in Africa – and its ultimate collapse – also compelled the British to view themselves and their empire in new ways.

    Written by an Africanist and a historian of imperial Britain and illustrated with maps and photographs, Africans and Britons in the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 provides a uniquely rich perspective for understanding both African and British history.

    List of figures. List of maps. Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. The Slave Trade, Abolition, and Beyond, 1600-1840s.  2. Missionaries, Merchants, and Explorers, 1840s-1880s.  3. The Scramble for Africa, 1870s-1900.  4.Violence, Negotiation, and the Establishment of British Administration, 1890s-1914.  5. Africans in the White Man’s Wars, 1914-1945.  6. The Road to Independence, 1945-1960.  7. Independence and Beyond, 1960s – 1970s.  8. The Legacy of Colonialism. Index


    Myles Osborne is Assistant Professor of African History at the University of Colorado Boulder. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2008, and is the author of Ethnicity and Empire in Kenya: Loyalty and Martial Race among the Kamba, c. 1800 to the Present (Cambridge, 2014). He also recently edited The Life and Times of General China: Mau Mau and the End of Empire in Kenya (Markus Wiener, 2015), and has published articles in a variety of journals including the Journal of African History.

    Susan Kingsley Kent is Professor of History at University of Colorado-Boulder. Her publications include Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914; Making Peace: The Reconstruction of Gender in Interwar Britain; Gender and Power in Britain, 1640-1990; Aftershocks: Politics and Trauma in Interwar Britain; The Women's War: Gender and Violence in Colonial Nigeria, 1929, with Misty Bastian and Marc Matera; Gender and History; and Queen Victoria: Gender, Empire, and the Gender of Empire.

    "Inspired by a course co-taught by a historian of Africa and a historian of the British Empire, Africans and Britons in the Age of Empires, 1660-1980, is a model teaching text. Its thematic and chronological chapters, its engaging narrative, and the careful attention to context and explanation will make this book a favorite in undergraduate courses. In addition, it breaks important ground as an "African" contribution to studies on the "new imperialism," which have brought colonizer and colonized into the same analytical framework in instructive ways, exploring how influences move in both directions and also across colonies or empires. In Africans and Britons in the Age of Empires, the authors vividly demonstrate how between 1660 and 1980 "people, ideas, conversations, and debates have traveled from Africa to Britain and from Britain to Africa."

    Emmanuel Akyeampong, Harvard University, USA

    "In this comprehensive account of Britain’s engagement with Africa, Kent and Osborne make three hundred years of history vivid with lively prose and a keen sense of the exemplary detail. Their vigorous narrative touches on familiar themes in imperial history without sacrificing attention to the role of African women and men in shaping the parameters of European domination. Continental in scope, Africans and Britons in the Age of Empires, 1660-1980 will challenge students of modern imperialism to think about the wide range of African responses to the phenomenon of western hegemony and to appreciate the importance of the long duree view for a proper diagnosis of global contemporary issues."

    Antoinette Burton, University of Illinois, USA