Colonial Encounters in a Time of Global Conflict, 1914–1918  book cover
1st Edition

Colonial Encounters in a Time of Global Conflict, 1914–1918

ISBN 9781138082106
Published September 29, 2021 by Routledge
338 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume gathers an international cast of scholars to examine the unprecedented range of colonial encounters during the First World War. More than four million men of color, and an even greater number of white Europeans and Americans, crisscrossed the globe. Others, in occupied areas, behind the warzone or in neutral countries, were nonetheless swept into the maelstrom. From local encounters in New Zealand, Britain and East Africa to army camps and hospitals in France and Mesopotamia, from cafes and clubs in Salonika and London, to anticolonial networks in Germany, the USA and the Dutch East Indies, this volume examines the actions and experiences of a varied company of soldiers, medics, writers, photographers, and revolutionaries to reconceptualize this conflict as a turning point in the history of global encounters. How did people interact across uneven intersections of nationality, race, gender, class, religion and language? How did encounters – direct and mediated, forced and unforced – shape issues from cross-racial intimacy and identity formation to anti-colonial networks, civil rights movements and visions of a post-war future? The twelve chapters delve into spaces and processes of encounter to explore how the conjoined realities of war, race and empire were experienced, recorded and instrumentalized.

Table of Contents

Colonial Encounters in a Time of Global Conflict: An Introduction

Santanu Das, Anna Maguire, and Daniel Steinbach

Part 1: Spaces: Camp, City, Colony

1. "A Pageant of Empire"?: Untangling Colonial Encounters in Military Camps

Anna Maguire

2. Urban Spaces of Cultural Encounters: The Greek City of Salonica in the First World War

Nicole Immig

3. The British Military Occupation of Jerusalem, 1917–1920: Soldiers as Tourists and Pilgrims

Mahon Murphy

4. Between Intimacy and Violence: Imperial Encounters in East Africa During the First World War

Daniel Steinbach

Part 2: Process: Experience, Commonalities and Politicisation

5. Precarious Encounters: South Asia, the War and Anti-Colonial Cosmopolitanism

Santanu Das

6. Songs of War and Dissent: Maori Anti-War Activism and Its Cultural Legacy

Rachel Gillett

7. Blues in the Trenches: John Jacob Niles’ Singing Soldiers

Michael Hammond

8. The YMCA and West Indian Pan-African Encounters During the First World War: The Drury Lane Club for "Coloured Sailors and Soldiers"

Richard Smith

Part 3: Instrumentality: Propaganda, Resistance and the Post-War World

9. African American Soldiers in a Black World: The Politics of Cultural Interaction

Jennifer Keene

10. Influencing the Muslim World: The British Propaganda Newspaper Al-Haqīqah

Sadia McEvoy

11. "Neutral Colonials" and the Global War: The Role of the Neutral Dutch East Indies and Indonesian Intellectuals in the German "Programme for Revolution"

Tessa Lobbes

12. Germany’s Global East: Worldmaking in The New Orient

Jennifer Jenkins

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Santanu Das is Professor of English and Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.

Anna Maguire is a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London.

Daniel Steinbach is a historian of European colonial history and teaches at the University of Copenhagen.


"This remarkable feat of scholarship reveals rich and important unknown histories of the First World War that will fundamentally enhance our understanding of the conflict and its imperial nature. At its heart, this book uncovers the significance of the myriad, often life-changing, diverse human encounters that the war generated and their historical legacy in contributing to global change. It is an outstanding achievement and essential reading."

Heather Jones, University College London, UK