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Durham University History Society, Vol. 7 (2014)

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Durham University History Society

Journal 2014

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Volume Seven

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Editorial Board

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Siena Morrell

Editor in Chief

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Ellie de la Bedoyere

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Alayna Kenney

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Claire Oxlade

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Holly Rowe

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Sophie Tulley

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Geraint Thomas

!1


CONTENTS

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- 4 -

Editor’s Introduction

Siena Morrell

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- 5 -

Foreword: Presidential Address

Matthew Williams

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Part One: Subject Articles

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- 9 -

Was Louis IX a hindrance or a help to French kings in the late

Middle Ages?

Jack Hepworth

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- 20 -

How complicit were elites in the attacks against the Jews

during the Black Death?

Ellie de la Bedoyere

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- 34 -

Geography of internment and concepts of identity in

sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England

Stephanie Ballard

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- 48 -

How did British perceptions of sati evolve between 1757 and

its abolition in 1829?

Matt Hoser

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- 65 -

Is it accurate to describe Egyptians as ‘colonised colonisers’ in

the nineteenth century?

Will Vick

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- 78 -

Did Marx think of history as a historian or as a revolutionary?

Joshua Kaye

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- 90 -

Why were so many Victorians unsettled by evolutionary

theories?

Victoria Cacchione

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- 100 -

How was British Monarchism sustained throughout the

nineteenth century?

Hannah Fitzpatrick

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- 117 -

In what ways was geography imagined and constructed in the

late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries in relation to the

Balkans?

Naomi Warin

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- 128 -

To what extent are Black Power and Red Power the politics of

despair?

Jessica McDonald

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- 151 -

How important are clans to the conflict in Somalia?

Ismay Milford

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Part Two: Society Affairs

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- 163 -

About the DUHS Exec

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- 166 -

About the Contributors

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- 169 -

About the Editors

!3


Editor’s Introduction

— Siena Morrell

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The production of this Journal marks the end of another incredibly

successful year in the Durham University History Department. We

are privileged to have been awarded the number one spot in the

2015 Complete University Guide rankings, beating Oxford,

Cambridge and many others to the premier position. Of course,

this comes as no surprise to us students fortunate enough to be

educated at the most prestigious department in the country. Each

day, we are taught by experts in their field, exposed to pioneering

research, and surrounded by like-minded students. We are

ambitious, driven, dynamic and passionate; hopefully this Journal

provides a useful and engaging reflection of the outstanding calibre

of the work produced by our peers.

!

This year, the Executive Committee chose to launch the History

Society Journal Award, in recognition of a submission which

demonstrates originality in use and analysis of evidence, and clarity

of writing. The recipient of the 2014 Award is Jack Hepworth,

whose essay concerning Louis IX’s reign of France exhibits an

exceptional command of the relevant concepts and an excellent

communication of his ideas.

!

I have been especially fortunate to be part of such a friendly and

capable Executive Committee, without whom this year would have

been neither so productive nor entertaining; and special thanks

must go to my efficient Editorial Board. It has been a great privilege

to read and consider an unprecedented number of submissions over

the past months, but without the support and assistance of my team

of Editors, the Journal would not nearly be of such a high standard.

!

I leave the Journal in the capable hands of my successors, Jessica

and Sophie; I have great faith that your innovative ideas will raise

the ever-increasing standard of the Journal, and look forward to

seeing what you produce. Best of luck to you both.

June 2014, Durham

!4


Presidential Address

— Matt Williams, DUHS President 2013-14

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Fellow historians,

!

Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude for the support and

hard work of my executive team this academic year. Their great

energy and initiative has propelled the society to new heights of

popularity and success.

!

Our annual series of guest lectures was launched in spectacular

fashion by the ever-engaging Dr. Ben Dodds, in the appropriately

atmospheric setting of the medieval chapel of Durham Castle.

Thanks to the hard work of our Secretary James Callingham, the

lectures covered a variety of periods and topics, ranging from Early

Medieval historian Professor Peter Heather’s discussion of the

conversion of Constantine, to a talk on historical fiction by

Durham’s very own historian-come-historical novelist, Dr. John

Clay.

!

The annual society Hadrian’s Wall trip, organised by Vice-President

Greg Mazgajczyk, was a great success as ever despite the cold. The

trip, led by Dr. John Clay, visited Vindolanda, the Roman Army

Museum and of course the wall itself: the very edge of the ancient

empire. Greg has also been working to develop the society website

and our social media pages.

!

The highlight of Michaelmas term was being transported through

time for a five course Elizabethan banquet at Lumley Castle. As

baron for the evening I watched as our guests enjoyed the fantastic

entertainment while attempting to consume their meals equipped

only with a knife. Credit for this success must go to our brilliant

Social Secretaries Hannah White and Natalie Walsh who also

introduced new events, such as a Pirate Boat Party and a Christmas

Downton Cocktail evening. This year also saw the introduction of

the Robin Hood trip led by Dr. Ben Dodds in Epiphany term,

!5


which explored the sites, such as the beautiful Fountains Abbey,

associated with this infamous legend.

!

Special thanks must go to our Treasurer, Ivan Yuen, whose skill in

dealing with our various financial complexities and bureaucracy

enabled our events to succeed. Publicity and Sponsorship

Secretary, Holly Rowe, has been instrumental in promoting the

society and achieved our first ever career open day with our sponsor

Clifford Chance. Despite the inevitable train delays, the event was

an amazing insight for our members into a career in a global law

firm.

!

Finally, I would like to congratulate Siena Morrell and her editorial

team for their tireless work in the publication of this outstanding

journal. For the first time, we have also introduced a prize for the

best entry to recognise the quality of work contributed. Siena also

took responsibility for our highly successful ‘I Love History’ t-

shirts, which received unprecedented demand.

!

Being President of the Durham University History Society has been

a great privilege and an unforgettable experience. Above all, it has

been very rewarding to see the society grow, and become one of the

largest and most active academic societies, due to the many firsts

that we have introduced this year. I hope that this growth will

continue next year with the reintroduction of the society’s very own

academic conference and wish Hannah Fitzpatrick the very best of

luck as Conference Co-ordinator. I will continue to support the

society as Publicity and Sponsorship Secretary in the new exec and

look forward to introducing new initiatives. To conclude, I would

like to congratulate James as my successor and would again like to

thank my exec for a fantastic year.

!

June 2014, Durham

!

!6


!

Part One: Subject Articles

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!


Jack Hepworth

Was Louis IX a hindrance or a help to French kings in

the late Middle Ages?

— Jack Hepworth

!

The question of Louis IX’s legacy has divided historians of late

medieval France, reflecting the complex and divergent

consequences of Louis’s kingship for French monarchy and society

in the late Middle Ages. Historians such as Joseph Strayer and

William Chester Jordan have seen Louis IX’s kingship in positive

terms as a watershed in French history which defined the French

kingdom, consolidated the Capetian dynasty, and developed the

royal bureaucracy.

1

Scholars such as Colette Beaune and Elizabeth

Brown, by contrast, have seen Louis’s reign as problematic for his

successors, inhibiting the capacity of later kings to levy taxation and

manipulate fiscal policy.

2

As the historiography shows, Louis’s was a

mixed legacy, which served to both help and hinder his successors

in various ways.

!

In some respects, developments during Louis’s reign (1226-1270)

significantly aided later French monarchs. As far as territory was

concerned, this period witnessed important gains for the French

kingdom. Concluding the war with Aragon in 1258, the Treaty of

Corbeil ensured that the French crown secured its control of

Toulouse, thus enabling the crown to exert control over this

1

J. R. Strayer, ‘France: The Holy Land, The Chosen People, and

the Most Christian King’, in T. K. Rabb & J. E. Siegel (eds.), Action

and Conviction in Early Modern Europe: Essays in Memory of E. H.

Harbison (Princeton, 1969), p. 5; W. C. Jordan, Louis IX and the

Challenge of the Crusade: A Study in Rulership (Princeton, 1979), p.

217.

2

C. Beaune, The Birth of an Ideology: Myths and Symbols of Nation in

Late-Medieval France (Berkeley, 1991), p. 103; E. A. R. Brown, ‘The

Prince is Father of the King: The Character and Childhood of

Philip the Fair of France’, Mediaeval Studies, 49 (1987), p. 326.

!!9


Jack Hepworth

hitherto troublesome hotbed of heresy.

3

Meanwhile, Aragonese

claims to territories in France were reduced to the lordship of

Montpellier. Additionally, the peace with England, embodied in the

Treaty of Paris (1259), curtailed Henry III’s claims to Normandy,

Anjou, Maine, and Touraine. In establishing that the Plantagenets’

only entitlement to Aquitaine came as vassals of the French crown,

Louis secured implicit diplomatic superiority over the English

crown.

4

!

The treaties of Corbeil and Paris served to expand and entrench the

authority of the French crown in the south of the kingdom for the

long-term, too. Louis’s successor, Philip III, was able to build on his

father’s consolidation of the south by turning his attention to more

northerly provinces, bringing the counties of Champagne and Brief

into the royal domain.

5

Moreover, Louis’s treaties set in motion a

period of gradual French expansionism, with subsequent monarchs

overseeing the establishment of direct crown control over Poitou,

La Marche, Anjou, and Valois.

6

These regions provided, for French

monarchs from Philip IV to Philip VI, appanages of land which

could be dispensed as gifts of patronage: either to consolidate the

royal family’s wealth or to secure support from wealthy barons.

Indeed, by the start of the fourteenth century, Philip IV’s royal

lawyers contended that the king himself held all the territories of his

expanding kingdom by direct ownership.

7

French monarchical

3

R. Fawtier, The Capetian Kings of France: Monarchy and Nation,

987-1328 (Paris, 1958), p. 124.

4

Ibid., pp. 152-153.

5

D. Carpenter, ‘The Meetings of Kings Henry III and Louis IX’, in

M. Prestwich, R. Britnell & R. Frame (eds.), Thirteenth-Century

England: Proceedings of the Durham Conference 2003 (Woodbridge,

2005), p. 25.

6

M. Jones, ‘The Last Capetians and Early Valois Kings,

1314-1364’, in M. Jones (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History:

Volume VI, c.1300-c.1415 (Cambridge, 2000), p. 409.

7

C. T. Wood, ‘The Mise of Amiens and Saint Louis’s Theory of

Kingship’, French Historical Studies, 6 (1970), pp. 305-306.

!!10


Jack Hepworth

authority had retained its centralised emphasis whilst expanding

significantly under Louis IX, a far cry from the more modest royal

demesne of the early thirteenth century.

!

More significantly, the nature of French monarchy changed under

Louis, and the strength and reach of its administration developed

immeasurably. At the heart of crown-controlled bureaucracy was

Louis’s Great Ordinance (1254). The ordinance sought to eliminate

corruption in local government, obliging all crown officials to swear

an oath to uphold citizens’ civic rights. Transgressors of Louis’s

code of conduct were liable to face prosecution in the king’s court,

8

or spiritual sanctions, since many of the appointed enquêteurs were

mendicant friars and clerics.

9

The ordinance heralded a significant

increase in the scale of crown influence and adjudication in local

government.

!

The expanding scope of royal government was reflected by the

formation of local feudal councils, complete with urban

representatives, in the 1250s.

10

These councils strengthened the

crown’s hand in the provinces against any potential threats of

rebellion. In the seneschalsies of Beaucaire, Carcassonne, and

Nîmes, for example, edicts were introduced (1254) to establish

councils charged solely with the management of grain supplies.

11

The councils could thus pre-empt food shortages, and thereby

manage any potential flashpoint provoked by economic hardships

in the localities.

!

The monarchy itself came, after Louis’s reforms, to take an

increasingly active role in the machinations of government. From

primary documents, Strayer has estimated that over one-third of

8

M. W. Labarge, Saint Louis: The Life of Louis IX of France (London,

1968), p. 187.

9

G. Small, Late Medieval France (Basingstoke, 2009), p. 13.

10

J. Le Goff, Saint Louis (Notre Dame, 2009), pp. 534-538.

11

Ibid., p. 544.

!!11


Jack Hepworth

bureaucratic papers in the early fourteenth century were dealt with

by the king personally.

12

The Parlement de Paris, meanwhile, came to

fulfil both judicial and legislative capacities for the centralised

monarchy,

13

and the growing power of the French monarchy in this

period can be further attested to by the strict rules imposed by the

crown upon seneschals and bailiffs, who were barred from giving or

accepting ‘gifts’ of land or property.

!

Corrupt seneschals such as Peter of Athies, seneschal of Beaucaire,

1239-1241, were rooted out by enquêteurs for exploiting their

authority, and were swiftly removed from their positions.

14

Despotism among seneschals and bailiffs was emasculated, too,

with royal officials regularly moved from one locality to another to

prevent local seneschals building up bases of patronage and

acquiring excessive power in any one region. This royal initiative of

rotating its localised officers operated successfully into the

fourteenth century: no fewer than thirteen different officers served

as seneschal of Meaux, 1319-1342, for instance.

15

!

The success of the crown’s pro-active government in areas far from

the kingdom’s centre can be clearly seen in the military recruiting

drive launched by Philip V (1317). Philip was able to raise a

national military force after issuing ordinances which applied to the

entire realm,

16

an achievement emblematic of the successes

bequeathed to his successors by Louis IX’s reforms of government

and administration. In sum, the strength and scope of the French

monarchy can be seen to have grown through the policies and

reforms of Louis IX.

12

J. R. Strayer, ‘Philip the Fair: A Constitutional King’, American

Historical Review, 62 (1956), p. 24.

13

M. Keen, The Penguin History of Medieval Europe

(Harmondsworth, 1991), pp. 201-202.

14

Labarge, Saint Louis, p. 180.

15

Jones, ‘The Last Capetians and Early Valois Kings’, p. 409.

16

E. Hallam & J. Everard, Capetian France, 987-1328 (Harlow,

2001), p. 377.

!!12


!

Jack Hepworth

The corollary to this strengthening of the French monarchy was the

legitimacy given to the Capetian dynasty by Louis’s pious conduct

and posthumous canonisation (1297). Contemporary exempla

proclaimed Louis’s status as the ‘Most Christian King’ with

reference to his legendary acts of alms-giving, institutionalising

monarchical charity through the newly-created royal role of

aumônier (1260).

17

The saintly image of Louis was carried by

hagiographical portraits, not least in the work of Guillaume de

Chartres, whose story De vita et actibus told of the king’s miraculous

recovery of a lost Prayer Book during his incarceration on

crusade.

18

!

The image of Louis as a pious crusader held great currency in

contemporary France, as the controversy between Philip IV and

Pope Boniface VIII showed. Louis had retained his connections

with the crusader states long after returning home from the Levant

in 1254, funding garrisons for the protection of Christianity,

19

and

securing the allegiance of the French church in the process.

Decades later, in 1294, Cluny granted Philip IV additional tax

revenues during his struggle with the Pope because Philip, as a

direct descendant of Louis, was seen by the friars to be the “leader

of the cause of God… [a] fighter for all of Christendom.” Equally,

the lawyer Pierre Dubois made telling comment in his description

of the French church as one of “habitual devotion” led by “the

most Christian king.”

20

St Louis’s death on crusade in Tunis (1270)

had only served to embellish his pious reputation.

!

As Elizabeth Hallam and Martin Kauffmann have suggested,

Louis’s successors could invoke the saint’s name to legitimise their

17

Le Goff, Saint Louis, p. 530.

18

Beaune, Birth of an Ideology, p. 98.

19

W. C. Jordan, Europe in the High Middle Ages (London, 2002), p.

285.

20

Strayer, ‘France’, pp. 10-12.

!!13


Jack Hepworth

own rule.

21

Simply by association to Louis, successors to the

French throne could claim religious rectitude and a crucial upper

hand in political disputes with the papacy. Even in 1438, Charles

VII invoked the name of St Louis as a French symbol of piety in

legitimising his Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438),

22

aimed at

limiting the capacity for papal intervention in the affairs of the

French church. For Louis’s successors, then, the saint’s pious image

was especially useful and malleable in elevating the status of the

French church, and accentuating the prestige of the French

monarchy moreover.

!

As Beaune and Brown have argued, however, the reality of Louis

IX’s legacy was far more problematic for subsequent kings of

France than Strayer and Jordan might suggest. Just as Louis’s

successors could manipulate his legacy for their own ends, equally

nobles and clerics in France could reinvent Louis’s image to suit

the purposes of their own polemic. Pope Boniface opposed Philip

IV’s increase of clerical taxation on the grounds of historical

precedent: namely, that St Louis, with his reputation for cautious

taxation, would not have imposed such a levy.

23

Indeed, Philip

implicitly acknowledged the restricting influence of Louis’s legacy

by resorting to ‘hidden’ taxes instead, such as the salt tax, imposed

in 1314. Furthermore, the Norman Charter of Louis X (1316)

went further in harking back to Louis IX’s cautiousness in fiscal

matters, by affirming that “only the old taxes are to be collected, as

they used to be in the time of King Louis [IX].”

24

21

E. Hallam, ‘Philip the Fair and the Cult of St Louis’, in S. Mews

(ed.), Religion and National Identity: Papers Read at the Nineteenth

Summer Meeting and the Twentieth Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical

History Society (Oxford, 1982), p. 203; M. Kauffmann, ‘The Image

of St Louis’, in A. J. Duggan (ed.), Kings and Kingship in Medieval

Europe (London, 1993), p. 267.

22

Beaune, Birth of an Ideology, p. 121.

23

Fawtier, Capetian Kings of France, p. 37.

24

Norman Charter (1216) quoted in Kauffmann, ‘Image of St

Louis’, p. 268.

!!14


!

Jack Hepworth

The formation of the noble leagues (1314-1315) gives a clear

indication of the problems of Louis’s legacy for subsequent French

monarchs. Protesting against Philip IV’s frequent manipulations of

the currency in order to raise funds, the nobility called for a return

to the “good money of Louis IX.”

25

It might even be contended

that John II, in 1360, was politically obliged to introduce his

ordinance for ‘strong money’ by the demands of the nobility, who

craved a return to the sort of monetary stability that their elders

had enjoyed during Louis’s reign. The nobility, then, could adopt

the ‘cult of Louis’ in order to wrest concessions from the monarchy.

!

Louis IX himself had anticipated the political pressures that he

would bequeath to his successors. His ‘teachings’ of 1267 to his

son, the future Philip III, were incorporated into works such as

Joinville’s Life of St Louis (1308-1309). Louis’s lessons impressed

upon Philip the need for prudent taxation, ‘good’ government, and

fair justice, whilst Joinville alluded to the weight of Louis’s legacy

with his warning that those “who will not follow [Louis IX] in good

works… [will suffer] great dishonour.”

26

!

The fear of dishonour troubled Philip IV in a particularly

pronounced manner. His will of 1297 belied a troubled conscience:

Saint Louis’s grandson proposed full restitution for those who had

suffered through his devaluation of the currency.

27

The shadow of

Louis’s legacy did not end there, either: Louis X, in 1315, gave way

to pressure from the nobility by conceding the Charte aux Normands

to quell the protestations of Norman nobles, clerics, and

25

Jones, ‘The Last Capetians and Early Valois Kings’, pp. 416-417.

26

J. Joinville quoted in M. R. B. Shaw (trans.), Chronicles of the

Crusades (Harmondsworth, 1963), p. 351.

27

E. A. R. Brown, ‘Royal Salvation and the Needs of State in Late

Capetian France’, in W. C. Jordan, B. McNab & T. F. Ruiz (eds.),

Order and Innovation in the Middle Ages: Essays in Honor of Joseph R.

Strayer (Princeton, 1976), pp. 370-371.

!!15


Jack Hepworth

townsmen.

28

The nature of the charter, waiving taxes and

guaranteeing due course of law for protesters, had a distinctly

Louisian flavour.

!

As late as 1484, the deputies of the Estates-General dismissed the

possibility of levying a tax after the death of King Louis XI, since St

Louis would “only have collected taxes when it was absolutely

necessary.”

29

Over two hundred years after his death, the norms of

St Louis’s kingship remained the political barometer against which

the acceptability of French kings’ conduct was measured.

!

That Philip IV, no great warrior himself, felt compelled to erect a

statue commemorating his part in the Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle

(1304)

30

suggests that Philip felt his grandfather’s image weighing

heavily upon him. Louis’s successors had little option but to accept

the mantle of ‘most Christian king’ from Louis IX. The ‘cult of

Louis’ profoundly shaped and restricted the politics of subsequent

French kings.

!

Of course, as Strayer and Jordan have shown, Louis’s kingship and

cult did witness some important advances in monarchical

government whilst lending a gloss of legitimacy to the French

crown in the late Middle Ages. Strayer has, however, tended

towards a teleological perspective of Louis’s kingship marking the

dawn of the modern, bureaucratic state.

31

In truth, the legacies of

St Louis’s reign are far more complex and problematic than that.

!

As Beaune and Brown have contended, the cult of St Louis was a

flexible phenomenon in late-medieval France. Louis’s legacy could

be subverted by nobles for their own ends in late-medieval France,

often corroding the power of a monarchy whose conduct became

28

Jones, ‘The Last Capetians and Early Valois Kings’, pp. 398-399.

29

Beaune, Birth of an Ideology, p. 113.

30

Brown, ‘The Prince is Father of the King’, p. 286.

31

Strayer, ‘France’, p. 5.

!!16


Jack Hepworth

broadly restricted to certain Louisian codes. As such, by the late

fourteenth century the French crown ruled over a far greater

territory than it had done at Louis IX’s accession to the throne; but

St Louis’s cult ultimately served to impose severe restrictions on

monarchical conduct. Subsequent monarchs were measured against

the policies of ‘good King Louis’, whose legacies often hindered

French kings throughout the late Middle Ages.

!

!

!17


Jack Hepworth

Bibliography

!

Beaune, C., The Birth of an Ideology: Myths and Symbols of Nation in

Late-Medieval France (Berkeley, 1991).

!

Brown, E. A. R., ‘The Prince is Father of the King: The Character

and Childhood of Philip the Fair of France’, Mediaeval Studies,

49 (1987), pp. 282-334.

!

Brown, E. A. R., ‘Royal Salvation and the Needs of State in Late

Capetian France’, in Jordan, W. C., McNab, B. & Ruiz, T. F.

(eds.), Order and Innovation in the Middle Ages: Essays in Honor

of Joseph R. Strayer (Princeton, 1976), pp. 365-386.

!

Carpenter, D., ‘The Meetings of Kings Henry III and Louis IX’, in

Prestwich, M., Britnell, R. & Frame, R. (eds.), Thirteenth-

Century England: Proceedings of the Durham Conference 2003

(Woodbridge, 2005), pp. 1-30.

!

Fawtier, R., The Capetian Kings of France: Monarchy and Nation,

987-1328 (Paris, 1958).

!

!

Le Goff, J., Saint Louis (Notre Dame, 2009).

Hallam, E., ‘Philip the Fair and the Cult of St Louis’, in Mews, S.

(ed.), Religion and National Identity: Papers Read at the

Nineteenth Summer Meeting and the Twentieth Winter Meeting of

the Ecclesiastical History Society (Oxford, 1982), pp. 201-214.

!

!

Hallam, E. & Everard, J., Capetian France, 987-1328 (Harlow,

2001).

Jones, M., ‘The Last Capetians and Early Valois Kings, 1314-1364’,

in Jones, M. (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume

VI, c.1300-c.1415 (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 388-421.

!

!

!

Jordan, W. C., Louis IX and the Challenge of the Crusade: A Study in

Rulership (Princeton, 1979).

Jordan, W. C., Europe in the High Middle Ages (London, 2002).

!

!18


Jack Hepworth

Kauffmann, M., ‘The Image of St Louis’, in Duggan, A. J. (ed.),

Kings and Kingship in Medieval Europe (London, 1993), pp.

265-286.

!

!

!

!

Keen, M., The Penguin History of Medieval Europe (Harmondsworth,

1991).

Labarge, M. W., Saint Louis: The Life of Louis IX of France (London,

1968).

Shaw, M. R. B. (trans.), Chronicles of the Crusades (Harmondsworth,

1963).

Small, G., Late Medieval France (Basingstoke, 2009).

Strayer, J. R., ‘France: The Holy Land, The Chosen People, and the

Most Christian King’, in Rabb, T. K. & Siegel, J. E. (eds.),

Action and Conviction in Early Modern Europe: Essays in

Memory of E. H. Harbison (Princeton, 1969), pp. 3-16.

!

!

!

Strayer, J. R., ‘Philip the Fair: A Constitutional King’, American

Historical Review, 62 (1956), pp. 18-32.

Wood, C. T., ‘The Mise of Amiens and Saint Louis’s Theory of

Kingship’, French Historical Studies, 6 (1970), pp. 300-310.

!

!19


Ellie de la Bedoyere

How complicit were elites in the attacks against the Jews

during the Black Death?

— Ellie de la Bedoyere

!

Cohn recently redrew historians’ attention to the social character of

the instigators of the Jewish persecutions during the Black Death,

and in doing so split the scholarship in two. Cohn states that

“[there] were [no] reports of ‘the populares’ actually whipping up

anti-Jewish hysteria...or initiating the massacres...Instead, either

patrician elites or the nobility first circulated the rumours."

1

Cohn

directly challenges established assumptions about the mob’s role as

the “mob of murderers”

2

and the elites’ as “above the fray”

3

purported by historians such as Shirk, Girard, and Foa arguing that

these conclusions are “hypothetical, [and] often based on

unexamined assumptions."

4

This sharp divide between these

scholars, ruling that the elites were either ‘instigators’ or

‘protectors’, offers a warped view of the elites’ role in attacks

against the Jews. The premise of the question, in asking ‘how’,

rather than ‘were the elites at all’, complicit in the attacks against

the Jews, acknowledges the fact that the elites were involved in

these attacks; it is just a matter of determining to what extent they

were involved.

!

In reaching his conclusions, Cohn makes a number of “unexamined

assumptions” of his own.

5

The best example of this is Cohn’s use of

1

S. K. Cohn, ‘The Black Death and the burning of the Jews’, Past

and Present, 196 (2007), p. 20.

2

R. Girard, trans. Y. Freccero, The Scapegoat (London, 1986), p. 12.

3

Cohn, ‘The Black Death and the burning of the Jews’, p. 17.

4

Ibid., p. 4.

5

Ibid.

!!20


Ellie de la Bedoyere

the Strassburg letters, which form a large basis of his thesis.

1

Certainly, the letters are the best evidence of an elite-led conspiracy

against the Jews since their correspondence appears to be an

exclusively elite attempt to compile evidence against the Jews as

well poisoners, and thus justify their persecution across the region

surrounding Strassburg.

2

However, Cohn does not investigate what

might have preceded these responses or prompted an inquiry in the

first place, such as popular pressure, nor the possible underlying

agendas of these letters, such as appearing in control or defending

their actions. The likelihood that popular demand for Jewish

persecutions preceded official persecution of the Jews is reduced by

the timings of these letters. Conrad von Winterthur only wrote his

inquiry to his neighbours in the August of 1348, whilst the town of

Lausanne did not respond until November and others waited until

the beginning of 1349.

3

If the first known attack on Jews was in the

spring of 1348, then persecution was rife by the time of these

responses and is likely to have preceded officiated, ‘elite-led’

processes of accusation.

4

Moreover, something must have

prompted the officials of Strassburg to write to their neighbouring

cities, most likely responding to the “all sorts of rumours” that are

“flying about," as referred to by Cologne.

5

On the basis of Cohn’s

strongest evidence, it appears that elites were responding to attacks

against the Jews, rather than initiating the violence.

!

Instead, their incorporation of persecution into an administered

process was a way of maintaining control; rather than initiating

persecution, they were containing it. The city of Cologne certainly

1

The Strassburg letters extracted in R. Horrox, (ed.), The Black

Death (Manchester, 1994), pp. 210-220.

2

Ibid., pp. 210-11.

3

Letter from Lausanne to Strassburg extracted in Ibid., p. 211.

4

J. Aberth, From the Brink of Apocalypse: Confronting Famine, War,

Plague and Death in the Later Middle Ages (New York and London,

2001), p. 139.

5

Letter from Cologne to Strassburg extracted in Horrox, The Black

Death, p. 219.

!!21


Ellie de la Bedoyere

believed there was a pressing need for control, advising their

neighbours to “proceed sensibly and cautiously."

6

Although Cohn is

right in that Cologne’s fear of “whip[ping] up a popular revolt” by

leaving “the rage which the common people feel against the Jews...

[un]checked”

7

was still “hypothetical”

8

in this case, it was certainly

a reality for Lord Mayor, Peter Swarber, who was forced to burn his

Jews in “the face of the clamour of the mob."

9

Admittedly, in this

case, his noblemen had joined the general populace in their attack

of the Jews; however, as the chronicle states, his councillors were

first “terrified” into changing their stance after the councillor’s

palace was mobbed.

10

Considering that this mob rule took place in

Cologne’s neighbouring city of Basel, and in the same month

(January 1349) that Cologne responded to Strassburg, Cologne’s

fears should be taken more seriously by Cohn. Clearly, the impetus

for persecution originated from below.

!

Lehmann agrees that the elites were focused on control, but, like

Cohn, argues that they instigated the persecutions in order to gain

this control: “in attempting to explain the causes of the crisis, the

local authorities, both secular and ecclesiastical, pointed to the

Jewish minority as the scapegoat.”

11

Excluding the confessions

recorded in the Strassburg archives, only one elite, the canon of

Constance, directly and personally professes his anti-Semitism and

perpetuates the accusations against the Jews: “And blessed be God

who confounded the ungodly who were plotting the extinction of

6

Ibid., p. 220.

7

Ibid.

8

Cohn, ‘The Black Death and the burning of the Jews’, p. 20.

9

Mathias of Neuenburg extracted in Aberth, From the Brink of

Apocalypse, p. 151.

10

Ibid.

11

Hartmut Lehmann, ‘The Jewish Minority and the Christian

Majority in Early Modern Central Europe’ in R. Po-Chia Hsia and

H. Lehmann, eds., In and out of the ghetto: Jewish-Gentile relations in

late medieval and early modern Germany (Cambridge, 1955), p. 306.

!!22


Ellie de la Bedoyere

his church.”

12

However, even in this case, the canon is clearly

fuelled by religious hatred for the Jews and is not attempting to

control the populace by perpetuating rumours. Instead, elites

attempted to maintain control by emphasising individual sin and

divine retribution. For example, King Edward III wrote to his

bishops to ask them to admonish their parishioners for their sins,

fearing the “sinfulness and pride constantly increasing in the

people” and their lack of “fear and penitence."

13

Similarly, Pope

Clement VI was angered by the people’s scapegoating, “numerous

Christians are blaming the plague with which God provoked by

their sins, has afflicted the Christian people, on poisoning carried

out by the Jews.”

14

Whether Edward III is afraid of losing control or

of God’s future reprisals, it is clear that both authorities publicly

emphasised the importance of internal penitence and admonished

the populace’ search for external retribution.

!

Both accounts highlight the perils for authorities in encouraging

scapegoating over the Christian and individual responsibility for the

plague. By encouraging the people to blame external factors,

secular and ecclesiastical authorities were relinquishing control to

violence and hysteria. For example, the flagellants were violent

groups who played on the hysteria of the crowd, encouraging the

murder of Jews and self-flagellation.

15

The Church condemned this

movement, partly because it threatened the Church hierarchy,

causing the Pope to issue a papal bull against them in 1349.

16

Furthermore, secular authorities soon lost any toleration they once

had, banning them from their towns and cities because their

12

Heinrich Truchess von Diessenhoven, canon of Constance

extracted in Horrox, The Black Death, p. 208.

13

Edward III extracted in Horrox, The Black Death, p. 117.

14

Mandate of Clement VI concerning the Jews July 5 th 1348

extracted in Horrox, The Black Death, p. 221.

15

David Herlihy, The Black Death and the Transformation of the West

(Massachusetts, 1997), p. 68.

16

Anna Foa, The Jews of Europe after the Black Death (London,

2000), p. 15.

!!23


Ellie de la Bedoyere

infectious emotionalism provoked further violence and undermined

their control.

17

Authorities did not choose to endorse the

accusations of Jews, but resorted to it, capitulating to popular

demand.

!

Although Cohn misleadingly accuses the elites of instigating

accusations against the Jews, he is right to redress the part played

by elites. There is a general perception within the scholarship that

the elite were entirely removed from the “outbursts of mass

hysteria, spontaneous and uncontrollable mob violence."

18

Girard

purports that this violence was only permitted by an “extreme loss

of social order."

19

Shirk illustrates Girard and Foa’s impression of

events, painting a picture of the struggling protector, King Pedro

IV, failing in the face of this chaos to protect the Jews despite his

“best efforts."

20

These established impressions are drawn from

chronicles like that of Boccaccio, who encapsulates this idea of

authority against mob in his vivid account of the breakdown of

social order: “In the face of so much affliction and misery, all

respect for the laws of God and man had virtually broken

down...”

21

Although there certainly was a loss of order, as

evidenced by limited officials in Shirk’s case study of Aragon, and

attacks against the Jews were instigated by the mob (as already

discussed), this excessive emphasis on the loss of control and elites

as the protector misrepresents what became a cooperative

relationship between the elites and their peoples in attacks against

the Jews.

22

In fact, elites such as Pedro IV were the exception in the

same way that elites who instigated attacks on Jews were the

exception: there are only a few cases recorded in the chronicles of

17

Aberth, From the Brink of Apocalypse, p. 119.

18

Foa, The Jews of Europe after the Black Death, p. 13.

19

Girard, The Scapegoat, p. 12.

20

M. V. Shirk, ‘The Black Death in Aragon, 1348-1351’, Journal of

Medieval History, 7 (1981), p. 363.

21

Giovanni Boccaccio extracted in Horrox, The Black Death, p. 29.

22

Shirk, ‘The Black Death in Aragon, 1348-1351’, p. 360.

!!24


Ellie de la Bedoyere

elites actively taking a stance against popular demand to protect

their Jews. Even in the exceptional cases, like that of Pedro IV, they

were eventually forced to comply with popular demand and allow

the persecution of Jews. Consequently, no (secular) elite was

entirely removed from Girard’s “mob of murderers."

23

In this way,

the static definition of the mob as a law breaking, irrational,

unregulated mass is an illusion: to some extent, the mob was

controlled, regulated and rationalised, the inevitable by-product of

the elites’ complicity in the persecutions.

!

In complying with popular demand, the elites turned accusations of

well poisoning into a rational accusation and a legitimate reason to

persecute the Jews. There is a tendency amongst Black Death

scholars, such as Girard and Cohen, to dismiss attacks against the

Jews as “irrational fantasies”

24

or attribute them to the fact that

“public opinion was overexcited and ready to accept the most

absurd rumours.”

25

Girard developed this into a theory of society’s

need to place blame and find a ‘scapegoat’ resulting in a conscious

“blindness."

26

However, starting in Savoy in September 1348 and

spreading rapidly across Europe, the accusations and persecutions

of Jews were incorporated into an official process, and thus given

real legitimacy. Moreover, the nature of the confessions gave

structure and detail to the accusations, specifying the size and

nature of the physical evidence, “poison derived from a basilisk”

“about the size of the egg."

27

Alongside this, the confessions often

repeated each other: in both confessions of Savoy and Lausanne,

the truth of the confession is emphasised as the Jew held

23

Girard, The Scapegoat, p. 12.

24

M. R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages

(Princeton, 1994), p. 172.

25

Girard, The Scapegoat, p. 6.

26

Ibid., p. 2.

27

Letter from Savoy to Strassburg extracted in Horrox, The Black

Death, pp. 212-3.

!!25


Ellie de la Bedoyere

“unvaryingly”

28

to his story or “voluntarily and without torture

maintained the truth of his confession”

29

and repeat that these

interrogations were carried out by “due legal process”

30

and “under

our seals."

31

The detail, structure and repetition of these

confessions certainly made a convincing case for the guilt of the

Jews. Therefore, in taking ownership of accusing and persecuting

the Jews, the elites rationalised attacks against the Jews.

!

Even before complying with popular demand, the elites indirectly

guided violence towards the Jews by allowing human agency to be a

plausible explanation for the plague. Guy de Chauliac, Henry

Lamme and Megenberg, three learned men, all believed that the

plague was not spread by poisoners, but could not deny that

scientifically the accusations could be true.

32

Lamme wrote in the

fifteenth century, but even by this point, the power of the rumour

and the mystical nature of poison forces him to admit that it was a

scientifically plausible explanation for the plague.

33

This, combined

with convincing confessions elicited by elites, gave what would have

been seen as conclusive evidence for the culprits of the plague. On

top of this, the elites could not offer sufficient religious or scientific

explanations. Scientific explanations only offered preventative

measures rather than curative ones, by regulating life through the

six non-naturals, while the Church emphasised individual sin and

repentance.

34

In the same way the flagellants filled a niche that the

28

Letter from Lausanne to Strassburg extracted in Ibid., p. 211.

29

Letter from Savoy to Strassburg extracted in Ibid., p. 212.

30

Ibid., p. 213.

31

Letter from Lausanne to Strassburg extracted in Ibid., p. 211.

32

S. Guerchberg, ‘The controversy over the alleged sowers of the

Black Death in the contemporary treatises on plague’ in S. Thrupp,

ed., Change in medieval society: Europe north of the Alps, 1050-1500

(London, 1965), pp. 214-6.

33

Ibid.

34

J. Arrizabalaga, ‘Facing the Black Death: perceptions and

reactions of university medical practitioners’ in L. Garcia-Ballester

et al., eds., Practical medicine from Salerno in the Black Death, p. 273.

!!26


Ellie de la Bedoyere

Church failed to fill, Alfonso de Cordoba’s Epistola et regiment de

pestilentia offered a curative solution by murdering the wicked men

who caused the plague.

35

It is clear that elites did not only

underwrite attacks against the Jews, but they also facilitated them:

firstly by allowing accusations against Jews to be scientifically

plausible; secondly, by failing to offer official structures within

which to cope with the mortality.

!

There are certainly grounds within the chronicles for Cohen and

Girard’s impression of an irrational populace: King Pedro IV

describes the population as at “a fever pitch”

36

while the Takkanoth

of Barcelona does not even regard the accusation of well poisoning

as a cause for the “bad behaviour of the common people," instead

argues that Jews were blamed for the “sins of Jacob."

37

However,

Girard and Cohen’s impressions rely on those of elites, who either

like Pedro IV were dismissive and separate from the violent mob, or

who wished to separate themselves from the violent mob.

38

Similarly, the Jewish chronicle was written in 1354 perhaps when

poisoning accusations had largely faded or been dismissed to the

extent that religious hatred was seen as the underlying cause of

attacks on Jews.

39

Unfortunately there are no chronicles written by

the illiterate, making it impossible to ascertain the extent to which

the populace hunted the Jews on the basis of well poisoning.

Nevertheless, the pan-European nature of the movement, the

spread of these accusations and the fact that in Strassburg all

buckets of wells were hidden indicates that, rational or irrational,

the general populace certainly believed the Jews were poisoning

wells.

40

Moreover, there is no debating that the attacks were

35

Ibid., p. 286.

36

King Pedro IV of Aragon extracted in Aberth, From the Brink of

Apocalypse, p. 143.

37

Takkanoth of Barcelona extracted in Ibid., p. 145.

38

King Pedro IV of Aragon extracted in Ibid., p. 142.

39

Takkanoth of Barcelona extracted in Ibid., p. 145.

40

Mathias of Neuenburg extracted in Ibid., p. 152.

!!27


Ellie de la Bedoyere

“fever[ed]”

41

and mob led; it was only that the elites had

substantiated and rationalised this fever which drove the attacks.

!

It is quite clear that even in 1350, well poisoning was not an

‘irrational’ belief, but legitimate and apparently evidenced. This is

well demonstrated by the account of Konrad of Megenberg, who

according to Aberth, was “perhaps the most balanced and rational

medieval author to comment on the pogroms," and yet is forced to

tackle the accusations against the Jews seriously.

42

Rather than

dismiss the accusations against the Jews as “absurd," Konrad

tentatively suggests that the accusations “cannot be totally and

sufficiently maintained” and gives his rationale for this inclusion.

43

He appears compelled to adjust his tone to his readership,

qualifying his reasoning by occasionally backtracking “although the

Jewish people are justly detected by us Christians...” and remarking

after his argument “with all due respect to whoever is expressing

it."

44

His tentativeness is important. It illustrates that, even when he

was writing in 1350, the majority of the population accepted the

Jews as a plausible cause for the great mortality. Moreover, his

references to the ‘fact’ that Jews were “justly” accused and finding

of physical evidence, “many sacks," directly links to the official

details of the accusations and the process by which they were justly

accused.

45

Megenberg asserts that the elites made the accusations

against the Jews long lasting and hard to refute even in 1350, thus

significantly perpetuating attacks.

These confessions served to perpetuate the spread of persecution in

two other ways. Ginzburg emphasises that confession allowed the

accusations to rapidly spread across Europe by offering elites a

41

King Pedro IV of Aragon extracted in Ibid., p. 142.

42

Aberth, From the Brink of Apocalypse, p. 155.

43

Konrad of Megenberg ‘Concerning the mortality in Germany’

extracted in Ibid., p. 157.

44

Ibid.

45

Ibid., pp. 156-8.

!!28


Ellie de la Bedoyere

model of official persecution on which to draw upon.

46

Firstly, for

example, Amadeus VI of Savoy purchased a copy of the trial records

in Dauphine for one gold florin after a mob in his precinct had

killed its Jews and, on the 10th of August, replicated this

investigation.

47Ginzburg fails to draw out the significance of this:

these confessions clearly served a wider purpose than merely

legitimising persecution in the eyes of the mob; they also

legitimised it in the eyes of the elites. This is not to say that these

elites necessarily believed these rumours, but Amadeus VI was given

the tool with which to incorporate mob violence within a legal

framework and thus gain control of an unavoidable situation, the

persecution of the Jews. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly,

these confessions either created or endorsed the possibility of wider

conspiracies and the need for collective punishment. The Jew

interrogated in Savoy apparently confessed to knowing that the

instructions for poisoning which he had received had been

replicated in “many others to various places, a long way away, but

he does not know to whom they were addressed."

48

Not only does

this suggest a wider conspiracy that is organised from above and is

compromised of “many," but also whose culprits and next victims

are completely unknown. Therefore, in seeking to control mob

fears, they both served to rationalise fears by providing evidence

and further irrationalise fears by creating more imaginary, unknown

terrors. The elites do not just officialise attacks against the Jews, but

widen the targets and spread of these attacks.

!

It is necessary to look beyond the Black Death to realise the elites’

wider complicity in the initial identification of Jews as the victims of

attack. In this case, the elites were not merely complicit, but entirely

responsible for dividing Jews from the cultural mainstream and

46

C. Ginzburg, Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath (London,

1990), p. 67.

47

Ibid.

48

Letter from Savoy to Strassburg extracted in Horrox, The Black

Death, p. 212.

!!29


Ellie de la Bedoyere

making them the obvious target for such attacks.

49

Foa argues that

attacks against the Jews were an expression of “the centuries-old

attempt to define the role of the Jewish presence in Christian

society” that was only catalysed by the Black Death, rather than

created.

50

Girard disagrees, arguing that “an extreme loss of social

order," or in other words, the circumstances created by the Black

Death, was the defining reason for attacks against the Jews.

51

Actually, as Foa alludes to, it is that very order which was

responsible for identifying the Jews as the outsider and vulnerable

target in the first place. These relationships regularly fluctuated,

representing the competition between the paradoxical elements

within their respective relationships with Jews. Whilst ecclesiastical

elites balanced their desire to protect Christians from the

corrupting influence of Jews with the need to ensure the survival of

Jews to fulfil the biblical prophecy about Jesus’ return, the secular

elites balanced their economic need for Jews with a mixture of

religious hatred and indifference.

52

Consequently the Jews, except

for in certain circumstances, could not rely on the protection by

their elites in the face of any crisis nearing the fatal extent of the

Black Death. Their legal and religious status, combined with a

reluctantly protective elite meant that Jews became, and were even

indirectly encouraged, as the obvious target for attacks.

!

The mob provided the rage and fear that initiated attacks and

rumours against the Jews and that fuelled the violence during the

height of the plague. However, this mob were not driving against

obstinate elites, determined to defend their Jews, but instead an

elite willing to comply with mob violence by rapidly incorporating it

into a structured, officiated processes. This is not to say that the

elites were entirely in control of this violence, nor is it to say that all

elites were equally compliant; simply, that elites became partners in

49

Herlihy, The Black Death and the Transformation of the West, p. 64.

50

Foa, The Jews of Europe after the Black Death, p. 8

51

Girard, The Scapegoat, p. 12.

52

Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross, p. 38.

!!30


Ellie de la Bedoyere

this violence. The elites’ role was a responsive one: they reacted to

their deteriorating control and in doing so legitimised the

populace’s fears and shaped the hatred behind these attacks into

rational, irrefutable accusations against the Jews. Consequently, the

mob, an apparently irrational, unruly, disorganised entity were

redefined by the elites as the defenders of Christianity. This is not

hyperbole: by legalising such violence and extracting ‘confessions’,

the elites established that attacks against the Jews were a rational,

necessary defence against Christianity’s enemies. The extent to the

elites’ complicity can be seen in the unrivalled momentum of the

Jewish persecutions: although it is difficult to judge what the scope

of these persecutions would have been like without active

endorsement from above, it is hard to imagine that without such

clear, focused and evidenced accusations against the Jews, the

attacks would have spread quite so rapidly or quite so far.

!

!

!31


Ellie de la Bedoyere

Bibliography

!

Aberth, J., From the Brink of Apocalypse: Confronting Famine, War,

Plague and Death in the Later Middle Ages (New York and

London, 2001).

!

Arrizabalaga, J., ‘Facing the Black Death: perceptions and reactions

of university medical practitioners’ in García-Ballester, L.,

French, R., Arrizabalaga, J., and Cunningham, A., eds.,

Practical medicine from Salerno to the Black Death (Cambridge,

1994), pp. 237-88.

!

Cohen, M. R., Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages

(Princeton, 1994).

!

!

Cohn, Samuel K., ‘The Black Death and the burning of the Jews’,

Past and Present, 196 (2007), pp. 3-36.

Cohn, Samuel K., ‘Popular Insurrection and the Black Death: A

Comparative Perspective’, in Dyer, Christopher, Coss, Peter,

and Wickham, Chris, (eds.), Hilton, Rodney, Middle Ages (Past

and Present Supplement no. 2, Oxford, 2007).

!

!

!

!

!

!

Cohn, Samuel K., The Pursuit of the Millennium (London, 1957).

Edwards, J., The Jews in western Europe 1400-1700 (Manchester,

1994).

Foa, Anna, The Jews of Europe after the Black Death (London, 2000).

Ginzburg, C., Ecstasies: deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath (London,

1990).

Girard, R. trans. Freccero, Y., The Scapegoat (London, 1986).

Guerchberg, S., ‘The controversy over the alleged sowers of the

Black Death in the contemporary treatises on plague’ in S.

Thrupp, ed., Change in medieval society: Europe north of the Alps,

1050-1500 (London, 1965), pp. 208-24.

!

!

Herlihy, David, The Black Death and the Transformation of the West

(Massachusetts, 1997).

!

!32


!

Ellie de la Bedoyere

Horrox, R., (ed.), The Black Death (Manchester, 1994).

Hsia, R. Po-Chia and Lehmann, H., eds., In and out of the ghetto:

Jewish-Gentile relations in late medieval and early modern

Germany (Cambridge, 1955).

!

!

!

!

!

Hsia, R. Po-Chia, The myth of ritual murder: Jews and magic in

Reformation Germany (New Haven and London, 1988).

MacKay, A., ‘Popular movements and pogroms in fifteenth-century

Castile’, Past and Present, 55 (1972), pp. 33-67.

Nelkin, D., and Gilman, S., ‘Placing the blame for devastating

disease’, Social Research, 55 (1988), pp. 361-78.

Nirenberg, D., Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the

Middle Ages (Princeton, 1996).

Poliakov, Leon, The History of Anti-Semitism, Vol. 1, From Roman

Times to the Court Jews (1955), trans. Richard Howard

(London, 1974).

!

!

!

!

Shirk, M. V., ‘The Black Death in Aragon, 1348-1351’, Journal of

Medieval History, 7 (1981), pp. 357-67.

Wolff, P., ‘The 1391 pogrom in Spain: social crisis or not?’, Past and

Present, 50 (1971), pp. 4-18.

Ziegler, P., The Black Death (Harmondsworth, 1970).

!

!33


Stephanie Ballard

Geography of Internment and Concepts of Identity in

Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England

— Stephanie Ballard

!

Studies that examine early modern English burial practices to

elucidate contemporary concepts of identity have increased over the

past thirty years.

1

Such studies have been stimulated by French

historian Philippe Ariès, who first suggested a relationship between

these two topics in his pivotal work The Hour of Our Death.

2

English

historians quickly followed his lead: three years after Ariès, Clare

Gittings published her study on burial and identity in early modern

England. Gittings asserted that the presence of modern burial

customs during this period implied that contemporary society was

individualistic.

3

Annia Cherryson, Zoë Crossland, and Sarah Tarlow

analyse data from funerary archaeology and argue that a sense of

individualism characterised early modern English identities.

4

Both

the works of Gittings, and Cherryson, Crossland, and Tarlow

propose that English society abandoned its traditional collectivism

at the beginning of the early modern period in favour of adopting

new, individualistic mindsets.

5

These authors also join several

scholars who suggest that western concepts of identity have become

increasingly individualistic over time, eventually culminating in the

1

Ralph Houlbrooke, Death, Religion and the Family in England,

1480-1750 (Oxford, 1998), p. 1.

2

Philippe Ariès, The Hour of Our Death, trans. Helen Weaver

(London, 1981), p. xvi.

3

Clare Gittings, Death, Burial and the Individual in Early Modern

England (London, 1984), pp. 9-10.

4

Annia Cherryson, Zoë Crossland, and Sarah Tarlow, A Fine and

Private Place: The Archaeology of Death and Burial in Post-Medieval

Britain and Ireland (Leicester, 2012), pp. 14-18.

5

Gittings, Death, Burial and the Individual, pp. 7-17; Cherryson,

Crossland, and Tarlow, A Fine and Private Place, pp. 12-13.

!!34


Stephanie Ballard

deep-seated sense of individualism that characterises modern-day

society.

1

!

However, other historians have presented evidence that contradicts

this view. Both David Cressy and Ralph Houlbrooke note that

family graves existed in early modern England, demonstrating that

one’s familial relationships affected his or her self-image.

2

In

addition, Vanessa Harding’s study on burial practices in London

argues that one’s sense of community greatly affected his or her

identity.

3

!

Indeed, even a portion of Gittings’ evidence suggested that people

did not view themselves as autonomous individuals who lacked

defining connections to their families and communities. Gittings

mentions two men in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England

who died away from home and left large sums of money to have

their bodies transported back to their parishes.

4

This implies that

the men wanted to be buried in locations that reflected their

identities as members of their home parishes. In addition, they were

willing to go to great lengths to obtain their desired burial

locations.

5

Theories that categorise early modern concepts of

identity as ‘individualistic’ do not account for such occurrences.

6

1

For more on individualism see Gittings, Death, Burial and the

Individual; Cherryson, Crossland, and Tarlow, A Fine and Private

Place; Ariès, The Hour of Our Death; Alan Macfarlane, The Origins of

English Individualism: The Family, Property and Social Transition

(Oxford, 1979); John Jefferies Martin, Myths of Renaissance

Individualism (Hampshire, 2004).

2

David Cressy, Birth, Marriage & Death: Ritual, Religion, and the

Life-Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England (Oxford, 1997), pp. 460-473;

Houlbrooke, Death, Religion and the Family, p. 338.

3

Vanessa Harding, The Dead and the Living in Paris and London,

1500-1670 (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 46-47.

4

Gittings, Death, Burial and the Individual, pp. 169-170.

5

Ibid.

6

Cherryson, Crossland, and Tarlow, A Fine and Private Place, p. 13;

Gittings, Death, Burial and the Individual, pp. 9-10.

!!35


Stephanie Ballard

Rather, these instances suggest that parishioners recognised

themselves as members of larger parochial communities.

!

An examination of sixteenth and seventeenth-century English

burial patterns illuminates the concepts of identity that are at the

centre of this debate. It reveals that identity continued to be

characterised by a strong sense of one’s place within larger

institutions, namely one’s parish, family, and religion.

!

Before beginning this analysis, it is important to define several

terms. ‘Geography of internment’ refers to the spatial distribution

of graves within a given location, such as a parish.

7

The term

‘relative identity’ denotes one’s identity in relation to others.

8

It

implies that one possesses a certain identity based on his or her

relationships with other people and the institutions to which he or

she belongs. For example, a man would recognise himself as a

‘husband’ and a ‘Protestant’ because of his familial relationship

with his wife and his religious relationship with the Protestant

Church, respectively.

9

It is also important to note that some of the

works discussed here consider the entire early modern period.

10

However, it is still valid to engage them in a discussion limited to

the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries because changes in burial

practices and concepts of identity are relatively slow.

11

Therefore, if

certain concepts of identity characterised the early modern period,

they would be present in the first two-thirds of the period. Any

major shifts that occurred at the end of the period would have been

7

Cressy, Birth, Marriage & Death, p. 456.

8

Michael Mascuch, ‘Social Mobility and Middling Self-Identity:

The Ethos of British Autobiographers, 1600-1750’, Social History,

20 (1995), p. 55.

9

Ibid.

10

Gittings, Death, Burial and the Individual; Cherryson, Crossland,

and Tarlow, A Fine and Private Place; Lucinda M. Becker, Death and

the Early Modern Englishwoman (Hampshire, 2003).

11

Ariès, The Hour of Our Death, p. xvi.

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Stephanie Ballard

slow to develop and one would find evidence of these developments

in the preceding two centuries.

!

One issue that scholars have previously addressed is the spatial

relationship between parish churches and graves. Gittings, and

Cherryson, Crossland, and Tarlow assert that a decline in church

and churchyard burials during the early modern period reveals a

breakdown of the community identity that once had united

parishioners.

12

Gittings notes that this breakdown was the result of

an increase in individualism, which recognised the person as

irreplaceable. People actively shunned the dead in order to avoid

thinking about their own impending deaths or their loved ones’

deaths. Burials in the church were ‘prohibited’ and the communal

aspect of death and burial disappeared.

13

Cherryson, Crossland,

and Tarlow assert that the availability of new, extra-parochial

cemeteries caused people to abandon traditional church and

churchyard burial.

14

Since most parishioners had been buried in or

near their local churches since the early Middle Ages, a decline in

parochial burial indeed would have reflected a monumental shift in

society.

15

However, other historians argue that internment patterns

did not drastically change during the early modern period. Rather,

the majority of parishioners continued to be buried in their parish

churches and churchyards.

16

!

An examination of the arguments made by Gittings, and

Cherryson, Crossland, and Tarlow reveals their inaccuracies. There

12

Gittings, Death, Burial and the Individual, pp. 9-14; Cherryson,

Crossland, and Tarlow, A Fine and Private Place, p. 81.

13

Gittings, Death, Burial and the Individual, pp. 13-15.

14

Cherryson, Crossland, and Tarlow, A Fine and Private Place, p.

102.

15

Ibid., p. 81.

16

Cressy, Birth, Marriage & Death, pp. 460-468; Ralph

Houlbrooke, ‘Introduction’, in Ralph Houlbrooke (ed.), Death,

Ritual, and Bereavement (London, 1989), pp. 22-23.

!!37


Stephanie Ballard

is no evidence that parishes ‘prohibited’ burial in churches.

17

In

fact, intramural burial continued until at least the mid-nineteenth

century.

18

In addition, these authors overemphasise and only

partially analyse extra-parochial burial patterns.

19

They do not

recognise that extra-parochial internments were occasional

exceptions to the general practice of intra-parochial burial. In

London, parishes established extra-parochial cemeteries because

their intra-parochial burial grounds had become congested with

generations of dead parishioners. This did cause some parishioners

to be buried far away from their parish churches.

20

The change,

however, was not welcome. Many parishioners explicitly stated that

they wanted to be buried in their old parish churchyards as opposed

to the new ones. Opposition was so strong that parishes were forced

to raise their prices for old church and churchyard burials and

lower prices for internments in their new churchyards. Despite high

prices and limitations on space, people continued to request burial

in old churchyards and churchwardens satisfied these requests.

21

As

a result, the majority of the people whom a parish initially interred

in its new churchyard were poor parishioners and victims of disease.

It was only after old churches and churchyards had reached their

absolute capacities that other parishioners allowed themselves to be

buried in the new churchyards.

22

!

This indicates that parishioners defined themselves as members of

their larger parochial communities. They wanted to be buried

alongside deceased members of their communities and those who

17

Gittings, Death, Burial and the Individual, p. 13.

18

Julian Litten, The English Way of Death, p. 211.

19

Cherryson, Crossland, and Tarlow, A Fine and Private Place, pp.

81-103; Gittings, Death, Burial and the Individual, pp. 9-17.

20

Vanessa Harding, ‘‘And one more may be laid there’: The

Location of Burials in Early Modern London’, London Journal, 14

(1989), pp. 112-118.

21

Ibid.

22

Ibid.; Cherryson, Crossland, and Tarlow, A Fine and Private Place,

pp. 87-88.

!!38


Stephanie Ballard

would die in the future.

23

If they had possessed individualistic

senses of self, they would not have been so fervently opposed to

being buried in a new location. Individualism hinges on the idea

that each person is a separate, autonomous being. It does not

honour the community relationships that parishioners evidently

sought to preserve with their burial locations.

24

For one with an

individualistic concept of identity, being buried in a new

churchyard would have been attractive. It would have been less

expensive and still would have been in hallowed ground. Instead,

internment patterns reveal a clear resistance to spaces that

physically separated the dead from the parochial communities of

which they had been a part.

25

!

One can also examine the geography of internment within parishes

to determine contemporary concepts of identity. Parish

communities were stratified by familial wealth and occupation. In

rural areas, the landed gentry and wealthy yeomanry occupied the

top rungs while poorer yeomen, labourers, and those without

landed wealth inhabited the levels below. This hierarchy was similar

in cities with merchants and professional men replacing the

yeomanry.

26

When a parishioner died, he or she was buried in a

location that reflected the social position he or she had possessed in

life.

27

The church was reserved for members of the parish’s elite.

The most distinguished elite were buried near the high and side

altars. The lesser elite were interred in the aisles, near the doors,

23

Harding, ‘And one more may be laid there’, pp. 113-118.

24

Cherryson, Crossland, and Tarlow, A Fine and Private Place, p. 13.

25

Harding, The Dead and the Living, pp. 95-97.

26

Keith Wrightson, English Society: 1580-1680 (London, 1982), pp.

23-31.

27

Harding, The Dead and the Living, pp. 46-47.

!!39


Stephanie Ballard

and in other parts of the building.

28

Most parishioners were buried

in parish churchyards that were adjacent to churches.

29

Churchyards were also stratified according to social position. The

more well-to-do were buried on the churchyard’s south side or as

close to the church as possible.

30

The poor and more marginal

members of society were usually interred on the churchyard’s north

side.

31

The result was a physical community of the dead that

reflected the conceptual community of the living.

32

!

While the medieval notion of relative sanctity might have affected

burial locations, it alone cannot account for this pattern of

internment. The pre-Reformation Church taught that sanctity

emanated from certain locations, such as high and side altars,

becoming weaker the farther one moved from these places.

33

Parishioners also believed that being buried near one of these

locations would help them get to Heaven.

34

However, if relative

sanctity had been the only factor in choosing one’s burial place,

then internment would have been stratified by death year as

opposed to social status. Space around the high and side altars

would have been filled first, with each person vying for his or her

space near these holy places. Only after these spaces had been filled

would people have chosen to be buried elsewhere in the church and

churchyard. One would also expect to see a change in burial

patterns after the Reformation, which abolished the idea of relative

28

Peter Marshall, Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England

(Oxford, 2002), p. 288; Will Coster, ‘A microcosm of community:

burial, space and society in Chester, 1598 to 1633’, in Will Coster

and Andrew Spicer (eds.), Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe

(Cambridge, 2005), pp. 124-125.

29

Harding, The Dead and the Living, pp. 46-48.

30

Houlbrooke, Death, Religion and the Family, p. 331.

31

R. A. Houston, Punishing the Dead? Suicide, Lordship, and

Community in Britain, 1500-1830 (Oxford, 2010), p. 189.

32

Harding, The Dead and the Living, pp. 46-47.

33

Coster, ‘A microcosm of community’, pp. 124-125.

34

Litten, The English Way of Death, p. 200.

!!40


Stephanie Ballard

sanctity. No such change occurred, suggesting that some other

factor underlined sixteenth and seventeenth century burial

patterns.

35

!

The social stratification that is evident in church and churchyard

burials suggests that deep-seated concepts of collective and relative

identity shaped this internment pattern.

36

The majority of

parishioners were buried in and around their churches,

demonstrating that they all shared a collective identity as

Christians.

37

It also suggests that they understood themselves as

members of their parishes’ societies, since local churches acted as

the parishes’ social centres.

38

Those who had been the most

influential in the parish — high office holders and other members

of the landed gentry — were buried in the church, the theoretical

centre of the parish.

39

From there, burials fanned outwards into the

churchyard, where parishioners of the lower orders were buried

according to their social statuses. This intricate pattern reveals that

people recognised and internalised their relative positions within

society.

40

Even in death, the wealthier yeoman knew his place

because he was less socially esteemed than the knight but socially

superior to the labourer. He chose his place of internment, as his

ancestors had done since at least the early Middle Ages, based on

his relative identity within his community. Therefore, parishioners

identified themselves as members of stratified communities as

opposed to as individuals devoid of defining relationships.

41

!

35

Cressy, Birth, Marriage & Death, pp. 460.

36

Ibid.; Harding, The Dead and the Living, pp. 46-47.

37

Marshall, Beliefs and the Dead, p. 1.

38

Harding, The Dead and the Living, pp. 46-47.

39

Ibid.; Wrightson, English Society, pp. 23-31.

40

Harding, The Dead and the Living, pp. 46-47.

41

Ibid., pp. 172-173; Harding, ‘And one more may be laid there’, p.

113.

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Stephanie Ballard

In addition, burial patterns reveal that the majority of parishioners

were buried alongside their family members.

42

This indicates that

one’s relative identity within his or her family was also an integral

part of his or her self-image. People had requested internment near

their family members since the early Middle Ages.

43

Family graves

usually contained the members of one nuclear family, consisting of

a husband, a wife, and their children.

44

These groupings occurred

both within the church and in the churchyard.

45

This demonstrates

that people recognised both their places within their parochial

societies and also their identities as members of particular families.

Adults without the normal nuclear ties, those who had never

married and thus had no spouses or children with whom to share

their burial spaces, were interred with their parents.

46

This reveals

that even unmarried adults did not see themselves as separate

entities, as simply independent women or men. Instead they were

daughters and sons, bound to their closest nuclear relatives by

significant familial relationships. Remarried women’s identities were

also defined by their relationships. They requested internment next

to their first husbands, demonstrating that they regarded

themselves as wives.

47

!

Burial patterns that were specific to the elite also display strong

senses of familial identity. One location in which members of the

elite were often buried was underneath their families’ pews.

48

Elite

families occupied their pews for many generations, making them

42

Cressy, Birth, Marriage & Death, pp. 461-462; Harding, The Dead

and the Living, p. 62.

43

Ian Forrest, ‘The Politics of Burial in Late Medieval Hereford’,

English Historical Review, 125 (2010), pp. 1135-1136.

44

Ralph Houlbrooke, The English Family 1450-1700 (Essex, 1984),

p. 18; Cressy, Birth, Marriage & Death, p. 462.

45

Harding, ‘And one more may be laid there’, pp. 114-116;

Harding, The Dead and the Living, p. 62.

46

Becker, Death and the Early Modern Englishwoman, pp. 136-137.

47

Ibid.

48

Coster, ‘A microcosm of community’, pp. 130-135.

!!42


Stephanie Ballard

tangible symbols of familial identity and continuity. Burial beneath

one’s family’s pew reflected one’s identity as a member of a wellestablished

family that was wealthy enough to occupy a pew in the

church. It recognised the person’s place in a long sequential line of

family members who had occupied, and would occupy, that pew.

49

!

Elite families also built burial vaults. Vaults were larger, more

elaborate versions of the family graves that lower members of

society established.

50

There were three types of vaults: dynastic

vaults, family vaults, and brick-lined vaults. The first type contained

one’s nuclear family, his or her ancestors, and eventually his or her

descendants. These vaults were the most expensive and were used

by noble families.

51

Members of the lesser landed gentry built the

second type of vault, which was usually three coffins wide and had a

curved brick ceiling. Families stacked coffins on top of one another

to make room for extended family members’ remains. Members of

the professional classes built the third type, which were one coffin

wide and lined with brick.

52

Each of these vaults usually contained

only one nuclear family. All three types of vaults were built by a

member of the family that was to be interred inside. This suggests a

strong desire to maintain familial identity after death.

53

!

While these family groupings typically existed within the church/

churchyard dichotomy, exceptions to this rule reveal that familial

identity was more integral to one’s self-image than any notion of

individuality. David Cressy notes that once a family had

“established its spot,” members tended to request burial in that

place rather than seeking out new, more elite positions for

themselves.

54

For instance, Sir Richard Browne chose to be interred

49

Ibid.

50

Litten, The English Way of Death, p. 211.

51

Ibid.

52

Ibid.

53

Ibid., pp. 211-212.

54

Cressy, Birth, Marriage & Death, p. 462.

!!43


Stephanie Ballard

in his parish’s churchyard rather than inside the church. This was

because although he had become a knight, Browne’s ancestors had

been of lower social status and had been buried in the churchyard.

Thus, he chose to be interred alongside his family members instead

of in a location that reflected his individual social position.

55

Browne’s choice — and the general tendency for people to have

been buried alongside their family members — reveals that people

did not regard themselves as autonomous individuals who were

defined by their own wealth, statuses, successes, or failures. Rather,

they acquired large portions of their identities from their families

and their positions within their families.

56

!

Therefore, an analysis of sixteenth and seventeenth century English

burial patterns reveals that there was no monumental shift towards

individualism during this period. People continued to define

themselves, and be defined, according to their relative positions

within their families and parochial societies.

57

It also demonstrates

how detrimental it is to approach moments in history as precursors

to modern-day occurrences or phenomena. Such studies actively

search for the beginning of something at the expense of

understanding events within their own historical contexts.

58

They

miss out on what was actually happening by trying to create a

smooth chronological narrative.

!

Such studies, however, do not only obscure events of the past. They

also distort the reality of the present. While Gittings, Cherryson,

Crossland, and Tarlow would disagree, twenty-first century western

society is no less collective than its sixteenth and seventeenth

century English predecessors.

59

The institutions from which we

55

Ibid., p. 465.

56

Ibid., pp. 461-462; Harding, The Dead and the Living, p. 62.

57

Harding, The Dead and the Living, pp. 46-47.

58

Gittings, Death, Burial and the Individual, p. 14.

59

Ibid., pp. 8-9; Cherryson, Crossland, and Tarlow, A Fine and

Private Place, p. 13.

!!44


Stephanie Ballard

obtain our identities have changed: community, religion, and family

have been replaced by beauty standards that show us how to look,

education systems that teach us how to learn, and celebrity culture

that tells us how to think. However, there are still strong pressures

to conform to these institutions that would not exist in an

individualistic society. Therefore, it is best to approach an issue, be

it in the past or the present, with precise knowledge of its context

and without an independent agenda that would distort the facts.

!

!

!

!45


!

!

!

!

Bibliography

Stephanie Ballard

Alvesson, Mats, The Triumph of Emptiness: Consumption, Higher

Education, and Work Organization (Oxford, 2013).

Ariès, Philippe, The Hour of Our Death, translated by Helen Weaver

(London, 1981).

Becker, Lucinda M., Death and the Early Modern Englishwoman

(Aldershot, 2003).

Cherryson, Annia, Zoë Crossland, and Sarah Tarlow, A Fine and

Private Place: The Archaeology of Death and Burial in Postmedieval

Britain and Ireland (Leicester, 2012).

!

!

Chow, Jean, ‘Adolescents’ perceptions of popular teen magazines’,

Journal of Advanced Nursing, 48 (2004), pp. 132-139.

Coster, Will, ‘A microcosm of community: burial, space and society

in Chester, 1598 to 1633’, in Coster, Will, and Andrew Spicer

(eds.), Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge,

2005), pp. 124-143.

!

!

!

!

Cressy, David, Birth, Marriage & Death: Ritual, Religion, and the

Life-Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England (Oxford: 1997).

Forrest, Ian, ‘The Politics of Burial in Late Medieval Hereford’,

English Historical Review, 125 (2010), pp. 1110-1138.

Gittings, Clare, Death, Burial and the Individual in Early Modern

England (London, 1984).

Harding, Vanessa, ‘And one more may be laid there’: The Location

of Burials in Early Modern London’, London Journal, 14

(1989), pp. 112-129.

!

!

Harding, Vanessa, The Dead and the Living in Paris and London,

1500-1670 (Cambridge, 2002).

Holmes, Su and Sean Redmond, ‘Introduction: understanding

celebrity culture’, in Holmes, Su, and Sean Redmond (eds.),

Framing Celebrity: New Directions in Celebrity Culture (Oxon,

2006), pp. 1-17.

!

!46


!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

Stephanie Ballard

Houlbrooke, Ralph, The English Family 1450-1700 (London, 1984).

Houlbrooke, Ralph, ‘Introduction’, in Houlbrooke, Ralph (ed.),

Death, Ritual, and Bereavement (London, 1989), pp. 1-24.

Houlbrooke, Ralph, Death, Religion and the Family in England,

1480-1750 (Oxford, 1998).

Houston, R. A., Punishing the Dead? Suicide, Lordship, and

Community in Britain, 1500- 1830 (Oxford, 2010).

Litten, Julian, The English Way of Death: The Common Funeral Since

1450 (London, 1991).

Macfarlane, Alan, The Origins of English Individualism: The Family,

Property and Social Transition (Oxford, 1978).

Marshall, Peter, Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England

(Oxford, 2002).

Martin, John Jefferies, Myths of Renaissance Individualism

(Basingstoke, 2006).

Mascuch, Michael, ‘Social Mobility and Middling Self Identity: The

Ethos of British Autobiographers, 1600-1750’, Social History,

20 (1995), pp. 45-61.

!

!

Wrightson, Keith, English Society: 1580-1680 (London, 1982).

!

!47


Matt Hoser

How did British perceptions of sati evolve between 1757

and its abolition in 1829?

— Matt Hoser

!

!

“The red pile blazes – let the bride ascend,

And lay her head upon her husband’s heart,

Now in perfect unison to blend –

No more to part.”

!

What is most curious about Letitia Elizabeth Landon’s poem, “A

Suttee," is that such a peaceful image of serene self-immolation was

produced amidst the typically racist, pejorative views of most

Britons at the turn of the nineteenth century.

1

Traditionally,

historians have placed such views in the Orientalist sphere of the

1760s-80s, seeing alternative views such as Landon’s as typical of

an anomalous period in an otherwise stark narrative of British

disgust of Hindu customs, with a minority of preservationist

Britons arguing against the overwhelmingly Anglicist, evangelical

push for abolition. Whilst this view does illuminate the dramatic

change in policy that occurred in the first decades of the 1800s, it

ignores both the intellectual origins of such debate, and the

nuanced continuities present throughout this period. In order to

explore the complexities of British ideas about sati, one must first

understand Indian beliefs about the practice. Thereafter, one can

turn to the initial European impressions of sati, before evaluating

the so-called ‘Orientalist’ phase of British rule, which was greatly

influenced by the views of Edmund Burke and Adam Smith.

Finally, and most importantly, this paper will examine the ways in

which European ideas of gender and progress, as well as changing

evangelical, legal and indigenous pressures on the ground, helped

accelerate the abolitionist cause. What emerges is a most curious

1

Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802-1838), “A Suttee," quoted in full

in Lizbeth Goodman, Literature and Gender (New York, 1996), p.

267.

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Matt Hoser

symbiosis: Orientalism may have been overwhelmed by the

Anglicist cause in the early nineteenth century, but was still drawn

upon within the framework of utilitarian policies, particularly by

justifying abolition along Hindu scriptural lines. British rule thus

vacillated between an initially obtuse lack of knowledge and the

subsequent understanding of Hindu culture, before combining the

two tendencies with utilitarian, evangelical, and Anglicist policies.

!

* * *

!

Given its existence in Hindu culture for over two millennia before

British rule, sati deserves assessment on its own terms.

2

In fact,

even the name sati is Anglicised, originally being that of the goddess

of marital felicity, into whom the immolated woman symbolically

turns, and also closely tied to the concept of sati-stri, the perfectly

devoted wife.

3

Mostly amongst the upper castes, sati showed how

the Hindu wife was “ontologically bonded” to her husband through

the eternal marital union of vivahasamskara, and chose to burn on

his pyre not only to ensure unity in Boykonto (Visnu’s paradise),

4

but also because, as the Orientalist Henry Thomas Colebrooke

noted, “No other effectual duty is known from virtuous women at

any time after her husband’s death.”

5

Chris Bayly sees this as the

reason for the extreme degradation of widows in Indian society,

2

Sir Percival Griffiths, The British Impact on India (London, 1965).

3

Shirley Firth, Dying, Death and Bereavement in a British Hindu

Community (Leuven, 1997), p. 146.

4

Also known as samskāra, the ‘lovers’ paradise’. This point has

caused quite some debate over the meaning of sati in modern

Hinduism, given that more mainstream belief today generally

focuses on reincarnation according to the karma of the deceased,

which would mean that a woman would almost certainly exist

separately from her husband after death (Werner Menski, ‘Sati: A

Review Article’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies,

University of London, Vol. 61, No. 1 (1998), p. 79).

5

Paul B. Courtright, quoted in Menski, ‘Sati’, p. 75; Henry Thomas

Colebrooke, quoted in Griffiths, The British Impact, p. 218.

!!49


Matt Hoser

which often resulted in a life of penury and social exclusion: they

are “perceived almost literally to be part of her husband’s body…

her presence in a household raised questions of pollution; she is in

effect, in a ‘liminal’ and dangerous state."

6

Sati not only brought

beatification for the widow, however, as it also acted as a purifying

“fire bath” (agnisnān), sanctifying several generations of maternal

and paternal ancestors for both husband and wife, and providing

absolution and heavenly bliss for the couple.

7

As one pundit stated

in 1805, “as a snake-catcher drags a snake from his hole, so does a

woman who burns herself, draw her husband out of hell; and she

afterwards resides with him in heaven.”

8

!

Despite this host of spiritual rewards, and the urging of Brahmins,

hardly any Hindu women actually committed sati. In fact, for the

period when records were kept, 1813-29, despite notable increases

due to British authorisation of regulated satis, on average only 581

satis occurred per annum in a Bengali population of over 57 million.

Equally infinitesimal were the statistics for Madras, where 40

incidences per annum occurred in a province of 15 million.

However, despite clearly not being prevalent even amongst widows

(one in 430 Bengali widows chose sati), Jörg Fisch makes the valid

point that all Indians would have either witnessed it or heard a firsthand

account, since one sati occurred each year in a typical town of

6

Christopher A. Bayly, ‘From ritual to ceremony: death ritual and

society in Hindu North India since 1600’ in Joachim Whalley (ed.),

Mirrors of Mortality: Studies in the Social History of Death (London,

1981), p. 175.

7

Catherine Weinberger-Thomas, Ashes of Immortality: widowburning

in India (trans. Jeffrey Mehlman & David Gordon White,

Chicago, 1999), p. 43; Griffiths, The British Impact, p. 218.

8

Lata Mani, ‘Production of an Official Discourse on "Sati" in Early

Nineteenth Century Bengal’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 21,

No. 17 (Apr. 26, 1986), p. WS37.

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Matt Hoser

100,000, or one every twenty years in 5,000-strong villages.

9

Whilst

these statistics are admittedly imprecise, they do show how,

especially since “people flocked together from all quarters to

witness the spectacle," sati was very much a fixture in the Indian

religious customs and collective consciousness.

10

!

!

* * *

The contrast between the rare, holy, and privileged place of sati in

Hindu custom and the earliest European encounters with widowburning

could not have been more pronounced. Sixteenth and

seventeenth century merchants and explorers such as Ludovico di

Varthema and Pietro della Valle fleetingly observed, and

subsequently condemned, what they saw as depraved Hindu

customs.

11

Such vivid descriptions of nakedness, idolatry, child

marriage, and of course sati, soon established what John Marriott

calls, “a stock repertoire of customs and traits that came to define

Indianness for European readers."

12

This “superficial familiarity”

was also “idiosyncratic and highly personalised:” Nicholas

Withington, for example, observed that if a woman resisted, “her

Mother and Father will take her and bynde her, and throwe her into

the fyre, and burne her per force," ignoring the obvious similarities

with European witch-hunts.

13

Similarly, Johann Albrecht von

9

All statistics from Jörg Fisch, Immolating Women: a global history of

widow burning from ancient times to the present (Delhi, 2005), pp.

236-40.

10

Abbé J.A. Dubois (commenting on a sati in Puddupettah,

Tanjore), quoted in Griffiths, The British Impact, p. 220.

11

Robin Jared Lewis, ‘Comment: Sati and the Nineteenth Century

British Self’ in John Stratton Hawley, Sati, The Blessing and The

Curse: the burning of wives in India (Oxford, 1994), p. 72.

12

John Marriott, The Other Empire: Metropolis, India and Progress in

the Colonial Imagination (Manchester, 2003), p. 59.

13

Marriott, The Other Empire, pp. 59-60; Pompa Banerjee, Burning

Women: Widows, Witches, and Early Modern European Travelers in India

(New York, 2003).

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Matt Hoser

Mandelslo insisted, without any proof, that all satis must have been

drugged by evil Brahmins.

14

But, whilst Dorothy Figueira notes

that Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire and Goethe used sati as a

self-critical tool with which to attack the oppression of religion in

Europe, British views were to veer towards more respectful,

Orientalist tendencies due to the closer contact of early colonial

rule.

15

!

!

* * *

While the first few decades of British presence in India certainly

lacked ringing endorsements of sati, they did witness the emergence

of less dismissive approaches. The East India Company, more

concerned with generating profits for its controlling shareholders

than the welfare and daily life of their subjects, took a noninterventionist

approach to Indian culture and religion from the

outset, despite the view of many Company officials that sati was

“barbarous."

16

Furthermore, it was clear that, unlike its colonies in

Africa, the British could not simply discard local history, religion,

customs, and law, which were clearly complex and deeply rooted in

indigenous society. Instead, many British sought to understand

Indian culture and Hinduism on its own terms, led by William

Jones, whose establishment of the Asiatic Society and translation of

the Laws of Manu shed much light onto the history and meaning of

such sati. Colebrooke’s Digest on Hindu Laws and Charles Wilkins’

translation of the Bhagavad Gita did likewise, but the most

prominent Orientalist in Britain was almost certainly Edmund

Burke, who ironically agreed with Warren Hastings, erstwhile

14

Norbert Schürer, ‘The Impartial Spectator of Sati, 1757-84’,

Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Fall, 2008), p. 25.

15

Dorothy M. Figueira, ‘Die Flambierte Frau: Sati in European

Culture’ in John Stratton Hawley, Sati, The Blessing and The Curse:

the burning of wives in India (Oxford, 1994), pp. 60-1, 66-8.

16

Weinberger-Thomas, Ashes of Immortality, p. 40; John Henry

Grose an East India Company official, quoted in Schürer, ‘The

Impartial Spectator’, p. 25.

!!52


Matt Hoser

governor-general and later Burke’s courtroom nemesis, on the

policy of ruling Hindus according to Hindu law and Muslims

according to Islamic law.

17

The influence of this greater

understanding of Hinduism was evident in a far greater number of

admiring perspectives, as the sati was sometimes seen as a pure

figure transcending death: “an ideal of conjugal fidelity, the selfsacrifice

of a bereaved widow who selflessly braved the flames."

18

Thus emerged such views as in Landon’s poem: “…her head upon

her husband’s heart, now in perfect unison to blend – no more to

part."

19

!

This understanding, and in particular Burke’s deep sympathy for

the Indian people, reflected his appreciation of the work of David

Hume and Adam Smith, for whom sympathy was the key to moral

judgment.

20

Taking on the form of rational enquiry, Orientalist

observations of sati, informed as they were of the custom’s

meanings and motivations, tended to be less swift to dismiss,

instead opting for a more distanced, balanced perspective.

21

Newspaper articles and eyewitness accounts generally described the

scene, reporting the actions of Brahmins, relatives, and the widow

herself, but rarely condemned the practice unequivocally.

22

Whilst

drugging and coercion by Brahmins and relatives were often

reported, equally common were instances were, as occurred in 1777

Azumabad, reports noted, “it was intirely [sic] a voluntary act, and

17

Lata Mani, Contentious Traditions: the debate on sati in colonial India

(London, 1998), p. 16.

18

Thomas R. Metcalf, Ideologies of the Raj (Cambridge, 1994), p.

98.

19

Landon, “A Suttee," quoted in Goodman, Literature and Gender,

p. 267.

20

Jennifer Pitts, A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in

Britain and France (Princeton, NJ, 2008), p. 59; Schürer, ‘The

Impartial Spectator’. In this sense, sympathy is more similar to the

modern word empathy.

21

Schürer, ‘The Impartial Spectator’, pp. 22, 26.

22

Mani, Contentious Traditions, pp. 172-3.

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Matt Hoser

she was as much in her sense as ever she was in her life."

23

The

readership of Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) was evident

in John Zephaniah Holwell’s appeal to his readers to put aside

British “tenets and customs," reflecting the appeal of Smith’s

‘Impartial Spectator’, an “altogether candid and equitable”

observer who could identify and place to one side his own biases.

24

!

However, the first decades of British rule in India by no means

excluded the feelings of horrified fascination typical of traveller

accounts. Even Norbert Schürer, arguing for a distinct period of

impartial British observation between 1757 and 1780, admits the

reprinting of earlier travel accounts throughout this period, as well

as the omission of more balanced evaluations when journals were

published in Britain.

25

Sati remained a gruesome spectacle, and the

“equitable” nature of its description in no way lessened its appeal to

the “English obsession with death as a spectacle," nor the way in

which the distant British public viewed Indian treatment of women,

on the whole.

26

Also, much of the work of the orientalists extended

past Schürer’s postulated time period, such as the Laws of Manu

(1794) and Colebrooke’s Digest (1798). Thus, whilst the first three

decades of British influence in the subcontinent clearly saw the

zenith of Smithian approaches to sati and interest in the religious

meaning of the ceremony, ideas from before this period permeated

throughout. As such, a rigid time frame like that proposed by

Schürer ignores the fluidity and co-existence of pejorative and

Orientalist mores alike.

!

23

‘An Authentic Account of Burning of a Gentoo Woman, at her

Own Request, at Azumabad’, published by the Annual Report

(1977), quoted in Schürer, ‘The Impartial Spectator’, p. 27.

24

John Zephaniah Holwell, quoted in Ibid, p. 23; Adam Smith, The

Theory of Moral Sentiments (sixth edition, London, 1790), p. 98.

Accessed online on 20 March, 2014 from: http://www.ibiblio.org/

ml/libri/s/SmithA_MoralSentiments_p.pdf.

25

Schürer, ‘The Impartial Spectator’, p. 26.

26

Metcalf, Ideologies of the Raj, p. 96.

!!54


!

Matt Hoser

* * *

There were, however, two powerful forces for change that proved

hugely influential in outlawing sati: evangelicalism and

utilitarianism. With the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society

in 1792 and the Church Missionary Society seven years later, the

British religious lobbies became incredibly influential, as was shown

by the mass support for the abolition of slavery in 1807.

27

A similar

campaign of leaflets, petitions, articles, and debates subsequently

filled British public space with emotive images and descriptions of

sati, and it was iconic anti-slaver William Wilberforce who most

vigorously argued in parliament for evangelicals to be permitted

into India, stressing the “family, fireside evils” that evangelism

would eradicate.

28

Evangelicals saw sati both as a means and an

end: its denunciation strengthened their calls for mission education

and the purifying influence of imposed Christian morality, whilst

also helping extinguish one of the main superstitions that such

missionary influence sought so eradicate. Accordingly, they penned

vivid, derogatory tracts that filtered back to Britain en masse,

helping obscure the more balanced perspectives of the Orientalists

– some of whom had even compared the sati to a Christian martyr –

through complete dismissal of Hindu “backwardness."

29

This

“irreconcilable antagonism” removed female agency from the act,

instead portraying Hinduism as a degraded form of pure religion,

oppressive and inhumane in the extreme.

30

!

Religious influence, and quite possibly the lack of moral reform in

India after several decades of British rule, also meant that secular

accounts were increasingly abhorrent of sati, decrying the “infernal

27

Catherine Hall, ‘Of Gender and Empire: Reflections on the

Nineteenth Century’ in Philippa Levine (ed.), Gender and Empire

(Oxford, 2007), pp. 53-4.

28

Hall, ‘Of Gender and Empire’, pp. 53-4; Lewis, ‘Comment: Sati’,

p. 73.

29

Schürer, ‘The Impartial Spectator’, p. 26.

30

Griffiths, The British Impact, p. 217.

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Matt Hoser

cruelties” of sati, which was seen as a “horrid, unnatural

ceremony."

31

Demonstrated amply by this harsher tone and onesided

nature of British accounts, as well as in the more violent,

primitive images of sati (see Figure 3), by the early nineteenth

century the British “strategic location," to use Edward Said’s term

regarding one’s self-identification with the East or West, had been

shifted irrevocably towards the latter, with eyewitness accounts

stressing their rational, Christian morality in trying to save

widows.

32

Likewise, the sexualisation of the sati, often previously

depicted with exposed shoulder and legs, largely disappeared,

replaced simply with the “horrid screams," or the trance-like

passivity, of the expiring ‘victim’.

33

British spectators thus no longer

even feigned impartiality, excluding British figures from images of

sati and typecasting ‘the Other’ as morally repugnant, rather than

mysteriously alluring.

34

!

The main reason for this increasingly skewed perception of sati was

the intellectual heritage of the Scottish Enlightenment, which longterm

British interaction with India shaped into extreme ideas of

Oriental incivility. Most significantly, John Millar’s Origin of the

Distinction of Ranks (1771) and Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments

agreed that the ennoblement or degradation of women was a clear

indication of the “polishedness” or “rudeness” of any given

civilisation, inspiring such influential utilitarian thinkers as James

Mill to condemn sati as one of “the most contemptible, or the most

31

Philip Stanhope, Genuine Memoirs of Asiaticus (1784), and

William Hurd, New Universal History (1780), both quoted in

Schürer, ‘The Impartial Spectator’, p. 38.

32

Edward Said, Orientalism (New York, 1978), p. 20.

33

Schürer, ‘The Impartial Spectator’, pp. 31, 38.

34

Griffiths, The British Impact, p. 217.

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Matt Hoser

abominable rites."

35

And as British exposure to sati was increased

through evangelical campaigning, the belief that India and its

women were passive, indolent, and degraded became rife in the

British mind-set, particularly due to stereotypical images of the

greedy, manipulative Brahmin and relatives forcing a sati onto the

fire.

36

Likewise, British observers, both first-hand and more

commonly indirect, remained horrified by the “mangled condition”

of victims, with “almost every inch of skin on her body burnt off…

breasts dreadfully torn…skin hanging from them in threads."

37

According to Sir Percival Griffiths, sati “taught the average

Englishman disrespect for the Hindu way of life and thought.

Whatever the other evidence might be, he would not regard as

civilised a people who burned widows alive.”

38

In an era when the

administration relied increasingly on Indian government officials,

the Calcutta Review summed up the “grotesque and horrible

incongruities” that would have arisen, had sati remained legal:

!

“Imagine…the native Justices of the Peace for the town of

Calcutta stating their inability to attend a discussion on

the waterworks of the metropolis because they wished to

follow the widow of one of their number to her husband’s

pile…”

39

!

35

John Millar, The Origin of the Distinction of the Ranks; or, An

Inquiry into the Circumstances which give rise to Influence and Authority

in Different Members of Society (ed. and intro. Aaron Garrett,

Indianapolis, 2006). Accessed online on 20 2014 from: http://

oll.libertyfund.org/titles/millar-the-origin-of-the-distinction-ofranks;

James Mill, A History of British India, Volume 1 (third edition,

London, 1826), p. 362. Accessed on 20 March 2014 from: http://

oll.libertyfund.org/titles/mill-the-history-of-british-india-vol-1.

36

Hall, ‘Of Gender and Empire’, p. 53.

37

Letter to the editor of the Bombay Courier, written by ‘A Decided

Enemy to Suttees’, 29 September 1823, quoted in Weinberger-

Thomas, Ashes of Immortality, pp. 203-4.

38

Griffiths, The British Impact, p. 225.

39

The Calcutta Review (1867), quoted in Ibid.

!!57


Matt Hoser

The increasing consensus on the depravity of sati, so far removed

from the impartial observation of earlier times, was transplanted

into government policy by the rise of utilitarian legal reform in

India. Mill’s History of British India (1817), a moralising, culturally

reductive explanation of Indian moral decay, social profligacy, and

cultural degeneration, was echoed by Charles Trevelyan and even

religious figures such as Reverend E. Storrow, who argued that

Indian disunity was due to their lack of respect for women, and was

also hugely influential for British policymakers in the nineteenth

century.

40

Eric Stokes famously argued that the utilitarian thought

of Mill, his son John Stuart Mill, and most prominently Jeremy

Bentham drove a generation of Haileybury-educated colonial

officials to codify the law of India, including abolishing sati.

41

James

Mill’s influence on Lord William Bentinck, the governor-general in

1829, was inherent in the latter’s cryptic comment to Mill, “I am

going to British India…but…it is you that will be governorgeneral.”

42

With Mill and other utilitarians so prominent in the

minds of key reformers like Bentinck, it is unsurprising that Hindu

law was increasingly codified, regulated, and ultimately shorn of its

most controversial practices.

!

!

* * *

Despite this clear influence of evangelical activism and utilitarian

thought on British public and official opinion on sati, one must also

consider indigenous factors, and the residual presence of Orientalist

values. Firstly, the way in which reform was enacted, and arguably

the reason for the lengthy period of legalised sati, lay with persistent

religious non-interference and respect for pundits’ legal definitions.

Lata Mani has argued that this represents a continuation of

40

Geraldine Forbes, Women in Modern India (Cambridge, 1996), p.

13; Michael S. Dodson, Orientalism, Empire, and National Culture:

India 1770-1880 (New York, 2007), p. 3.

41

Eric Stokes, The English Utilitarians and India (Oxford, 1989).

42

Ibid., p. 51.

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Matt Hoser

Orientalist tendencies, as discourse on sati was not bound to a

dichotomous framework of impatient Anglicist modernisers and

staunch Orientalists, but rather a combination of the two, whereby

utilitarians worked with Hindu law.

43

As such, the ‘salvation’ of the

Indians represented for reformers not a Christianisation of India,

but rather, “a recuperation of authenticity and purity, a vigorous

protection of the weak and subordinated aspects of culture against

their corrupt manipulations by the strong and dominant."

44

Mani’s

convincing argument, which highlights on British consultation of

pundits and selection of which opinions to accept, is echoed by

Andrea Major, who argues that the eighteenth century, as well as

the beginning of the nineteenth, represented a period of transition

during which the British had to work with the native culture in

order to understand and govern it properly.

45

This is far more

convincing that the view of Schürer, whose idea of a clearly defined

period of impartiality and subsequent ignorance of Hindu religion

ignores residual Orientalism.

46

!

Furthermore, many Indians, including those who in 1828 formed

the Brahmo Samaj, a reformed Hindu movement led by Rammohun

Roy, supported this more culturally attuned approach, whilst also

pushing for reform of sati.

47

Whilst the scope of this essay does not

permit full analysis of these movements, the likes of Roy,

Vidyasagar, and Swami Dayananda helped the British gain

indigenous support for sati reform, if perhaps not its total abolition,

by spreading the self-critical view that Hinduism had long been an

aberration from the “spirit of the sastras."

48

Their rational method

43

Mani, ‘Production of an Official Discourse’, pp. WS32, WS39.

44

Lata Mani, ‘Contentious Traditions: the Debate on Sati in

Colonial India’, Cultural Critique, No. 7, The Nature and Context of

Minority Discourse II (Autumn, 1987), p. 122.

45

Andrea Major, Pious Flames: European Encounters with Sati (Delhi,

2006), p. 71.

46

Schürer, ‘The Impartial Spectator’, p. 20.

47

Weinberger-Thomas, Ashes of Immortality, p. 41.

48

Forbes, Women in Modern India, pp. 16-7.

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Matt Hoser

most likely reflected the influence of Western education on the first

generation of British-Indian subjects, as Roy advocated

interpretation of scripture that was, “measured by reason and

shown to be free of contradiction and functioning to uphold a

beneficial social order.”

49

Such a similar outlook to utilitarian

policymakers proves that the British animosity to sati was not

unique to European audiences, casting doubt on dichotomous

theories of Anglicism and Orientalism.

50

!

!

* * *

The horror that sati aroused in the British imagination cannot be

denied. Epitomising the degrading, barbaric practices of ‘savage’

cultures, and contradicting early British views of Indian meekness

and sophistication, the salvation of India’s victimised widows was in

many ways the archetypal ‘civilising mission’. However, polarised

notions of British discourse over sati oversimplify the fluid nature of

its existence until 1829. The mystified yet disgusted accounts of

early travellers simultaneously aroused Orientalist interests and

sealed its final judgment, establishing stereotypes that seeped into

later years. The Orientalist experience of sati was so short-lived

because of the pervasive ideas of what constituted civility for the

British, which ultimately excluded impartial spectators from the

colonial policy agenda. With growing evangelical influence

saturating the British imagination with stereotypical, pejorative, and

shocking accounts, and rising utilitarian urges to codify the laws of

India in accordance with the morals of Millar, Smith, and Mill, the

effective elimination of romanticised and sexualised views of sati

was in many ways symptomatic of a time of change in British

society. However, lingering Orientalist respect for Hindu law and

culture remained influential, showing that whilst sati undoubtedly

49

Kenneth W. Jones, Socio-Religious Reform Movements in British

India (Cambridge, 1993), p. 32.

50

Forbes, Women in Modern India, pp. 16-7.

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Matt Hoser

offended British ideas of civilisation, its importance to the majority

of Indian subjects was never totally ignored.

!

!

!61


Matt Hoser

Bibliography

!

Banerjee, P., Burning Women: Widows, Witches, and Early Modern

European Travelers in India (New York, 2003).

!

Bayly, C. A., ‘From ritual to ceremony: death ritual and society in

Hindu North India since 1600’ in Joachim Whalley (ed.),

Mirrors of Mortality: Studies in the Social History of Death

(London, 1981), pp. 154-186.

!

Dodson, M. S., Orientalism, Empire, and National Culture: India

1770-1880 (New York, 2007).

!

Figueira, D. M., ‘Die Flambierte Frau: Sati in European Culture’ in

John Stratton Hawley, Sati, The Blessing and The Curse: the

burning of wives in India (Oxford, 1994), pp. 55-71.

!

Firth, S., Dying, Death and Bereavement in a British Hindu

Community (Leuven, 1997).

!

Fisch, J., Immolating Women: a global history of widow burning from

ancient times to the present (Delhi, 2005).

!

Forbes, G., Women in Modern India (Cambridge, 1996).

!

Goodman, L., Literature and Gender (New York, 1996).

!

Griffiths, P., The British impact on India (London, 1965).

!

Hall, C., ‘Of Gender and Empire: Reflections on the Nineteenth

Century’ in Levine, P. (ed.), Gender and Empire (Oxford,

2007), pp. 46-76.

!

Jones, K. W., Socio-Religious Reform Movements in British India

(Cambridge, 1993).

!

!!62


Matt Hoser

Lewis, R. J., ‘Comment: Sati and the Nineteenth Century British

Self’ in Hawley, J. S., Sati, The Blessing and The Curse: the

burning of wives in India (Oxford, 1994), pp. 72-8.

!

Major, A., Pious Flames: European Encounters with Sati (Delhi,

2006).

!

Mani, L., Contentious Traditions: the debate on sati in colonial India

(London, 1998).

!

Mani, L., ‘Contentious Traditions: the Debate on Sati in Colonial

India’, Cultural Critique, No. 7, The Nature and Context of

Minority Discourse II (Autumn, 1987), pp. 119-156.

!

Mani, L., ‘Production of an Official Discourse on "Sati" in Early

Nineteenth Century Bengal’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.

21, No. 17 (Apr. 26, 1986), pp. WS32-WS40.

!

Marriott, J., The Other Empire: Metropolis, India and Progress in the

Colonial Imagination (Manchester, 2003).

!

Menski, W., ‘Sati: A Review Article’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental

and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 61, No. 1

(1998), pp. 74-81.

!

Metcalf, T. R., Ideologies of the Raj (Cambridge, 1994).

!

Mill, J., A History of British India, Volume 1 (third edition, London,

1826), p. 362. Accessed on 20 March 2014 from: http://

oll.libertyfund.org/titles/mill-the-history-of-british-india-vol-1.

!

Millar, J., The Origin of the Distinction of the Ranks; or, An Inquiry into

the Circumstances which give rise to Influence and Authority in

Different Members of Society (ed. and intro. Garrett, A.,

Indianapolis, 2006). Accessed online on March 20, 2014 from:

!!63


!

Matt Hoser

http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/millar-the-origin-of-thedistinction-of-ranks.

Pitts, J., A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain

and France (Princeton, NJ, 2008).

!

Said, E., Orientalism (New York, 1978).

!

Schürer, N., ‘The Impartial Spectator of Sati, 1757-84’, Eighteenth-

Century Studies, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Fall, 2008), pp. 19-44.

!

Smith, A., The Theory of Moral Sentiments (sixth edition, London,

1790). Accessed online on March 20, 2014 from: http://

www.ibiblio.org/ml/libri/s/SmithA_MoralSentiments_p.pdf.

!

Weinberger-Thomas, C., Ashes of Immortality: widow-burning in

India (trans. Mehlman, J. & White, D. C., Chicago, 1999).

!

!

!

!64


William Vick

Is it accurate to describe Egyptians as ‘colonised

colonisers’ in the nineteenth century?

!

— William Vick

!

It is hardly surprising that the discourse surrounding the concept of

colonialism in modern historiography is highly charged, when the

often painful memories of colonial experiences remain prominent

in the collective consciousness. In colonised regions from China to

Argentina, it has proven politically expedient to construct a unifying

historical narrative of victimhood – often one defined against the

European colonial powers, including the Ottoman Empire – that

sidesteps or undermines the possibility that they too have

committed colonial acts. The concept of a ‘colonised coloniser’, first

proposed by Eve Troutt Powell in 1995,

1

is often difficult to define

historiographically, since it fits into neither narrative of nation-asperpetrator

or nation-as-victim. Egyptian historians from ‘Abd al-

Rahmān al-Rāfi’ī to ‘Abd al-Azīm Ramadān have been quick to

deny ideas of Egyptian colonisation, either by describing it as the

simple unification of a natural territorial unit (a conclusion, which,

of course, has major modern-day implications), or as an act of

benevolent pacification and administration rather than oppressive

rule.

2

Hence, Egypt can present itself uncompromisingly as a victim

of colonial oppression, a story that ties in neatly with modern

rhetorics of Egyptian nationalism and anti-Westernism in the

Middle East. Yet, the benevolence defence employed by Ramadān is

strikingly reminiscent of contemporary defences of European

colonialism; and, however valid these may be, they have only ever

served to justify colonialism, not to deny it. ‘Colonialism’ and

1

Eve Troutt Powell, Colonized colonizers: Egyptian nationalists and the

issue of the Sudan, 1875-1919 (PhD thesis; Ann Arbor, 1999).

2

Gabriel R. Warburg, ‘The Turco-Egyptian Sudan: A Recent

Historiographical Controversy’, Die Welt des Islams, New Series, 31

(1991), pp. 200-206.

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William Vick

‘colonisation’ seem to be defined as much by who did it and when

as by what ‘it’ actually entails.

!

To answer this question usefully, then, we will require a stringent,

universal definition of colonialism and colonisation; we can then

test this against Ottoman actions in Egypt, and Egyptian actions

further along the Nile Valley. Note that Egypt’s interventions in

Arabia will not be examined here, nor will the period after 1880

under British domination since, barring a few years overlap, Egypt

can hardly be described as a ‘colonised coloniser’ once it had lost

control of Sudan to the Mahdiyya.

!

Ronald J. Horvath, writing in 1972, gave the following schema of

colonialism and related phenomena:

!

“1. Domination is the control by individuals or groups

over the territory and/or the behaviour of other individuals

or groups.

2. Intergroup domination is the domination process in a

culturally heterogeneous society …

3. Colonialism is that form of intergroup domination in

!

which settlers in significant number migrate permanently

to the colony from the colonising power.”

3

Horvath further defines imperialism as the form of intergroup

domination without significant population movement. We can

contrast this with Jürgen Osterhammel’s 1997 definition:

!

“Colonialism is a relationship of domination between an

indigenous (or forcibly imported) majority and a minority

of foreign invaders. The fundamental decisions affecting

the lives of the colonised people are made and

implemented by colonial rulers in pursuit of interests that

3

Ronald J. Horvath, ‘A Definition of Colonialism’, Current

Anthropology, 13 (1972), p. 50.

!!66


!

William Vick

are often defined in a distant metropolis. Rejecting

cultural compromises with the colonised population, the

colonisers are convinced of their own authority and of

their ordained mandate to rule.”

4

The subtle differences between these definitions of colonialism are

indicative of the nebulosity of the term; most significantly there is a

clear contradiction on the degree of population movement that

entailed. In fact, Osterhammel’s definition is closer to what

Horvath labels as ‘imperialism’. Accounting for this irreconcilable

distinction, however, we can nonetheless test the situation in

nineteenth-century Egypt and Sudan against these definitions.

!

Classic summaries of the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha in Egypt

tend to emphasise the degree to which he withdrew from Ottoman

influence, suiting his popular role as the “founder of modern

Egypt."

5

P. J. Vatikiotis suggests, “he practically detached Egypt

from Turkey."

6

True, the viceroy was largely independent of

Ottoman control, apart from remaining subject to an annual

tribute, foreign policy restrictions, and the Ottoman army levy;

insofar as it was separate from the Egyptian state, the Ottoman

state certainly now played little part in the daily lives of Egyptian

citizens.

7

But more recent historiography has brought the

nationalist credentials of Muhammad Ali and his successors into

question. Ehud Toledano, for example, concludes that although the

“entrenchment of dynastic order in Egypt meant growing political

independence from the Ottoman government … in social and

4

Jürgen Osterhammel, Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview

(Princeton, 2005), pp. 16-17.

5

Peter M. Holt, ‘Egypt and the Nile Valley’, in John E. Flint (ed.),

The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 5: c. 1790-c.1870

(Cambridge, 1976), p. 22.

6

P. J. Vatikiotis, The History of Modern Egypt: From Muhammad Ali to

Mubarak (Baltimore, 1991), p. 49.

7

Ehud R. Toledano, State and society in mid-nineteenth-century Egypt

(Cambridge, 1990), p. 11.

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William Vick

cultural terms, Egypt remained very much within the Ottoman

orbit.”

8

!

This can in part be explained by the nature of the changes to elite

social structures in Egypt that occurred in this period. While

‘Egyptianization’ did occur to some limited degree, and increasing

numbers of native Egyptians were admitted to the elite group, it is

hardly accurate to suggest that Muhammad Ali and his successors

replaced an old Turkish elite with a new Egyptian one. Muhammad

Ali himself was, of course, Turco-Albanian. Indeed, M. Abir

suggests that “[t]rue to his class, he despised the Egyptians.”

9

It is

possible that nationalistic Egyptian historians are partly at fault

here for transliterating the names of rulers such as Muhammad Ali

(or, as he called himself, Mehmed Ali) and thereby exaggerating

their Egyptian identity. As Toledano writes in his criticism of Afaf

Lufti al-Sayyid Marsot’s recent work, by transliterating into Arabic

the names of all prominent Egyptians in the Ottoman era, she

“Egyptianizes” everyone who set foot in Egypt and distorts the

deeply Ottoman character of the province.

10

!

Far from becoming a unified nation under Muhammad Ali, then,

Egyptian society remained largely heterogeneous. Although he rose

to power by channelling resentment against both Ottoman and

Mamluk overlords,

11

during his reign he largely retained a non-

Egyptian elite. There is some disagreement on exactly how best to

characterise this elite – Toledano describes it as “Ottoman-

Egyptian," Abir as “Turko-Albanian-Circassian,"

12

Holt as “Turco-

8

Toledano, State and society, p. 249.

9

M. Abir, ‘Modernisation, Reaction, and Muhammad Ali’s

‘Empire’’, Middle Eastern Studies, 13 (1977), p. 295.

10

Toledano, ‘Review Article: Mehmet Ali Paşa or Muhammad Ali

Basha? An Historiographic Appraisal in the Wake of a Recent Book’,

Middle Eastern Studies, 21 (1985), p. 156.

11

Vatikiotis, The History of Modern Egypt, p. 51.

12

Toledano, State and society, p. 250; Abir, ‘Modernisation’, p. 295;

Holt, ‘Egypt and the Nile Valley’, p. 29.

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William Vick

Circassian” and Bjørkelo further includes Kurds and Greeks

13

– but

clearly the maintenance of some Ottoman or foreign character is

assumed. Contemporary perceptions are particularly revealing:

while elites referred to themselves as Mısırlı (or ‘Egyptians’), they

were labelled by non-elites as ‘Othmānlī or Atrāk (‘Ottomans’ or

‘Turks’); non-elites were, in turn, abnā’ al-balad, or people of the

land.

14

And, in 1824, the leader of a peasant uprising proclaimed he

would end the suffering of “the Egyptian people” against

Muhammad Ali.

15

Along with the linguistic divide between

Ottoman and Egyptian speakers, these identities clearly

demonstrate a cultural heterogeneity in society akin to that

necessary in Horvath’s definition of colonialism. That is not to say

that non-elites defined themselves strongly by their Egyptianness

against the Atrāk; as Jankowski has demonstrated, Islamic or

Ottoman identities were far more powerful throughout Egyptian

society up until the 1910s, with the exception of a brief period in

the 1860s and 1870s.

16

So even if the non-elites recognised the

Ottoman character of the elite, they did not resent this strongly

enough to create their own Egyptian identity and delegitimise the

Ottoman rule on this basis, as they later did against the British.

!

Yet the elites’ self-identification as Mısırlı is in itself fascinating in

that it is distinct from any kind of foreign identity such as Ottoman,

Albanian, or Circassian; in a sense, the new Egyptian elite saw

themselves as a group territorially attached to the same area as

native Egyptians, yet socially and culturally distinct. If colonialism

requires a “foreign” presence (as Osterhammel suggests), what do

we make of a situation where the colonisers do not see themselves

as “foreign," but the colonised see them as such?

13

Anders Bjørkelo, Prelude to the Mahdiyya: Peasants and Traders in

the Shendi Region, 1821-1885 (Cambridge, 1989), p. 34.

14

Toledano, State and society, p. 250.

15

Holt, ‘Egypt and the Nile Valley’, p. 30.

16

James Jankowski, ‘Ottomanism and Arabism in Egypt,

1860-1914’, The Muslim World, 70 (1980), p. 229.

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!

William Vick

There is evidence of increasing Egyptian native entry into the

Ottomanised elite over the course of the nineteenth century; the

division between these groups was far from formalised or

particularly polarised. Educational and military reforms

(particularly conscription of the fallahin from the 1830s) allowed

more non-elite Egyptians to gain significant influence within the

state and army, thereby diluting Ottoman hegemony into a more

all-encompassing (and increasingly Westernised) urban effendiyya

culture.

17

But whether Istanbul, London or Paris was the focus of

cultural aspiration for these effendiyya, it took until the rise of

Egyptian nationalism in the 1910s for Cairo to be seen in this

light;

18

even the Turkish name of the effendiyya is to a degree

indicative of its essentially Ottoman outlook or perception.

19

Thus,

even if more Egyptians were able to enter and subconsciously

influence the nature of the elite, in doing so they largely adopted its

cultural norms and values, that is, a sense of Ottomanness or

orientation towards Constantinople that transcended the

boundaries of Cairo and Egypt. The new Egyptian elite perceived

itself as no less differentiated from the fallahin as the old elite. Even

if social changes meant a greater geographical identification with

Egypt that perhaps opened up the possibility of cultural

Egyptianization in the future, for now political circumstances

ensured that ‘cultural compromise’, while perhaps not vehemently

rejected by the effendiyya, was also not an appealing possibility.

Indeed it might be fairer to suggest that fallahin culture, rather than

being overtly rejected, was simply ignored by the elites.

!

It is undeniable that the effendiyya have never formed a large

percentage of the Egyptian population. Nor did population

17

Michael Eppel, ‘Note about the term Effendiyya in the History of

the Middle East’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 41

(2009), p. 535.

18

Jankowski, ‘Ottomanism and Arabism’, pp. 227-8.

19

Toledano, State and society, pp. 250-1.

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William Vick

movement ever occur in significant amounts between Turkey and

Egypt, so we cannot suggest that colonisation occurred between the

Ottoman centre and Egypt under Horvath’s definition (though it

could be described as imperialism). Osterhammel’s model more

closely reflects the situation in Egypt, though as we have seen there

are a number of subtleties in the identities of Egyptian social groups

that clearly indicate that ‘colonialism’ here is not perfectly

comparable to that conducted by European groups in, say, Latin

America and India.

!

The situation in modern Sudan and South Sudan was, of course,

radically different in the nineteenth century, and Muhammad Ali’s

conquest of this area between 1813 and 1818 clearly removes any

doubt we could have about the spatial aspect of colonialism in this

area. It is worth noting that this conquest was undertaken without

Ottoman involvement. Although, as Hassan Ahmed Ibrahim

stresses, it was undertaken by the Ottoman-Egyptian elite that we

have encountered above rather than the native Egyptians majority:

hence the prevalent description of this era as the Turkiyya in Sudan

(although, of course, this still does not accurately describe the

ethnic make-up of the government).

20

Whilst Arabic-speaking

Egyptians nonetheless formed a part (and a growing part) of the

Sudanese elite, they rarely rose beyond medium-level posts in

government offices and the army; and Ibrahim suggests that, like in

Egypt, these Egyptians “were despised” by the Ottoman groups in

charge.

21

However, with only a few exceptions where cooperation

with local tribes was found useful (such as the Sha’iqiyya in the

north),

22

these were rarely native Sudanese, and administrators

20

Ibrahim, ‘The Egyptian empire, 1805-1885’, in M. W. Daly (ed.),

The Cambridge History of Egypt, Volume 2: Modern Egypt from 1517 to

the End of the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, 1998), p. 204.

21

Ibrahim, ‘The Strategy, Responses and Legacy of the First

Imperialist Era in the Sudan 1820-1885’, The Muslim World, 91

(2001), p. 210.

22

Gabriel Warburg, Islam, Sectarianism and Politics in Sudan since the

Mahdiyya (London , 2003), p. 7.

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William Vick

were continually brought in from Egypt or elsewhere rather than

home-grown.

23

Later in the century, Europeans were also imported

for administration purposes; the advent of Mahdist independence in

1881 largely precluded the Egyptianisation of the elite that took

place in the lower Nile.

!

That “the fundamental decisions of affecting the lives of the

colonised people [were] made and implemented by colonial rulers”

in the Sudan is also evident, both through the Turkiyya’s policy of

exploitation and, of course, the flourishing slave trade.

24

Ottoman

demands on Egypt were relatively limited, at only an annual tribute

and military levy. The Turkiyya, on the other hand, placed a state

monopoly on a majority of Sudanese goods and even imported

cattle into the lower Nile despite frequent raids that rendered this

process largely impractical.

25

For the black populations of modern

South Sudan and the Nuba Hills, of course, slavery was rife, at least

until the conscription of Egyptian fallahin in 1838. For both

Arabicised and non-Arab Sudanese groups, there is evidence of

dissent to this newfound oppression: several revolts took place,

most notably that of 1822 in which Isma’il Pasha was killed, while

enslaved blacks sometimes went as far as to commit suicide in order

rather than be enslaved.

26

Arguments that Egyptian rule was largely

benevolent in the Sudan (however accurate or otherwise) are

irrelevant here; through these systems of slavery and state

monopolisation, the Turkiyya authorities intervened significantly in

everyday life in the Sudan and it difficult to argue that, at least in

these cases, these were conducted far more in the interests of Cairo

than anywhere in the upper Nile.

!

23

Shamil Jeppie, Constructing a colony on the Nile, circa 1820-1870

(Phd thesis; Princeton, 1996), pp. 259-60.

24

Osterhammel, Colonialism, pp. 16-17.

25

Ibrahim, ‘The Egyptian empire’, p. 207.

26

Ibid., p. 206.

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William Vick

There is likewise evidence of a cultural divide between the elite and

local populations in Sudan over the crucial issue of which form of

Islam to adhere to. While much of Sudanese social life, including

education and health, had previously revolved around the fuqara

holy men, often of fiki sufi schools, the Turkiyya attempted to

replace this with the more orthodox Azharite ulama imported from

Cairo. However loyalty to the fuqara was reinforced by opposition

to the imposed ulama, and this attempt to impose orthodox culture

on Sudan largely failed. So in this key sphere of Islamic

sectarianism, again we can see a clear lack of ‘cultural compromise’

between the Turkiyya and its subjects. Even the foundation of

Khartoum as a new administrative centre is indicative of the extent

to which the Ottoman-Egyptian invaders sought to remap the

landscape of power in the Sudan, and discard the previous one.

27

!

So, while we must once again discount Horvath’s definition of

colonialism since there was no large-scale population movement

between Egypt and the Sudan, there is a much stronger case under

Osterhammel’s definition that colonisation did take place in that

area. The policy of the Turkiyya in the Sudan does seem to be one

very much focused on exploitation of natural and human resources,

with much less cultural diffusion or tolerance than took place

between Ottomans and Egyptians in the lower Nile (it is perhaps

unsurprising then that the Mahdiyya attracted such a range of

popular support from across Sudan and South Sudan).

!

Ultimately, whether colonisation took place in Egypt and/or the

Sudan depends on exactly what we mean by ‘colonisation’ or

‘colonialism’, and how tightly or loosely we define these terms. It is

difficult enough to find much in common between European

colonisation in the Americas in the 1500s and in Africa in the

1880s, certainly in terms of demographic movement on which both

27

Jeppie, ‘The work of conquest and violence’, paper presented at

the 5 th International Conference on Sudan Studies, Durham, 2000,

p. 2.

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William Vick

Horvath and Osterhammel’s definitions of colonialism rely; indeed,

it might appear that each of those definitions is based primarily on

those cases respectively. When we add in types of neo-colonialism

and other forms of colonialism that do not require the involvement

of the state or political authority, it becomes nearly impossible to

give a coherent definition of colonisation except something as vague

as any sort of social domination conducted by foreigners at all. And,

as we have seen in Egypt, perceptions of ‘foreignness’ differ: in this

case, the majority or non-elite population clearly identified the

political elite as foreign (whether ‘Ottoman’ or ‘Turkish’), but the

same elite saw themselves as strongly attached to the geographical

concept of Egypt as any other social group.

!

The situation in the Sudan is even more complicated as a result of

these conflicting identities. Here, the Ottoman-Egyptian elite that

saw itself as Egyptian but was not seen as such by the Egyptian

majority engaged in wide-scale exploitation of the Sudan and the

Sudanese. While this is quite clearly an instance of colonialism

under Osterhammel’s definition, can we describe it as ‘Egyptian’

colonialism? If we do, this belies the social and cultural gulf

between native Egyptians or fallahin and the Ottoman/Mısırlı elite,

despite the considerable extent to which the elite did culturally

Egyptianise during this period. But then, describing it as Ottoman

colonialism undermines the fact that the impetus for this

colonialism came almost entirely from within Egypt, and that it was

driven by the Egyptian polity. Terms such as ‘Turkiyya’ and Turkish

are even more misleading since they entirely fail to represent the

variety of ethnic groups that constituted the elite.

!

So, the admittedly clunky term ‘Ottoman-Egyptian’ is perhaps the

most appropriate (or least inappropriate) to use when describing

the complex, multi-ethnic social class that undertook colonial or

colonial-esque actions in both Egypt and the Sudan; although the

crucial distinction between ‘Ottoman-Egyptian’ and the ‘Egyptian’

non-elite or fallahin must be retained. Both Egyptians and

Sudanese were subject to similar colonial measures: slavery, of

!

!74


William Vick

course, was perhaps the most intrusive taking place in the south,

but the fact that Muhammad Ali introduced the conscription of the

Egyptian peasantry precisely because slavery of the black Sudanese

was proving insufficient to his needs indicates that these two

processes were seen as essentially interchangeable from his elite

perspective. That the Ottoman-Egyptian elite saw themselves as

Mısırlı, and therefore do not entirely fulfil the spatial criteria of

colonialism, of course adds a further layer of complexity to this

picture, but that they engaged in a process of social domination

similar to that of colonialism is undeniable.

!

In this case then, it is more accurate to depict an overarching

Ottoman-Egyptian elite class, separated politically though only

slightly culturally from the elite within the rest of the Ottoman

Empire, that colonised both Egypt and Sudan in this period. True,

Egyptians were incorporated into the Sudanese administration and

economy to a limited extent, but overall Ottoman-Egyptian

domination was maintained, and the conscription in Egypt shows

that in general, Egyptians were subject to Ottoman-Egyptian

interests no less than the Sudanese. The implication of all this is, of

course, that there were no ‘colonised colonisers’ in this period. The

Ottoman-Egyptian class were themselves not colonised by any

greater power (at least until the arrival of the British, the role of

whom would require further analysis), and the Egyptian role in

colonising the Sudan was limited and always subordinate to the

Ottoman-Egyptians. Certainly, Egyptian historians attempting to

bolster Muhammad Ali’s nationalist credentials have sought to

identify the Ottoman-Egyptian and Egyptian groups, something

which Western scholars have, rightly, debunked. However, based on

the models of colonialism in Egypt and the Sudan outlined above, it

might be more useful and effective to portray Egyptians, along with

Sudanese, as victims of this international elite, and thereby avert the

need to defend themselves for colonial actions in the Sudan which

they, as a social grouping, did not necessarily commit.

!

!

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William Vick

Bibliography

!

Abir, M., ‘Modernisation, Reaction, and Muhammad Ali’s

‘Empire’’, Middle Eastern Studies, 13 (1977), p. 295-313.

!

Bjørkelo, Anders, Prelude to the Mahdiyya: Peasants and Traders in the

Shendi Region, 1821-1885 (Cambridge, 1989).

!

Eppel, Michael, ‘Note about the term Effendiyya in the History of

the Middle East’, International Journal of Middle East Studies,

41 (2009), pp. 535-539.

!

Holt, Peter M., ‘Egypt and the Nile Valley’, in John E. Flint (ed.),

The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 5: c. 1790-c.1870

(Cambridge, 1976), pp. 12-50.

!

Horvath, Ronald J., ‘A Definition of Colonialism’, Current

Anthropology, 13 (1972), pp. 45-57.

!

Ibrahim, Hassan Ahmed, ‘The Egyptian empire, 1805-1885’, in M.

W. Daly (ed.), The Cambridge History of Egypt, Volume 2:

Modern Egypt from 1517 to the End of the Twentieth Century

(Cambridge, 1998), pp. 198-216.

!

Ibrahim, ‘The Strategy, Responses and Legacy of the First

Imperialist Era in the Sudan 1820-1885’, The Muslim World,

91 (2001).

!

Jankowski, James, ‘Ottomanism and Arabism in Egypt, 1860-1914’,

The Muslim World, 70 (1980), pp. 226-259.

!

Jeppie, Shamil, Constructing a colony on the Nile, circa 1820-1870

(Phd thesis; Princeton, 1996).

!

Jeppie, Shamil, ‘The work of conquest and violence’, paper

presented at the 5th International Conference on Sudan

!

!76


William Vick

Studies, Durham, 2000 [Available at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/

justin.willies/jeppie.htm].

!

Osterhammel, Jürgen, Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview

(Princeton, 2005).

!

Powell, Eve Troutt, Colonized colonizers: Egyptian nationalists and the

issue of the Sudan, 1875-1919 (PhD thesis; Ann Arbor, 1999).

!

Toledano, ‘Review Article: Mehmet Ali Paşa or Muhammad Ali

Basha? An Historiographic Appraisal in the Wake of a Recent

Book’, Middle Eastern Studies, 21 (1985), p. 141-159.

!

Toledano, Ehud R., State and society in mid-nineteenth-century Egypt

(Cambridge, 1990).

!

Vatikiotis, P. J., The History of Modern Egypt: From Muhammad Ali to

Mubarak (Baltimore, 1991).

!

Warburg, Gabriel R., ‘The Turco-Egyptian Sudan: A Recent

Historiographical Controversy’, Die Welt des Islams, New

Series, 31 (1991), pp. 193-215.

!

Warburg, Gabriel R., Islam, Sectarianism and Politics in Sudan since

the Mahdiyya (London, 2003).

!

!

!

!77


Joshua Kaye

Did Marx Think of History as an Historian or as a

Revolutionary?

— Joshua Kaye

!

There is a propensity in modern historiography to separate Marx as

a theorist from his object of enquiry and to situate him in a realm of

“privileged spectatorship.”

1

The question of this paper itself

conforms to this historiographical trend, presupposing that Marx

would “think” of history – fashioning conceptual theories – rather

than considering him to “practise” history – impressing his theories

upon it. The premise of this question therefore lies in testing its

paradigmatic antithesis of “historian” versus “revolutionary,” by

trialling it on all facets of “history:” history as a narrative, as a

general discipline, as a collation of characters and as a revolutionary

tool, with particular though not exclusive emphasis on The

Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. A detailed analysis

concludes that Marx did not treat history as a research tool

confined within its own intellectual constraints

2

but re-cast it into

his own mould. Thus Marx approached history as a “revolutionary

historian,” not in the sense of a convenient amalgamation of the

question’s criteria, but as a historian who did not just “think” of

history but “practised” it.

!

Krieger posits that Marx’s approach to “history” was one of

improvisation; that “political traditions and institutions do not fit

into a simple scheme of economic interpretation” so “to

comprehend both ... [Marx] synthesise[d] them using the concept

1

Ghisalberti Giosue, “Tragedy and Repetition in Marx’s The

Eighteenth Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte,” Clio 26:4 (1997), pp.

411-25.

2

François Furet, Marx and the French Revolution (1988), p. 52.

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Joshua Kaye

of class-struggle.”

3

This assumes that Marx’s theory was trying to

accommodate “history,” when “history” was actually forced to

comply with his model. Scholars should desist from dismissing the

multiplicity of Marx’s hypotheses on the Terror in The German

Ideology as contradictions engendered by his accommodation of

history.

4

Inversely, it is by virtue of his “class struggle” philosophy

that Marx can initially cast the Terror as the incarnation of

bourgeois interests and liberalism, and then characterise the

Robespierrist dictatorship as proletarian.

5

His conceptual model

allows him to arbitrarily reduce political forms to their class

content,

6

revolutionising historical events by mediating their

presentation through his historical paradigm: “History is translated

into theory and it is the latter that then becomes [a new] historical

reality.”

7

!

Marx’s template of “historical necessity” is another wielded from

his arsenal, this time refashioning an accepted Proletarian defeat

into a vital stage towards inevitable fulfilment: “what succumbed in

these defeats was ... the allusions, conceptions, projects, from which

the revolutionary party before ... could not be freed, not by the

victory of February, but only by a series of defeats.”

8

Marx’s

application of his own historical logic sees him revolutionise the

narrative of regression into one of counter-revolution: “the

revolution ... is still journeying through purgatory.”

9

Similarly, Marx

3

L. Krieger, ‘Marx and Engels as historians’ in Bob Jessop with

Charlie Malcolm-Brown (eds.) Karl Marx's social and political

thought: critical assessments vol. II social class and class conflict

(1990), p. 4.

4

François Furet, Marx and the French Revolution (1988), p. 39.

5

Ibid, p. 41.

6

Ibid.

7

Martin E. Spencer, ‘Marx on the State: the events in France

between 1848-1850’, Theory and Society 7 (1979), p. 183.

8

Karl Marx, The Class Struggles in France 1848 to 1850 (1952), p.

27.

9

Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, VII.

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Joshua Kaye

modifies the Second Empire into an efficacious phase of historical

evolution, imposing his own “correct” historical meaning: “the

parody of imperialism was necessary to free the mass of the French

Nation from the weight of tradition.”

10

Ultimately, “the historical

reality is absorbed by the theoretical reality of the paradigmatic

analysis,”

11

and Marx revolutionises the historical landscape by

redefining it with his own model.

Although built upon a materialist mode of analysis,

12

the nature of

the template Marx impressed upon “history” was often conditioned

by his own circumstances. His practice of “history” in Class

Struggles is clearly infused with his “revolutionary optimism in

Spring 1850”

13

as he depicts the proletariat escaping from

ephemeral illusions to achieve their own materialist class

consciousness.

14

Moss contends that Brumaire was spared from this

“revolutionising” as Marx “regarded the developing constitutional

crisis in France with irony and detachment;”

15

essentially that Marx

just “thought” of history. Moss’s myopic thesis has overlooked the

fact that Marx’s subsequent disenchantment with the failed

revolution actually manifests itself onto Brumaire’s pages,

“revolutionising” the events delineated in Class Struggles. The

commitment of workers to socialism after June changes from an

“intellectual victory” to an appeasement of the petty bourgeoisie;

16

the crises of January and March are no longer squandered

opportunities, but are remapped onto the historical timeline as

10

Ibid.

11

Spencer, ‘Marx on the State’, p. 184.

12

Bernard H. Moss, ‘Marx and Engels on French Social

Democracy: Historians or Revolutionaries?’, Journal of the History of

Ideas 46:4 (1985), p. 557.

13

Ibid, p. 540.

14

Ibid.

15

Ibid, p. 552.

16

Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, cited by

ibid, p. 554-555.

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Joshua Kaye

“rehearsals for Napoleon’s coup d’etat.”

17

As Marx subscribes to

the Communist League from 1850, the social democracy he

endorsed in the Communist Manifesto is now criticised in Brumaire

for mollifying the proletariat.

18

The historical narrative then is

revolutionised by Marx in correlation with the circumstantial

nature of his political life.

19

!

This paper must not neglect to qualify why Marx’s schematising of

history is the practice of a “revolutionary historian,” rather than just

a “revolutionary.” Many scholars opt for the latter, seeing Marx as

manacled to his paradigms and therefore compromising historical

objectivity: “cast[ing] what disturbs his vision in the marginalised

role of the parasite.”

20

LaCapra’s contention ignores the fact that

Marx’s socio-economic template facilitated objectivity by

challenging the autonomy of politics in history.

21

Marx also eschews

accusations that he inherently “marginalised” political factors, by

allowing for the reality of ideal motives in political behaviour:

22

“one must not get the narrow-minded notion that the petty

bourgeoisie ... wishes to enforce an egoistic class interest.”

23

Marx’s

schematising also helped “history” as a discipline, overturning the

despondency that followed the dismantling of Hegel’s theories,

when “belief in the possibility of stating valid principles binding

upon all was gradually abandoned.”

24

Some scholars allege that this

was not revolutionary, brandishing theories of Tocqueville and von

17

Marx, Brumaire, cited by ibid.

18

Marx, Brumaire, cited by ibid, p. 555.

19

Ibid, p. 557.

20

Dominick LaCapra ‘Reading Marx: The Case of The Eighteenth

Brumaire’, in idem, Rethinking Intellectual History: Texts, Contexts,

Language (1987), p. 280.

21

Krieger, ‘Marx and Engels as historians’ in Jessop and Malcolm-

Brown (eds.) Marx's Social and Political Thought, p. 56.

22

Spencer, ‘Marx on the State’, p. 174

23

Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, III.

24

George Lichtheim, Marxism: An Historical and Critical Study

(1961), p. 33.

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Joshua Kaye

Stein who claim, like Marx, that historical movement was

predicated on class struggle.

25

These blinkered refutes fail to

acknowledge how both men remained fettered to political

historiography: Tocqueville paid lip service to social elements but

prioritised ethical, and thus political, factors and von Stein’s

dissecting of France into socialist and industrialist camps, implied

that historical development rested upon political parity.

26

Thus,

Marx’s elevation of socio-economic activity was entirely

revolutionary, providing “an absolute principle to subsume the

multiplicity ... of the historical discipline,”

27

and resurrecting the

“possibility” that the totality of the world could be

comprehended.

28

Unlike Esquiros or Louis Blanc, Marx now had

the perspective to parallel the illusion of 1793 with that of 1789 and

see Bonaparte reigniting the Robespierrist Terror in a different

guise.

29

!

Marx’s infamous aphorism can be read as an insight into his

historical approach: “men make their own history ... but under

circumstances ... given and transmitted from the past.” Marx

ensures that he retains his classification as a “historian,” by

recognising that his call for revolution is limited by objective

constraints

30

or “circumstances.” Yet, by locating himself within a

“tradition defined by earlier writings,”

31

he also implies that he will

revolutionise them; he too will “make [his] own history.” The most

niggling of these “earlier writings” for Marx was Hegel’s: “Hegel

remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and

personages appear ... twice. He forgot to add: the first time as

25

Krieger, ‘Marx and Engels as historians’ in Jessop and Malcolm-

Brown (eds.) Marx's Social and Political Thought, p. 55

26

Ibid, p. 56.

27

Ibid, p. 67.

28

Lichtheim, Marxism, p. 35.

29

Furet, Marx and the French Revolution, p. 29.

30

Ibid, p. 50.

31

John Paul Riquelme, ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Karl Marx as

Symbolic Action’, History and Theory 19:1 (1980), p. 58.

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Joshua Kaye

tragedy, the second time as farce.”

32

Marx litters his work with such

counterpoints to Hegel: in the initial paragraph of The Communist

Manifesto, Marx opts for the word “spectre” as a concerted

“burlesque replacement” of the Hegelian “spirit.” In his

Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy, Marx attacks

Hegel’s notion that the state dominates civil society.

33

!

LaCapra conforms to the assumptions of current scholarship in

seeing Marx’s economically determined theory as neglecting human

activity: “the actors of the revolution are rarely mentioned.”

34

LaCapra’s thesis is not unfounded: Marx’s preface to Capital pivots

around “the natural laws of capitalist production”

35

and his prelude

to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy of 1859,

foregrounds “the contradictions of material life.”

36

However, this

cradled supposition is shattered by Brumaire, which not only

“thinks” about human activity but “revolutionises” history about it

in another manifestation of Marx’s exorcism of “earlier writings.”

Indeed, Marx comments on characters in Hugo’s Napoleon the Little

and Proudhon’s Coup d’État in the preface to Brumaire,

37

creating a

perspective to pit his approach against theirs.

38

Marx appears to

jeopardise his exorcism however, painting Napoleon’s actions as the

elevated material of tragedy, pandering to Hugo’s theory of the

heroic individual driving history, and also casts Louis as acting in

low farce, following Proudhon’s negation of the autonomy of

32

Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, I.

33

Christopher Pierson, The Marx Reader (1997), p. 7.

34

LaCapra cited by Ghisalberti Giosue, “Tragedy and Repetition in

Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte,” Clio 26:4

(1997).

35

Karl Marx, Capital cited by Christopher Pierson, The Marx

Reader (1997), p. 12.

36

Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy of

1859 cited by Krieger, ‘Marx and Engels as historians’ in Jessop and

Malcolm-Brown (eds.) Marx's Social and Political Thought, p. 64.

37

Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Preface.

38

Riquelme, ‘Brumaire as Symbolic Action’, p. 68.

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Joshua Kaye

human action in a history determined by prior events.

39

Any

scholar lulled into this Marxist bait must recognise that such a

compromise would leave a work that was “dichotomous rather than

dialectical,”

40

undermining Marx’s freedom to “make [his] own

history.” Therefore Marx ultimately subverts these historians,

debunking the myth of Napoleon by levelling the uncle to the status

of his nephew: “when the imperial mantle finally falls on the

shoulders of Louis Bonaparte, the bronze statue of Napoleon will

come crashing down.”

41

Brumaire therefore sees “the antithetical

uncle and nephew, 1799 and 1851 ... opposed approaches to

history ... all combined in the white light of Marx's comic

perspective.”

42

With the ghosts of Hegel, Hugo and Proudhon

exorcised by revolutionising their works, Marx can write his “own

history”: “Brumaire is part of [this] declaration of independence.”

43

For Giosue, Marx shows trepidation about the past, as he presents

a bourgeoisie shackled to history which “weighs like a nightmare on

the brains of the living”

44

and writes in a letter to Ruge that the

philistine world of Germany “had to remain ... far behind the

French Revolution.”

45

Giosue must remove his blinkers and notice

that Marx supplants these ideas later in Brumaire and The German

Ideology. In the former, he confirms that for early revolutionaries

“the awakening of the dead ... served the purpose of glorifying the

39

Ibid, p. 69.

40

Ibid.

41

Marx, Brumaire, VII.

42

Pierson, The Marx Reader, p. 7.

43

L.C. Groopman, ‘A Re-reading of Marx’s The Eighteenth

Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’, Journal of European Studies, 12:2

(1982), p. 114.

44

Marx, Brumaire, I.

45

Letter to Ruge cited by Jerrold Seigel, ‘Politics, Memory, Illusion:

Marx and the French Revolution’, in Furet and Ozouf (eds.) in The

French Revolution and the Creation of Modern Political Culture Vol. 3,

p. 626.

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Joshua Kaye

new struggles.”

46

In the latter, he ties together French and German

paths he had separated, lauding the German burghers who “have

now got almost as far as the French bourgeoisie of 1789”

47

and

seeing in the ancien régime a model for German emancipation.”

That Marx can so liberally revise his opinions is itself a testament to

his control over the past, in contrast to the bourgeoisie. This control

means he can create the radical breach capable of revolutionising

“history” in its future manifestations, as he does in seeing the future

of the German revolution in French “history.” Marx also earns his

label as a “historian” here. By showing how revolutions are

spawned from historical precedents, he shows “history ... [as] the

midwife of revolutions,”

48

thereby preserving “the preeminent

historical dignity of the idea of revolutions.”

49

!

Seigel implies that Marx’s “revolutionary” association of the

German and French Revolutions is simply mutton dressed as lamb,

as this idea had already been formulated.

50

Hegel in Phenomenology

had asserted that the French Revolution’s contradictions would be

resolved when it passed “into another land of self-conscious spirit”

and Heine had connected this to Germany, seeing the German

Revolution as “a drama compared to which the French Revolution

will seem but an innocent idyll.”

51

However, Marx did not just toe

this pre-existing line, as Seigel implies, but revolutionised the purely

theoretical status of these idealist schemes into instruments of

revolution: “History ... culminated not in the intellectual

contemplation of the past, but in the deliberate shaping of the

46

Marx, Brumaire, I.

47

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology (Moscow,

1968), pp.213-214.

48

Inversion of François Furet’s “revolutions ... are the midwives of

history," Marx and The French Revolution (1988), p. 4.

49

Ibid, p. 11.

50

Jerrold Seigel, ‘Politics, Memory, Illusion: Marx and the French

Revolution’, in Furet and Ozouf (eds.) The French Revolution and

the Creation of Modern Political Culture Vol. 3, p. 626.

51

Ibid, p. 626.

!!85


Joshua Kaye

future.”

52

To execute this transformation from theory to practice,

Marx provided the proletariat: “only in the proletariat can it [a

philosophical nation] discover the active agent of its

emancipation.”

53

Marx had truly revolutionised “history” by gifting

it a practical manifestation, earmarking “an end of philosophy – in

the traditional sense of the term – by ‘realising’ its aims.”

54

!

Lichthein sidesteps the historiographical tendency to pigeon-hole

Marx as a “revolutionary” or a “historian”: “the sociologist in him

could have discovered ample ground for discarding the idea of total

freedom; ... to have done so would have meant abandoning the

central energising concept which ... turned ... Marx into a

revolutionary.”

55

Yet, Lichthein clearly cannot help but identify a

tension between the two, an inherently short-sighted assertion

considering the revolutionary “energising concept” was exactly

what defined Marx in his study as a “historian:” (to tweak

LaCapra’s thesis), “Marx does not simply provide an ... analytic

explanation of [history]; he also offers a robust critique of [history]

and ... tries to effect a change in the larger [discipline’s] context.”

56

He does not indulge in “privileged spectatorship” but reupholsters

the fabric of history: the historical narrative by squeezing it into

paradigms, the discipline by modifying Hegel, Hugo and

Proudhon’s ideas, entrenched character assumptions about the

Napoleons and the limited theoretical incarnations of “history.” As

he chastises Feuerbach for “regard[ing] the theoretical attitudes as

the only genuinely human attitude,” scholars can hear Marx

screaming retorts to the question’s implication that he would simply

“think” of history. Indeed he essentially gifts scholars the answer to

52

Lichtheim, Marxism, p. 40.

53

Marx, Early Writings, pp. 415-6 cited by Furet, Marx and the

French Revolution, p.10.

54

Lichtheim, Marxism, p. 55.

55

Ibid, p. 36.

56

LaCapra ‘Reading Marx: The Case of The Eighteenth Brumaire’,

in idem, Rethinking Intellectual History: Texts, Contexts, Language, p.

290.

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Joshua Kaye

defining his historical approach, as he takes issue with philosophers

who do not act, who “have only interpreted the world; ... the point

is to change it.” If Marx hereby urges the blurring of boundaries

between practice as a “revolutionary” and as an intellectual, it

would be artificial for us not to credit him as a “revolutionary

historian.”

!

!

!87


Joshua Kaye

Bibliography

!

Marx, Karl, The Class Struggles in France 1848 to 1850 (1952).

!

Marx, Karl, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, VII transl.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18thbrumaire/.

!

Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich. The German Ideology (Moscow,

1968).

!

Marx, Karl. Theses on Feuerbach transl.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/

theses.htm

!

Giosue, Ghisalberti, ‘Tragedy and Repetition in Marx’s The

Eighteenth Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte’, Clio 26:4 (1997),

pp.411-25.

!

Groopman, L.C., ‘A Re-reading of Marx’s The Eighteenth

Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’, Journal of European Studies,

12:2 (1982).

!

Furet, François, Marx and the French Revolution (1988).

!

Krieger, L., ‘Marx and Engels as historians’ in Bob Jessop with

Charlie Malcolm-Brown (eds.) Karl Marx's Social and Political

Thought: Critical Assessments Vol. II: Social Class and Class

Conflict (1990).

!

LaCapra, Dominick, ‘Reading Marx: The Case of The Eighteenth

Brumaire’, in idem, Rethinking Intellectual History: Texts,

Contexts, Language (1987).

!

Lichtheim, George, Marxism: An Historical and Critical Study

(1961).

!!88


!

Joshua Kaye

Moss, Bernard H., ‘Marx and Engels on French Social Democracy:

Historians or Revolutionaries?’, Journal of the History of Ideas

46:4 (1985).

!

Pierson, Christopher, The Marx Reader (1997).

!

Riquelme, John Paul, ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Karl Marx as

Symbolic Action’, History and Theory 19:1 (1980).

!

Seigel, Jerrold. ‘Politics, Memory, Illusion: Marx and the French

Revolution’, in Furet and Ozouf (eds.) in The French

Revolution and the Creation of Modern Political Culture Vol. 3.

!

Spencer, Martin E., ‘Marx on the State: the events in France

between 1848-1850’, Theory and Society 7 (1979).

!

!

Sperber, Jonathan, Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life (2013).

!

!89


Victoria Cacchione

Why were so many Victorians unsettled by evolutionary

theories?

— Victoria Cacchione

!

Since Galileo, scientists have questioned theological doctrine

concerning Earth’s creation and place in the universe. In the

eighteenth and nineteenth centuries many theories on the topic of

creation surfaced. In the late eighteenth century, William Paley

introduced a theory that became known as Paleyism. This

hypothesis connected science and religion arguing that nature’s

existence proved God’s presence in the world.

1

Following this in the

early nineteenth century, the geologist Charles Lyell suggested the

idea of Uniformitarianism. This theory connected the beliefs of

creationism with the emerging understanding of the world’s

longevity. It did so through the idea that as species became extinct

some form of metaphysical force replaced them with new ones.

2

Then, in the middle of the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin

proposed his theory of Natural Selection, which effectively

contradicted the previous theories. He suggested that species

evolved as variations of previous species, not as unique beings.

3

!

Those most vocal in their responses to the evolution theories

included scientists and theologians. The emergence of the various

theories directly impacted scientists and clerics as they either

legitimized or struck down the beliefs of these two groups. Charles

Darwin’s explanation of evolution greatly deviated from popular

belief of God’s role in creation leading to one of the most

1

Charles Coulston Gillispie, Genesis and Geology: A Study in the

Relations of Scientific Thought, Natural Theology and Social Opinion in

Great Britain, 1790-1850 (New York, 1951), p. 3.

2

Ernst Mayr, One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of

Modern Evolutionary Thought (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1991), p.

16.

3

Darwin, On the Origin of Species, p. 6.

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Victoria Cacchione

prominent debates among scientists and theologians in the

nineteenth century. Thus, his theory acted as a catalyst for the

paradigm shift that occurred within scientific and religious ideology

regarding evolution as illustrated through Adam Sedgwick’s clear

opposition to Darwin, the Oxford Debate of 1860, and Frederick

Temple’s contribution to Essays and Reviews in 1861.

!

Before Charles Darwin published his work on Natural Selection,

many scientists and theologians presented their own hypotheses on

the origins of the earth. Two of the main theories that preceded

Darwin’s include Uniformitarianism and Paleyism. As Robert

Young argues in Darwin’s Metaphor, early evolutionists such as

Charles Lyell and William Paley sought to make their theories

compatible with nature, man, and God.

4

Therefore, each sought to

explain the existence of fossils and other anomalies in ways that did

not detract from God’s role in the creation of the earth.

!

Central to the debate on evolution is the question of how science

relates to religion. William Paley’s belief in the principle of natural

theology conveniently reconciled the two realms. As Charles

Coulston Gillispie discusses in Genesis and Geology, Paleyism relied

strongly on Divine Providence and God’s role in creation.

5

To

support his theory of natural theology, Paley emphasized the design

of nature pointing to evidence of God’s will. This allowed him to

ignore historical and geological accounts of Earth’s origins.

6

!

A second influential theory, Uniformitarianism, relied heavily on

geological evidence as well as religious principles. The founder,

Charles Lyell, also believed that God created all species and sought

to connect his findings with his religious views.

7

The theory of

Uniformitarianism, as Walter Cannon relates, presented the idea

4

Ibid., p.10.

5

Gillispie, Genesis and Geology, p. 219.

6

Ibid., p. 39.

7

Mayr, One Long Argument, p. 12.

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Victoria Cacchione

that the Earth experienced an unlimited number of recurring

stages.

8

Lyell believed a divine force filled the gaps created in

nature during these phases, effectively maintaining a connection

between creationism and his scientific deductions.

9

!

While these two theories constituted the leading scientific beliefs of

the nineteenth century, a third theory based on economics slightly

mirrors Darwin’s ideas on evolution. As the number of factories

began to rapidly increase throughout England, the shift from an

agrarian to an industrial society impacted the food production.

Reverend Thomas Malthus addressed this issue in his Essay on the

Principle of Population. In his essay, Malthus argued that the growing

population would impede the balance of nature as God would not

provide enough food to feed everyone.

10

!

Malthus strengthened his argument with mathematical evidence,

stating that the population would increase twice as fast as the

nation’s food supply. This work affected scientists, especially natural

theologians, as it conflicted with their strict belief in God’s

benevolence and presence in nature.

11

These three theories closely

relate to Darwin’s theory of evolution because his notions rejected

the principles of natural theology while expanding on some aspects

of both Uniformitarianism and the laws of population.

!

When Charles Darwin published On the Origins of Species in 1859,

he entered into an ongoing discussion of Earth’s origins and

evolution. However, the ideas he presented in this work sparked a

major debate among scientists and theologians. His theories

included variation under domestication, variation under nature,

8

Walter F. Cannon, “The Impact of Uniformitarianism,”

Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 105 (1961), p. 301.

9

Mayr, One Long Argument, p. 16.

10

Gillispie, Genesis and Geology, p. 2.

11

Ibid.

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Victoria Cacchione

struggle for existence, Natural Selection, and laws of variation.

12

These theories taken together generated major conflict among

scientists as well as between them and the clergy.

!

One of Darwin’s main goals in On the Origins of Species was to

clarify the means of modification and co-adaptation. Therefore, he

investigates the differences in the alterations that occur depending

on the circumstances beginning with observing domesticated

species, both plants and animals.

13

From this study, Darwin

concludes that, “the accumulative action of Selection… is by far the

predominant Power.”

14

Such a belief gives humans the control over

the development of species, not God. Darwin defends his

conclusions in Origins stating, “a naturalist…might come to the

conclusion that each species had not been independently created,

but had descended, like varieties, from other species.”

15

However,

scientists clinging to the idea of natural theology and theologians

were outraged that his work diminished the role of God.

!

Next, Darwin focuses on the variations within species that appear

in nature. Prefacing this section of his work, Darwin states,

“generally the term [species] includes the unknown element of a

distinct act of creation.”

16

From this definition, one assumes

Darwin is making the link to the theological explanation that God

created all species. However, this chapter emphasizes the important

role nature itself plays in the adaptation of species. Darwin

distinguishes between species and the varieties that appear in

nature, the latter being a subgroup of the original. Following this,

Darwin explores the theory of struggle for existence and introduces

the idea of survival of the fittest. When discussing this concept, he

references Malthus’ law on population to illustrate the rapid

12

13

14

15

16

Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 3.

Ibid., p. 7.

Ibid., p. 36.

Ibid., p. 6.

Ibid., p. 37.

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Victoria Cacchione

increase in species. Darwin goes on to state, “the vigorous, the

healthy, and the happy survive and multiply.”

17

These strong and

healthy members of any species determine which attributes

continue to be passed on to the next generation, leading to

Darwin’s well-known theory of Natural Selection.

!

Darwin defines his theory of Natural Selection as, “preservation of

favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations.”

18

He

credits nature with choosing to retain the useful traits of a certain

species to descend to the next generation, while discarding the

unnecessary ones. The selection process occurs when a population

experiences a drastic change in the environment. Those best

equipped to handle their new surroundings survive while those

without successful traits die out.

19

Thus, the composition of a

species is constantly adapting. Darwin expands on his belief of

Natural Selection in the following chapter with further analysis of

his laws of variation as a whole. He manages to relate all forms and

methods of modification to the idea of Natural Selection, asserting

that the modifications allow for creatures to be in competition with

one another, and only the best adapted survive.

20

!

Ultimately, Darwin’s arguments in On the Origins of Species focus on

the importance of the role of Natural Selection and the theory of

descent with modification. Nature determines which traits allow

beings to survive leading to a change within the genetic

composition of a species, which then gets passed down to the next

generation. Nowhere in his reasoning does Darwin attempt to

reconcile his ideas with the role of God. Some intellectuals of the

time, including Anglican priest, Charles Kingsley, attempted to

merge Darwin’s theories with religious beliefs. Kingsley defended

Darwin’s theories stating, “We know of old that God was so wise

17

18

19

20

Ibid., p. 62.

Ibid., p. 63.

Ibid., p. 64.

Ibid., p. 128.

!

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Victoria Cacchione

that he could make all things; but, behold, he is so much wiser than

even that, that he can make all things make themselves.”

21

However,

to many others his theories continued to conflict with already

existing principles that better conformed to the religious beliefs of

the nineteenth century.

!

The most outspoken of Darwin’s opponents was none other than

his own professor, Adam Sedgwick. According to Gertrude

Himmelfarb, Sedgwick, a professor of Geology at Cambridge and

an Anglican, believed in the moral and metaphysical aspects of

nature.

22

In a letter to Darwin following his initial reading of On

the Origins of Species, Sedgwick attacked Darwin’s theory. Sedgwick

accused Darwin of attempting to discredit the role of the

metaphysical laws of nature within science, as Darwin chose to

focus on the impact of man and the concrete aspects of nature (i.e.

genetics, mutations visible over time) rather than God as the main

creator.

23

In an article published in The Spectator, Sedgwick also

accused Darwin of deducing his opinions from a single false

premise. This response to Darwin’s theory resonated with many in

the religious community. Those who concurred with Sedgwick’s

disapproval of Darwin’s theories did so for many reasons. Some

worried about what Darwin’s beliefs implied about the civilisation

of man.

24

Others feared that notions such as Darwin’s would

detract from God’s role in controlling the material world.

25

!

Further illustrating the conflict between science and religion is the

debate between Archbishop Samuel Wilberforce and emerging

scientist, Thomas Henry Huxley that occurred on July 30, 1860. As

21

John Dillenberger, Protestant Thought and Natural Science (Garden

City, New York, 1960), 233.

22

Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution

(Chicago, 1962), p. 269.

23

Ibid.

24

Ibid., p. 271.

25

Gillispie, Genesis and Geology, p. 227.

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Victoria Cacchione

J. Vernon Jensen articulates in his article, ‘Return to the

Wilberforce-Huxley Debate’, the confrontation between

Wilberforce and Huxley began when each received the opportunity

to respond to Professor John William Draper’s paper that discussed

Darwin’s theories. Wilberforce spoke first and immediately attacked

Darwin’s beliefs on the evolution of species, asking Huxley directly,

“whether he would prefer a monkey for his grandfather or his

grandmother.”

26

Huxley calmly responded he preferred an ape to

an ignorant man and continued to defend Darwin’s theories. As one

eyewitness remembered, “he maintained that it was the best

explanation of the origin of species which had yet been offered.”

27

!

This debate between Wilberforce and Huxley not only highlights

the conflicting views of religion and new scientific ideology, it also

exemplifies the emerging paradigm shift occurring within the

scientific realm. Among scientists, the dispute manifested between

younger scientists who supported Darwin and older, more

conservative scientists who clung to the idea of natural theology.

Darwin himself acknowledged that his theory would only be

accepted once the new generation of scientists replaced the older

generation.

28

Because each side claimed the victory in this debate,

the Wilberforce-Huxley debate illustrates the beginning of this shift

towards the acceptance of Darwin’s theory. Each side received

adequate support for their arguments showing that the intellectual

community as well as the public slowly began to embrace this new

ideology.

26

J. Vernon Jensen, “Return to the Wilberforce-Huxley Debate,”

British Journal for the History of Science, 21 (1988), p. 166.

27

The Evening Star, “One eyewitness reported that Huxley

developed his contention with the following analogy: ‘Belated on a

roadless common in a dark night, if a lantern were offered to me,

should I refuse it because it shed imperfect light? I think not – I

think not,’” 2 July, p. 3. As see in “Return to the Wilberforce –

Huxley Debate, “ by J. Vernon Jensen in British Journal of History of

Science, 21(1988), p. 168.

28

Jensen, “Return to the Wilberforce-Huxley Debate,” p. 174.

!!96


!

Victoria Cacchione

Only a year after this important debate, a collection of articles of

biblical criticism entitled Essays and Reviews was published. This

work further encouraged the shift in ideology towards evolutionary

theories based more on scientific laws than religious beliefs, as John

Durant argues in his essay “Darwinism and Divinity.” In particular,

Frederick Temple’s ‘The Education of the World’ espouses a

message of acceptance of and respect for the truth.

29

Within his

argument, Temple reconciles Darwin’s theories with natural

theology stating, “He (God) did not make the things, we may say;

no, but He made them make themselves.”

30

This statement

indicates a movement towards a more progressive viewpoint in

understanding evolutionary theory.

!

While many evolutionary theories appeared before and during the

nineteenth century, Charles Darwin’s theory on evolution created

the greatest unrest amongst the intellectual community, particularly

among biologists, geologists, and theologians. His theory expanded

and enhanced the changing views of evolution, beginning with

Lyell’s geological explanation of Uniformitarianism that

encouraged Darwin to explore the evolution of species further. His

ideas challenged the beliefs of those of the older generation taught

to reconcile their scientific findings with religious teachings. These

same scholars refused to acknowledge the credibility of the newer

generation’s concepts that separated science and religion. Darwin’s

theory of evolution, particularly Natural Selection, proved to be the

main catalyst for the shift from natural theology to evolution as the

dominant principle in scientific thought from the late nineteenth

century onwards.

!

29

John Durant, ed., Darwinism and Divinity (Oxford, 1985), p. 19.

30

Ibid., p. 20.

!!97


Victoria Cacchione

Bibliography

!

“One eyewitness reported that Huxley developed his contention

with the following analogy: ‘Belated on a roadless common in

a dark night, if a lantern were offered to me, should I refuse it

because it shed imperfect light? I think not – I think not,’”

The Evening Star, 2 July, p. 3

!

Darwin, Charles, On the Origin of Species (Oxford University Press:

Oxford, 2008)

!

Dillenberger, John, Protestant Thought and Natural Science

(Doubleday & Company, Inc.: Garden City, New York, 1960)

!

Durant, John, (ed.), Darwinism and Divinity: Essays on Evolution and

Religious Belief (Basil Blackwell: Oxford, 1985)

!

Gillispie, Charles Coulston, Genesis and Geology (Harper

Torchbooks: New York, 1951)

!

Golby, J.M., (ed.), Culture and Society in Britain, 1850-1890 (Oxford

University Press: Oxford, 1988)

!

Himmelfarb, Gertrude, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution

(Elephant Paperbacks: Chicago, 1962)

!

Hull, David L., “Deconstructing Darwin: Evolutionary Theory in

Context” Journal of the History of Biology, 38 (2005) pp.

137-152

!

Jensen, J. Vernon. “Return to the Wilberforce-Huxley Debate”

British Journal for the History of Science, 21 (1988) pp. 161-179

!

Mayr, Ernst, One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of

Modern Evolutionary Thought (Harvard University Press:

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1991)

!

!98


!

Victoria Cacchione

Young, Robert M., Darwin’s Metaphor (Cambridge University

Press: Cambridge, 1985)

!

!

!99


Hannah Fitzpatrick

How was British Monarchism Sustained Throughout

the Nineteenth-Century?

— Hannah Fitzpatrick

!

Popular monarchism had a lot to contend with in the nineteenth

century. Britain witnessed political turmoil, revolution,

republicanism and the overthrow of monarchies across Europe. The

children of George III were highly unpopular, the colonies were

lost, the Crown was opposed to popular reform, and Victoria

continued to interfere in politics before disappearing on the death

of Albert. However, Bagehot’s classic The English Constitution

(1867) dedicates an entire chapter to the monarchy, and portrays a

vigorously healthy institution at the heart of national sentiment.

1

The historiography of why royalist sentiment was so continually

sustained, despite circumstances, is complex. The most popular

theory, of the development of a ‘welfare monarchy’, has been

proposed by Frank Prochaska. He suggests that the British royal

family were able to escape overthrow by embracing charitable and

social causes.

2

Nevertheless, recent historiography stresses the

importance of a full contextual appreciation of monarchy.

Prochaska’s argument can be developed by synthesising royal

philanthropy with a deeper consideration of other nuances and

contributing factors of contemporary monarchy. With this, the

historian can go a long way to fully explaining the continued

success of the British royal family. David Cannadine has established

ten contextual criteria for the examination of royal ritual and

ceremonial in modern Britain. He examines aspects from the

attitude of the media to the condition of the capital city, and

employs each of these features to reach a conclusion. In keeping

with the idea that you must explore all aspects of monarchy to truly

1

Walter Bagehot, The English Constitution (London, 1867), p. 82.

2

Frank Prochaska, Royal Bounty: The Making of a Welfare Monarchy,

(Yale, 1995).

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Hannah Fitzpatrick

understand it, these ten features can be transfigured and expanded

in order to examine the survival of the institution.

3

These criteria

thus provide an excellent framework for the consideration of how

the British monarchy managed to survive and prosper in a period of

dramatic upheaval.

!

Cannadine’s first contextual criterion is that of the monarch's

intrinsic political power - the extent to which the king or queen

could truly influence civic life.

4

After the French Revolution

damaged monarchism, rendering it vulnerable to an industrialised,

enfranchised world, the institution of monarchy was on shaky

ground. Many other European monarchies collapsed, as they no

longer had any apparent philosophical or political meaning. The

first part of the nineteenth century saw the monarchy lose a great

deal of its political powers. The Reform Act and Catholic

emancipation greatly weakened its control over the Commons; the

Regency weakened the involvement of the sovereign in political

affairs; and George IV gave up the traditional prerogative of the

monarch to choose a Prime Ministerial successor in 1827. The

monarch, according to Bagehot, only had three ‘real’ rights by 1867

– the right to be consulted, the right to encourage and the right to

warn.

5

However, Victoria actually had great influence in politics,

despite Bagehot and others confidently declaring her

unemployment. Frank Hardie goes so far as to say that “there can

seldom have been a better political secret!”

6

Despite ostensibly

‘retiring’ from public life, the Queen was still politically active until

the end of her reign. As late as 1892, she denied Labordere a

position in the Cabinet, viewing him to be too radical for

3

David Cannadine, (1983) in Hobsbawm and Ranger (ed.), The

Invention of Tradition (Cambridge, 1983), p. 103.

4

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 106.

5

Bagehot, The English Constitution, p. 111.

6

Frank Hardie, The Political Influence of the British Monarchy

1865-1952 (London, 1970), p. 1.

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Hannah Fitzpatrick

government.

7

All things considered, there is a great deal to be said

for Bagehot’s theory rather than the reported the constitutional

history of the monarchy. Accurately, Cannon finds that the extent

of royal powers has been underestimated.

8

Nairn goes even further,

pithily describing Bagehot’s theory as “a bit of self-congratulatory

twaddle."

9

However, when the monarchy became publicly

disassociated with the cut and thrust of politics, it was somehow

rendered acceptable to partake in charity, and so loss of political

power can be seen as the birth of the ‘welfare monarchy’. The

monarchy’s support for charitable causes and voluntary endeavours

allowed it to remain its position in society long after its original

political role was extinguished. By identifying itself with worthy,

‘moral’ causes, the monarchy could stand above political –

especially parliamentary – conflict and appear much more in touch

with civil society. The weakening of royal political power also helped

to disarm the traditional radical argument against the monarch, as

there simply was no longer any absolute or quasi-absolute sovereign

to argue against. All in all, as Cannon suggests, if it had not lost its

political powers the British monarchy would “certainly have

perished.”

10

Political disengagement, or the illusion of it, helped

sustain pro-monarchical sentiment.

!

Cannadine’s second contextual factor is the personality and specific

characteristics of the monarch, and how people viewed them.

11

For

the purposes of further argument, combining this second aspect

with his third factor – a consideration of the socioeconomic state of

the country – can reveal much about nineteenth-century

monarchism and ‘welfare monarchy’. It is a universal truism that

7

John Cannon, The Stenton Lecture 1986: The Modern British

Monarchy: a study in adaptation (Reading, 1986), pp. 12-13.

8

Ibid., p. 17.

9

Marilyn Morris, The British Monarchy and the French Revolution

(Yale, 1998), p. 4.

10

Cannon, The Stenton Lecture, p. 4.

11

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 106.

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Hannah Fitzpatrick

people will always feel more sympathy towards an institution that

they feel accurately represents, cares for, and reacts to their

personal and social circumstances. The ability of the nineteenthcentury

monarchy to adapt to the nineteenth-century world, despite

being swathed in tradition, was remarkable. The nineteenth century

saw mass industrialisation and urbanisation, the emergence of a

truly ‘modern’ middle-class demographic and new bourgeois

culture. As a general rule, nineteenth-century Britain was serious,

moralistic and restrained compared to its Hanoverian predecessor.

Moreover, the years 1760-1820 saw a massive increase in the

number of charitable and voluntary organisations. Prochaska

quotes Charles Greville, who claimed, “we are just now overrun

with philanthropy."

12

There was widespread social concern like

never before. In line with this, royal dedication to good works rather

than aristocratic debauchery enamoured the public with the

institution. Ian Bradley quotes Prince Albert on the purpose of

monarchy in a new age of political ‘unemployment’ – “to be the

headship of philanthropy."

13

The monarchy had traditionally been

associated with charity and good works, notably in ceremonies such

as the distribution of Maundy money and the touching for the

king’s evil. Prochaska argues that this limited tradition of infrequent

voluntarism was particularly transformed by the development of the

idea of nobility. Whereas Tudor and Stuart monarchs wished to

seem masculine, powerful, and distant, the idea of noblesse oblige

instead emphasised the monarch as humble servant of the people.

14

Meanwhile, at a time of weakening political power, acts of charity

created dependent and grateful subjects, an update of the patronage

model of medieval royal government.

15

!

12

Ibid., p. 1.

13

Ian Bradley, God Save the Queen: The Spiritual Dimension of

Monarchy (London, 2002) p. 121.

14

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 5-7.

15

Ibid. p.7.

!!103


Hannah Fitzpatrick

Bradley argues that the rise in monarchical feeling in the reign of

George III can be put down to his “earnestness, conscientious

exercise of his duties and absolute propriety."

16

The king and his

wife led a simple, fruitful and faithful family life, appealing firmly to

the dominant middle of society. George is also thought to have

donated at least £14,000 a year to charitable causes, and was the

patron of nine charitable institutions.

17

William Wilberforce,

commenting at the time, said that such work “softened the glare of

royalty and confirmed attachment to the throne."

18

The reign of

George IV saw a hiatus in this dedication to voluntary enterprise, as

dissolute living rather than charity became more associated with

royal behaviour. Tellingly, Cannadine describes George III’s

children the “most unloved royal generation in English history."

19

Nevertheless, the reigns of George III’s two eldest sons still saw the

shaky development of the ‘welfare monarchy’ and this did continue

to have an impact on monarchical sentiment. Although Queen

Caroline was not so well known for her involvement in voluntary

activities, she was still the patron of charities such as the Royal

Jennerian Society, and attended public lectures on social issues.

20

Purdue’s article on Queen Adelaide argues that her welldocumented

involvement in philanthropy made the monarchy

“more acceptable” and helped its progression from risky

Hanoverianism to the “serene security” of the Victorian age.

21

!

Queen Victoria, meanwhile, had a strict and sheltered upbringing

according to the ‘Kensington System’. Peter Gordon and Denis

16

Bradley, God Save the Queen, p. 116.

17

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 12-3.

18

Ibid. p.36.

19

Cannadine in Hobsbawm and Ranger, The Invention of Tradition,

p. 109.

20

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 23.

21

A.W. Purdue, ‘Queen Adelaide: Malign Influence or Consort

Maligned?’ in Clarissa Campbell Orr (ed.), Queenship in Britain

1660-1837: Royal Patronage, court culture and dynastic politics

(Manchester, 2002) p. 267.

!!104


Hannah Fitzpatrick

Lawton's study of Victoria's childhood suggests that this Protestant

and moralistic upbringing firmly influenced the Queen’s charitable

adult conduct.

22

On discovering that she was to be Queen, Victoria

is commonly supposed to have exclaimed “I will be good." Such

anecdotes reinforced the public opinion that the young princess was

the antithesis of her unpopular uncles. Victoria was also deliberately

exposed to the social life of Britain, visiting towns, cities, slums, the

opera, and hospitals.

23

Victoria married Albert of Saxe-Coburg in

1840, and his influence on the state of nineteenth-century

monarchism was undoubtedly significant. Historians disagree

whether the Prince was a royalist nuisance, whose ‘Germanism’

held the monarchy back, or an enlightened philanthropist who

brought the institution into a new age. He certainly brought both

the drive of an unemployed and clever prince, and the fierce

Lutheran values of his homeland, and dedicated himself to the

improvement of the nation. Cannadine uses the term ‘Balmorality’

to sum up the royal couple’s attitude to their roles and the Crown.

24

Victoria conducted a Bible class for the children of her staff at

Buckingham Palace, visited poor tenants at Balmoral and she and

Albert were patrons of countless charities. This spread to their

children - even the dissolute Prince of Wales was carrying out nearly

fifty philanthropic engagements a year by the 1890s.

25

Cannadine’s

response to Prochaska in 1995 notes that, in a time of political

unemployment, “doing good was just about the only thing left for

him – apart from doing bad."

26

!

In keeping with an examination of personal characteristics of

monarchy and representation of the populace, much has been said

of the role of gender in nineteenth-century monarchism. As well as

22

Peter Gordon and Denis Lawton, Royal Education: Past, Present

and Future (London, 1999) p. 140.

23

Ibid. p. 143.

24

David Cannadine, History in Our Time (London, 1998) p. 5.

25

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 83.

26

Cannadine, History in Our Time, p. 28.

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Hannah Fitzpatrick

the development of the concept of constitutional monarchy,

historians such as Clarissa Campbell-Orr argue that the nineteenthcentury

monarchy saw a shift towards “feminisation." There was a

decided decline of the traditional ‘masculine' values of war making,

politics and courtly pomp. Orr argues that instead, ‘‘‘feminine

values’ associated with philanthropy moved to the forefront” in the

period between 1760 and 1837.

27

The role of Queen Consorts has

been seen as particularly important in the inauguration of this shift,

as women such as Charlotte of Meckenburg-Strelitz and Adelaide

of Saxe-Meningen focused royal attention on charitable enterprise.

Dorothy Thompson’s socialist and feminist study of nineteenthcentury

monarchism argues that women effectively ‘saved’ the

Hanoverians.

28

She also accurately views Victoria’s gender as a

European exceptionalism that contributed to the monarchy’s

survival.

29

Moreover, as Thompson further argues, this link between

monarchism and feminisation became much easier when Albert

died.

30

As a great – and now singular - figure of matriarchal

majesty, Victoria became, as in the words of one Victorian minister,

“the nursing-mother of a Christian population."

31

As mother-queen

of her people, involved in charitable enterprises and politically

‘powerless’, Victoria developed the image of a popular loving and

benevolent parent. Developing the idea of the Queen as a

matriarch, Bagehot tellingly placed importance on the notion of a

family on the throne, with their intelligible actions appealing to

common human – especially female - nature.

32

This was a

development of Hanoverian monarchy, as Prochaska argues that

George III’s voluntary activities meant that his subjects saw him as

a “kindly parent," and contemporary sources frequently refer to the

27

Clarissa Campbell Orr, Queenship in Britain, p. 4.

28

Cannadine, History in Our Time, p. 42.

29

Ibid., p. 46.

30

Cannadine, History in Our Time, p. 45.

31

Bradley, God Save the Queen, p. 130.

32

Bagehot, The English Constitution, p. 85.

!!106


Hannah Fitzpatrick

king as ‘father’.

33

The public saw his quietly domestic court, and

the court of Queen Victoria, as paragons of the sentimentalised

social ideal. This helped shift public opinion towards sympathetic

monarchism – the royal family, rather than a group of disparate and

dissolute individuals, became our family, a family representative of

the nation.

!

Moving away from personality and representation, Cannadine’s

fourth contextual aspect of royal ritual involves the examination of

the role of the media.

34

The expansion of the newspaper and mass

media in this period shed a great deal of light on the royal family. In

particular, photography and mass printing can be seen as crucial

through their wide distribution of royalist images. Various images of

the Queen ensconced in domestic bliss, surrounded by her husband

and children in the most normal of family settings, were widely

distributed. As Plunkett argues, the public success of the ‘welfare

monarchy’ was greatly dependent on such exposure of ordinary,

bourgeois family life.

35

Richard Williams argues that a focus on the

trivialities of family and private life in the media was highly

beneficial for monarchical feeling, as it obscured more serious

issues and saved the monarchy from more in-depth public

discussion.

36

Williams stresses the crucial contemporary importance

of newspapers, which exploded after the abolition of stamp duties

and the paper tax in the mid-century.

37

Although primarily with a

middle-class readership, these provide a wealth of source material.

Williams suggests that monarchism was not nearly as strong as

historiography has stressed. He argues that the crown remained

“contentious” long into the late century, and we should not take

33

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 11.

34

Ibid. p. 106.

35

Andrezj Olechnowicz (ed.), The Monarchy and the British Nation

1780 to the Present (London, 2007) p. 31.

36

Richard Williams, The Contentious Crown: Public Discussion of the

British Monarchy in the Reign of Queen Victoria (London, 1997) p.

222.

37

Ibid. p. 3.

!!107


Hannah Fitzpatrick

“gush literature” that suggests otherwise too seriously.

38

However,

his study only measures public opinion so far as is suggested by

contemporary newspapers, and Williams explicitly ignores the

illustrations and photography associated with these texts. Whatever

the true state of public opinion, the overwhelming sentiment of the

mainstream media cannot be seen as anything except decidedly

royalist.

!

Cannadine’s fifth contextual factor relates to contemporary

technology and fashion.

39

The role of the monarch and the

sustainment of monarchism in the nineteenth century were highly

influenced by the development of transport and mass production

methods. Improved roads, trains and steamboats could take the

monarch further and quicker than ever before. Following Perry

Black’s psychological examination of nineteenth-century monarchy,

such technology can be considered key, as monarchism was

sustained mainly because the Crown was so much more visible.

40

The development of the ‘welfare monarchy’ was greatly aided by

transport in particular. Rather than confined to her capital or a few

select country homes, the Queen was free to open hospitals in

Manchester, visit the poor at Balmoral and have tea with a sailor's

widow in Southampton, all in the same week. The step-up in the

number of engagements and royal patronages in this period was just

one effect of a developed transport system. It also allowed people to

travel to London for major royal events, lining the streets for

Jubilees, royal wedding processions and the trooping of the colour.

When persuaded to attend the Thanksgiving service for the Prince

of Wales in 1872, Victoria was stunned by the numbers of people on

the streets, many of whom had travelled from outside London.

Without a developed transport system, these people would not have

been able to attend.

!

38

Ibid. p. 1.

39

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 106.

40

Ibid., p. 17.

!!108


Hannah Fitzpatrick

Cannadine’s sixth contextual aspect of royal ceremony relates to the

‘self-image’ of the nation-state in question.

41

Two major

international events of the early century can be seen as having a

significant impact on both Britain's self-image and its monarchical

feeling. Marilyn Morris argues that the French Revolution was the

greatest single influence on nineteenth-century British monarchy,

as it forced Britain to “band together," and unify in royalist

sentiment to protect the Crown.

42

Meanwhile, Linda Colley is quite

explicit in her belief that the loss of the American colonies had a

more determined effect on nineteenth-century monarchism. She

states that the “royal face lift” that can be observed in the century

came from “that mood of introspection which followed the defeat

in the American war."

43

George III was exalted to the status of a

representative, British icon. The monarchy became an institution

upon which nationalist sentiment was heaped in reaction to the

disappointment of America. This popular idea of nationalist

monarchy was developed further after the death of Albert. While he

had been a popular figure, Albert's death was influential in the

sustainment of ‘nationalist’ monarchism. As Williams argues, it

removed the alien ‘Germanic’ element of the British monarchy and

allowed for greater expansion of nationalist and imperialist

sentiment.

44

His death also made the Crown more immediately

female, although this is an element with Williams does not

particularly consider. However, the years after Albert’s death saw

the Victorian age’s greatest brush with anti-monarchism, as the

Queen retired from public life. Absent from public view, antimonarchist

sentiment simmered in the streets and 84

Republicanism clubs were founded in the three years between 1871

and 1874.

45

However, if we take Bagehot’s argument that Victorian

people could crucially imagine the concept of a monarch much

41

Ibid., p. 106-7.

42

Morris, British Monarchy and the French Revolution.

43

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 10.

44

Williams, The Contentious Crown, p. 6.

45

Gordon and Lawton, Royal Education p. 9.

!!109


Hannah Fitzpatrick

more easily than they could imagine a republic, then the Crown

never seems to have been in too much threat.

46

While less visible,

the Monarchy was still an everyday, recognisable force in public life.

Meanwhile, republican causes were suspiciously European,

complex, run by a confusing cross-section of classes and had no

clear political plan. Quite simply, it was hard to imagine then

compared to the image of a sad, dwindling Queen locked up in

Balmoral. While unpopular, monarchists were still ahead of their

radical counterparts.

!

Cannadine’s seventh contextual feature of his ritual thesis involves

exploring the condition of the capital city, the key location of

modern royal ceremonial.

47

This feature is less applicable to an

examination of nineteenth-century monarchism as a whole, but it is

still worth considering the place of the Court in London society. It

had ceased to be the social hub of the capital in the early eighteenth

century, and a position at Court no longer held the value it had

previously. This was part and parcel with the monarchy’s declining

political powers and the wider movements of urbanisation and

embourgeoisement. The Court declined as a place of theatrical

splendour, with the elaborate levees consigned to the past, and the

home of the royal family started to appear much more normal, even

bourgeois. Under Victoria, the Court became a place of quiet

evenings playing bridge and reading aloud to each other. The newly

simplistic and domestic style of the court helped endear the royal

family to the people, when the rest of the aristocracy seemed

distant and out of touch with the harsh realities of an industrialised

world.

!

The eighth contextual aspect of Cannadine’s examination of ritual

relates to the personal attitudes and politics of the key players of

ceremony – the writers of liturgy, composers of music, and

46

Bagehot, The English Constitution, p. 82.

47

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 107.

!!110


Hannah Fitzpatrick

choreographers of ceremony.

48

In the same way, both the ‘welfare

monarchy’ and sustained monarchism as a whole had a great deal

to do with the work of individuals. Cannon argues that the activities

of royal advisors were crucial in public relations work during the

nineteenth century. He particularly credits Private Secretaries,

notably Sir Herbert Taylor, Charles Grey and Henry Ponsonby, as

well as figures such as Baron Stockmar and Lord Melbourne.

49

Before her marriage, Victoria’s affairs were heavily influenced by

her first Prime Minister. Writing two to three letters a day to the

elderly statesmen, the young Queen was profoundly influenced by

Melbourne's suggestions.

50

However, she was decidedly more

sympathetic to the poor than he was, and here Cannon’s argument

that individuals were highly crucial becomes harder to sustain. In

an 1872 letter to her eldest daughter, Victoria declared that she had

a “very strong feeling” in relation to the poor, and considered their

condition “very alarming."

51

However these sympathies were greatly

influenced by Baron Stockmar, a key royal friend and advisor. He

advised the royal couple to correct the moral faults of George III’s

sons, and educate their royal children to be aware of “the appalling

poverty and wretchedness of many among the labouring classes."

52

His message that such “practical morality” would help the welfare

of “both sovereign and people” shows that the German Secretary

was all too aware of the mutual benefits of ‘welfare monarchy’.

53

!

Cannadine’s ninth contextual aspect relates to how ceremony and

ritual were enacted, whether with majesty and royal spectacle or

less impressive fanfare.

54

His essay on the development of ritual in

the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries suggests that

48

Ibid.

49

John Cannon, The Stenton Lecture 1986, p. 15-6.

50

Gordon and Lawton, Royal Education, p. 147-8.

51

Ibid., p. 150.

52

Ibid., p. 154.

53

Gordon and Lawton, Royal Education, p. 154.

54

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 107.

!!111


Hannah Fitzpatrick

nineteenth-century monarchism was mainly sustained by the

“invention of ceremonial tradition." Treating rituals as cultural

forms, and cultural forms as texts, Cannadine traces a

professionalisation of royal ceremony and the development of

‘archaic’ rituals from the 1870s onwards.

55

Certainly, we can see a

greater number of royal rituals, increased public attendance at

Jubilees and popular acclamation of the Queen on the events of her

birthdays and anniversaries. Moreover, the period of Victoria’s reign

most associated with anti-monarchical feeling, the 1870s, was also

the period in which she was least involved in royal rituals and there

was no development of ceremony. The episode associated with her

emergence from isolation is the 1872 thanksgiving ceremony for the

recovery of the Prince of Wales from typhoid fever. An invention of

Gladstone, the ceremony drew vast crowds and acclamation in the

streets, and press coverage of the royal family improved virtually

overnight. However, Prochaska argues that Victoria’s isolation and

lack of involvement in ritual after the death of Albert should not be

dwelled upon. While the queen may have declined to open

parliament and conduct imperial appointments, she was still

opening hospitals, hearing reports of the poor and donating money

to orphanages. The ‘welfare monarchy’ was still working in the

background, perhaps explaining why the institution seemed to

recover so quickly.

!

Cannadine’s final contextual aspect is that of the commercial

exploitation of the rituals of monarchy.

56

The technological

improvements of the nineteenth century also included vast

development in mass production methods. Royal memorabilia was

a fast growing business and can be found from the beginning of the

century, although only entered its heyday in the 1850s. Beakers,

mugs, medals, plates and even novelty bustles were produced to

celebrate or commemorate royal events and individuals. If the

55

Cannadine in Hobsbawm and Ranger, The Invention of Tradition,

p. 121-2.

56

Prochaska, Royal Bounty, p. 107.

!!112


Hannah Fitzpatrick

production levels and consumption of such items is taken as

indicative of monarchical feeling, then the historian can trace a

growing royalist spirit. The Queen’s Golden Jubilee saw the

production of more commemorative medals than had been in total

produced for all four previous “great royal events."

57

Moreover,

Thomas Richards’s study of Victorian commodity culture explains

how the Queen’s image became so popular that it was widely used

on material goods in an effort to lure consumers.

58

The

development in consumer goods and the use of royal images

allowed the monarchy into every home, and can be seen as one

reason why monarchism was sustained. In terms of the ‘welfare

monarchy’, royal charitable engagements were often immortalised

with commemorative pieces for the crowds purchase afterwards.

When placed in the home, these items would serve as continuous

reminders of the sacrificial role of the monarch in the civic life of

the nation. Given the powerful cultural and social force behind the

monarch’s activities, such a reminder certainly would have helped

sustain monarchical sentiment.

!

Nineteenth-century monarchism was thus sustained by a whole

plethora of contextual factors. Of crucial importance were the loss

of mainstream political power, and the subsequent development of

‘welfare monarchy’. The extent to which these two factors sustained

monarchism cannot be underestimated. While the monarch

remained influential behind the scenes, the Crown carved out a

new role for itself, whether consciously or not. It became a

paternalistic and benevolent ‘national family’, concerned only with

the welfare of its people. Reacting to the industrialised and

increasingly modern world of nineteenth-century Britain, the

monarchy was flexible enough to sustain royalist sentiment even

through difficult periods such as the 1870s. Moreover, Cannadine’s

57

Cannadine in Hobsbawm and Ranger, The Invention of Tradition,

p. 137.

58

Thomas Richards, The Commodity Culture of Victorian England

(Stanford, 1990) p. 102.

!!113


Hannah Fitzpatrick

argument that invented ritual contributed to the resurgence in

monarchism at the end of the century has a great deal of merit, and

provides a more specific look at why the British royal family

managed to survive. The role of the media, commercial elements,

technological improvements and the dedicated work of key

individuals were also all important in sustaining popular royalist

sentiment. They enabled the royal family to become a seemingly

ubiquitous presence in everyday life. The British population and the

political establishment also bolstered and sustained monarchism

with a strong nationalist reaction to European and American

revolutions. Becoming a symbol of supreme ‘Britishness’, the

monarch and by extension the royal family as a whole became a

patriotic icon. By the end of the nineteenth century, there was no

real risk from the Republican agitations that continued to threaten

the continent. The British monarchy was secure in its total

transition from masculine political force to benevolent and

feminised ‘welfare family’.

!

!

!114


Bibliography

Hannah Fitzpatrick

!

Bagehot, Walter, The English Constitution (London, 1867).

!

Bradley, Ian, God Save the Queen: The Spiritual Dimension of

Monarchy (London, 2002).

!

Campbell Orr, Clarissa, (ed.), Queenship in Britain 1660-1837: Royal

Patronage, Court Culture and Dynastic Politics (Manchester,

2002).

!

!

Cannadine, David, History in Our Time (London, 1998).

Cannon, John, The Stenton Lecture 1986: The Modern British

Monarchy: a study in adaptation (Reading, 1986).

!

!

Colley, Linda, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (Yale, 1992).

Gordon, Peter and Lawton, Denis, Royal Education: Past, Present and

Future (London, 1999).

!

!

Illustrated London News (December 1848).

Hardie, Frank, The Political Influence of the British Monarchy

1865-1952 (London, 1970).

!

Harrison, J.F.C., Early Victorian Britain: 1832-51 (London, 1990).

!

Kent, Christopher, 'Review: Royal Bounty: The Making of a Welfare

Monarchy by Frank Prochaska', Victorian Studies, Vol. 40, No.

2 (Winter, 1997), pp. 330-332.

!

Morris, Marilyn, The British Monarchy and the French Revolution

(Yale, 1998).

!

!!115


Hannah Fitzpatrick

Nairn, Tom, The Enchanted Glass: Britain and its Monarchy (London,

1988).

!

Olechnowicz, Andrezj (ed.), The Monarchy and the British Nation

1780 to the Present (London, 2007).

!

Prochaska, Frank, Royal Bounty: The Making of a Welfare Monarchy

(Yale, 1995).

!

Richards, Thomas, The Commodity Culture of Victorian England

(Stanford, 1990).

!

!

Strachey, Lytton, Queen Victoria (London, 1921).

Williams, Richard, The Contentious Crown: Public Discussion of the

British Monarchy in the Reign of Queen Victoria (London, 1997).

!

!

!116


Naomi Warin

In what ways was geography imagined and constructed

in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries?

Discuss in relation to the Balkans.

— Naomi Warin

!

The concept of ‘imagined geographies’ originates in Edward Said’s

work, Orientalism. He describes a “fictional reality” created in the

imaginations of Westerners by which they fabricate “a familiar

space which is ‘ours’ and an unfamiliar space beyond ‘ours’ which is

‘theirs’."

1

This essay will apply Said’s concept to the region of the

Balkans, considering the geographies that have been imagined both

by Western Europeans and by the Balkan peoples themselves. The

‘imagined geographies’ of the region will then be compared to its

‘constructed geographies’, in order to demonstrate the existence of

a link. The concept of ‘constructed geographies’ is defined as the

demarcation of physical borders. The essay will focus on the period

1878-1918, since both the beginning and end points of this period

are characterised by major reshaping of borders in the region. A

demonstration of how approaches to border creation had changed

between 1878 and 1918 will confirm the effect that changing

‘imagined geographies’ had on ‘constructed geographies’.

!

Western Europeans have imagined the whole of Eastern Europe as

inferior long before 1878, but a discourse of particular

backwardness emerged in relation to the Balkans during the

nineteenth century.

2

The headmaster of Rugby School, Thomas

Arnold, wrote in 1838 that the eastern coast of the Adriatic was

“one of those ill-fated portions of the Earth which, though placed

in immediate contact with civilisation, have remained perpetually

1

Edward W. Said, Orientalism (London, 2003), p. 54.

2

Gerard Delanty, Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality

(Basingstoke, 1995), pp. 48-9.

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barbarian."

3

However, despite this long-term inference of

backwardness, ideas of Balkan inferiority became more pronounced

among Western Europeans during the 1880s and until the outbreak

of the First World War. This was largely due to the establishment of

the Orient Express, which ran between Western Europe and the

Balkans from 1883 onwards, prompting a rise in Balkan discourse

in Western Europe. Even the name of the Orient Express evoked

connotations of mysteriousness and difference, as did its advertising

slogan, which described it as “the Magic Carpet of the East."

4

However, it was the writing of Western Europeans who visited the

Balkans that really facilitated a more popular discourse of

backwardness. In Britain, travel writing had a vast audience and

became the literature of choice after novels.

5

Hammond comments

that travel writing can be ‘a medium for the worst kind of racism

and cultural supremacism’ and certainly this is evident in Balkan

travel writing of the period.

6

William Miller’s Travels and Politics in

the Near East (1898) includes references to “weird-looking

aborigines," a “lack of law and order” and a “reign of anarchy."

7

Such discourse shaped the ‘imagined geographies’ of Western

Europeans, instilling a sense of superiority over the savage and

backward people they read about.

!

However, there was a marked change in attitude during and after

the First World War as the vilification of the Balkans gave way to a

more respectful tone. When trying to persuade the region to side

with the Allies it seemed inappropriate to continue the derogatory

3

Božidar Jezernik, Wild Europe: The Balkans in the Gaze of Western

Travellers (London, 2004), p. 25.

4

Ibid., p. 34.

5

Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans (New York, 1997), p. 89.

6

Andrew Hammond, ‘An Introduction to Four Centuries of Balkan

Travel’ in Andrew Hammond (ed.), Through Another Europe: An

Anthology of Travel Writing on the Balkans (Oxford, 2009), p. x.

7

Andrew Hammond, ‘The Uses of Balkanism: Representation and

Power in British Travel Writing, 1850-1914’, Slavonic and East

European Review 82/3 (2004), p. 620.

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Naomi Warin

discourse. Furthermore, when Balkan countries such as Serbia took

up arms against the Austrians and Germans, the Allies adopted a

complimentary discourse, referencing honour and bravery.

8

For

example, Chivers Davies witnessed an enemy bombardment of

Belgrade and wrote: “the Serbs held them back magnificently until

the next day. … Such a few against so many, yet how they fought!”

9

Such an altered discourse seems astonishing considering the

condescension so common only a few years before. Yet temporal

changes in perception are to be expected, especially during an event

as significant as the First World War.

!

The First World War transformed the ‘imagined geographies’ of

Western Europeans, although previous ideas and misconceptions

remained in Western European consciousness, to some extent. A

case in point is the ‘imagined geography’ of the Balkans as a region

of violence. The growth of press culture coincided with a time of

turbulence on the Balkan Peninsula so more and more Western

Europeans came to imagine the Balkans as a violent region. Marin

argues that human preoccupation with political instability and war

creates an unbalanced view of regions like the Balkans, since their

more positive and peaceful aspects are ignored.

10

Certainly this was

the case during the Balkan wars (1913-14), which captivated the

Western European press and contrasted sharply with the peace

movement taking place in the so-called ‘civilised world’.

11

However,

the act which established an irrevocable link between the Balkans

and violence was the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June

1914, popularly considered as the catalyst of the First World War.

Todorova calls this event the “original sin” of the Balkans, so

8

Hammond, Through Another Europe, p. 77.

9

Eleanor Chivers Davies, ‘from A Farmer in Serbia’ in Andrew

Hammond (ed.), Through Another Europe: An Anthology of Travel

Writing on the Balkans (Oxford, 2009), p. 89.

10

Irina Marin, Contested Frontiers in the Balkans: Ottoman and

Habsburg Rivalries in Eastern Europe (London, 2012), p. 2.

11

Maria Todorova, ‘The Balkans: From Discovery to Invention’ in

Slavic Review 53/2 (1994), pp. 455-6.

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Naomi Warin

irreversibly did it tarnish their image.

12

A discourse of the Balkans

as a place of violence consequently developed; an ‘imagined

geography’ in which South-East Europe was inhabited by savages

fighting amongst themselves. The coexistence of this ‘imagined

geography’ of violence alongside one of honour and bravery may

seem paradoxical, but it is indicative both of the military focus of

the post-war years and the complex nature of the human

imagination.

!

The dialogue of savagery links Western European views of the

Balkans to Western European views of the colonies.

13

In this sense,

the ‘imagined geographies’ of the Balkans were simply adapted

versions of pre-existing ‘imagined geographies’ relating to the

colonies, with ideas of backwardness and barbarity simply

transferred. Since the Balkans were a white, European, Christian

people, the derogatory Balkan discourse was a convenient,

politically correct outlet which would have been inappropriate

towards colonial nations.

14

More significant, however, is the

motivation of Western Europeans for establishing such dialogues of

backwardness. Often, the creation of a national history is connected

to ‘others’, against which a country can be portrayed as superior.

15

Certainly this is true of the Balkan discourse created by the Western

Europeans. As Todorova describes, “the Balkans have served as a

repository of negative characteristics against which a positive and

self-congratulatory image of the ‘European’ and the ‘West’ has been

constructed."

16

An understanding of the Balkans as the European

‘Other’ clarifies the reasons for imposed associations with violence,

12

Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, pp. 118-9.

13

Hammond, ‘Introduction’, pp. xi-xii.

14

Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, p. 188.

15

Tibor Frank and Frank Hadler, ‘Nations, Borders and the

Historical Profession: On the Complexity of Historiographical

Overlaps in Europe’ in Tibor Frank and Frank Hadler (eds.),

Disputed Territories and Shared Pasts: Overlapping National Histories in

Modern Europe (New York, 2011), p. 5.

16

Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, p. 188.

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Naomi Warin

barbarity and ignorance. Compared with such apparent

backwardness, Western European nations appear as the height of

civility. In this sense, the ‘imagined geographies’ of the Balkans

were created in order to improve Western European citizens’

perceptions of their own nations.

!

The discourse of backwardness established in Western Europe

raises interesting questions about the ‘imagined geographies’ of

people within the Balkans. Did Western perceptions of the Balkans

reach the ears of the Balkan people themselves and, if so, were their

own perceptions of the region altered by what they heard? The work

of British traveller and writer, Mary Edith Durham, is useful when

considering these questions. She was a famous non-conformist of

the period who identified strongly with the Balkans and particularly

Albania. Her refusal to yield to the popular discourse of Balkan

backwardness give her accounts an objectivity not offered by most

Western travellers.

17

From her encounters with Balkan people, it is

clear that they were aware of the Western stereotypes attributed to

them, with one telling her that “you think in England you are

civilised, and can teach us."

18

This quotation reveals a certain

bemusement and resentment towards the arrogance of the Western

European attitude, which is supported by other views Durham

encountered. For example, a Balkan man asked her to “explain us

to the new Consul. He does not understand us. … We do not like

him."

19

These opinions demonstrate that, further to being aware of

Western European views of the Balkans, this awareness shaped

unfavourable Balkan opinions of Western Europe. In this sense,

‘imagined geographies’ were not simply established by Western

Europeans in a one-way process. Rather, an exchange occurred, in

which Western ideas about the Balkans influenced Balkan ideas

about Western Europe.

17

Ibid., pp. 120-1.

18

Mary Edith Durham, The Burden of the Balkans (Gloucester,

2008), p. 231.

19

Ibid., p. 1.

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!

Naomi Warin

As to whether Western perspectives altered the Balkans’ selfperception,

the scarcity of evidence makes it difficult to reach a

definite conclusion. Occasional Balkan echoes of the Western

discourse of backwardness and barbarity appear in Durham’s

account. For example, an Albanian talks of “ignorant savages” in

the villages. While this supports the notion that Western dialogue

resonated with some Balkan people, it more significantly reflects

the universal need to identify ‘an Other’ in society. Just as the

Western Europeans used the idea of backwardness in the Balkans to

define a more positive view of themselves, this Albanian man

compares himself favourably to those in the villages.

20

Such an

awareness of variety and difference among the Balkan people is a

further prominent theme in Durham’s book. While the ‘imagined

geographies’ of Western Europeans tended to label the Balkans as a

homogeneous mass, the Balkan people retained their awareness of

divisions within the region. An Albanian told Durham of his hatred

for Servians, a former name for residents of Serbia. When

questioned about the origins of this hatred, the man responds: “we

are born like that. It is in our blood."

21

In this sense, people within

the Balkans had not been influenced by the ‘imagined geographies’

of Western Europeans. If the West imagined a map of block colour,

in which the Balkans were all one, the Balkan people themselves

saw a patchwork of different colours, representing different groups

within the region. Divisions between the Balkan people included

not only ethnicity, although that was important, but also religion.

Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Judaism

were all represented resulting in a mélange of cultures, religions and

ethnicities within the region.

22

This coexistence of different peoples

was reflected by the multi-faceted identity the Balkan people

recognised in themselves.

!

20

Ibid., p. 161.

21

Ibid., p. 7.

22

Delanty, Inventing Europe, pp. 48-53.

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Naomi Warin

The final section of this essay will demonstrate that ‘imagined

geographies’ influenced the construction and modification of

official borders in the Balkans. The defined period begins and ends

with major reshaping of borders. In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin

resulted in autonomy for Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and

Romania while 1918 saw the creation of Yugoslavia, the kingdom of

Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. By focusing on these two major events

as case studies, it will be possible to determine whether approaches

to physical border creation changed as ‘imagined geographies’

altered over time.

!

In 1978, the process of border delineation was very much imposed

on the Balkan nations by the Western Europeans. The Treaty of

Berlin was the result of a decision-making process conducted by the

major European powers on behalf of smaller nations involved.

23

This puppet-master style of politics was influenced by the

‘imagined geographies’ of the Western Europeans. Their notions of

superiority and civility prompted them to intervene in the nationbuilding

of a region they believed to be backward and therefore

incapable of arranging its own affairs. As for the Balkan people

themselves, Mazower suggests that they resented the dominance of

the great powers, as is exemplified by public intolerance of leaders

deemed overly subservient to Western nations. Alexander

Obrenović, for example, was murdered by the Serbian army in

1903 for being too Austrophile.

24

Such antipathy towards the

Western powers is indicative of the Balkan people’s awareness of the

negative discourse created in relation to them. ‘Imagined

geographies’ therefore affected not only the borders constructed by

the Western European powers, but also influenced the Balkan

people’s reactions to these newly imposed borders.

!

23

Charles Jelavich and Barbara Jelavich, The Establishment of the

Balkan National States, 1804-1920 (Seattle, 1977), pp. 155-6.

24

Mark Mazower, The Balkans: A Short History (New York, 2000),

pp. 96-7.

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Naomi Warin

Forty years later, when Yugoslavia was created in 1918, Western

European attitudes towards the Balkan nations had changed. The

war had demonstrated a more respectable side to the Balkans,

causing the Western Europeans to redefine their perspectives. For

example, Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of support for the principle

of self-determination, which is the right of a nation to decide its

own sovereignty, reflects changing attitudes to nation-building and

the right to intervene.

25

In practice, the ‘Big Four’ of the United

States, Britain, France and Italy still had the final say over territorial

changes in a grand plan known as ‘New Europe’. However, the

details of this plan were decided in consultation with

representatives from the countries involved, public figures such as

historians, diplomats and politicians.

26

The new ‘imagined

geography’ of a more respectable Balkans meant that the Balkan

people were now invited to take part in the decision-making process

by improving, although not completely eliminating, the top-down

structure of border creation in the past. In the case of Yugoslavia,

for example, a Yugoslav Committee was set up which incorporated

representatives from Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

27

In this sense, it

is clear that increased respect for the Balkan nations resulted in

them having more say in their region’s nation building, thus

demonstrating that changing ‘imagined geographies’ translate into

changing ‘constructed geographies’.

!

This essay has sought not only to describe ‘imagined’ and

‘constructed’ geographies relating to the Balkans, but also to

emphasise their interconnected nature. The ‘imagined’ geographies

considered had genuine effects on approaches to state-building in

the Balkans. It is therefore natural that, as perceptions of the

Balkans shifted, levels of Western European intervention were also

25

Jelavich and Jelavich, The Establishment of the Balkan National

States, pp. 298-9.

26

Marin, Contested Frontiers in the Balkans, p. 106.

27

Jelavich and Jelavich, The Establishment of the Balkan National

States, pp. 300-1.

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Naomi Warin

revised. While this has by no means been a conclusive study of the

topic, definite trends have been identified which demonstrate that

‘imagined’ geographies have a practical impact on the ‘constructed’

geographies of nationhood. It would be interesting to take this

study further to see whether the Balkan model can be applied to

other regions and periods.

!

!

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Naomi Warin

Bibliography

!

Chivers Davies, Eleanor, ‘from A Farmer in Serbia’ in Hammond,

Andrew (ed.), Through Another Europe: An Anthology of

Travel Writing on the Balkans (Oxford, 2009), pp. 84-90

!

Delanty, Gerard, Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality

(Basingstoke, 1995)

!

Durham, Mary Edith, The Burden of the Balkans (Gloucester,

2008)

!

Frank, Tibor and Hadler, Frank, ‘Nations, Borders and the

Historical Profession: On the Complexity of Historiographical

Overlaps in Europe’ in Frank, Tibor and Hadler, Frank (eds.),

Disputed Territories and Shared Pasts: Overlapping National

Histories in Modern Europe (New York, 2011), pp. 1-13

!

Hammond, Andrew, ‘An Introduction to Four Centuries of Balkan

Travel’ in Hammond, Andrew (ed.), Through Another

Europe: An Anthology of Travel Writing on the Balkans

(Oxford, 2009), pp. vii-xxii

!

Hammond, Andrew, ‘The Uses of Balkanism: Representation and

Power in British Travel Writing, 1850-1914’, Slavonic and

East European Review 82/3 (2004), pp. 601-24

!

Jelavich, Charles and Jelavich, Barbara, The Establishment of the

Balkan National States, 1804-1920 (Seattle, 1977)

!

Jezernik, Božidar, Wild Europe: The Balkans in the Gaze of Western

Travellers (London, 2004)

!

Marin, Irina, Contested Frontiers in the Balkans: Ottoman and

Habsburg Rivalries in Eastern Europe (London, 2012)

!

!

!126


Naomi Warin

Mazower, Mark, The Balkans: A Short History (New York, 2000)

!

Said, Edward W., Orientalism (London, 2003)

!

!

Todorova, Maria, Imagining the Balkans (New York, 1997)

Todorova, Maria, ‘The Balkans: From Discovery to Invention’,

Slavic Review 53/2 (1994), pp. 453-82

!

!

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Jessica McDonald

To what extent are Black Power and Red Power the

politics of despair?

— Jessica McDonald

!

On 16 June 1966, Carmichael Stokely, chairman of the Student

Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, first introduced the slogan,

‘Black Power’. Speaking at the March Against Freedom in

Mississippi, Stokely took to the stage and declared that, “the only

way we gonna stop them white men from whuppin’ us is to take

over. What we gonna start saying now is Black Power!”

1

Later that

year, the Native American activist, Vine Deloria Jr., first coined the

term, ‘Red Power’, before Clyde Warrior, known as the founder of

Red Power, announced during a news broadcast in 1967, that the

National Congress of American Indians would start an uprising

that “would make Kenya’s Mau Mau look like a Sunday school

picnic.”

2

!

The growing militancy seen among both African-American and

Native American activists during the 1960s is known, respectively,

as the Black and Red Power movements. Both were rooted in a

rising cultural and ethnic pride, and a new determination to no

longer be ashamed of, nor disconnected from, one’s heritage. The

decentralised and segmented nature of both movements allowed for

them to be claimed by nationalists and integrationists alike, and in

their most basic form, they represented a growing call, from both

communities, demanding more autonomy and power over their

lives. However, it is important to note that these were two very

separate movements, each one having been shaped around a history

1

Peniel E. Joseph, ‘Introduction: Toward a Historiography of the

Black Power Movement’, in Peniel E. Joseph (eds.), The Black Power

Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era (New York,

2006), p. 2.

2

Langston, Donna Hightower, ‘American Indian Women’s Activism

in the 1960s and 1970s’, Hypatia, 18/2 (2003), p. 117.

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Jessica McDonald

and culture unique to the African-American and Native American

communities.

!

The aim of this essay is to uncover the extent to which these

movements represented the politics of despair. This term is best

understood as being the actions of a last resort- and as such, often

an emotional, negative and chaotic outburst. Understood in this

way, this essay shall argue that both the Black and Red Power

movements were in fact a highly positive, empowering and

enlightening development for their respective communities; this

derived not from ties of despair and hate, but on kinship, pride and

hope.

!

On November 14, 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. declared, “we must

never feel that the Black Power slogan sprang forth full-grown from

the head of some philosophical Zeus. It was born from the wombs

of despair and disappointment. Black Power is a cry of pain.”

3

With

a similar sentiment, journalist and historian, Alvin M. Josephy Jr.,

wrote in 1971 that, “manifestations of Red Power were a sign that

the Indian pot was boiling, and the lid was rattling loudly. Indian

desperation was no longer being repressed.”

4

The Black and Red

Power movements, for some contemporaries at least, very clearly

represented the politics of despair, created by an emotional

outburst of anger and desperation; to their non-violent

counterparts, this was thus understood as dangerous, chaotic and

damaging.

!

Initially, the historiography of the Black Power movement mirrored

this contemporary view. Many historians framed Black Power as

“an abrupt rupture with the non-violent and integrationist vision of

3

‘MLK Speech at SCLC Staff Retreat: 14 November 1966’, The

King Center http://www.thekingcenter.org [Accessed 20 March

2014].

4

Alvin M. Josephy Jr., The American Indians Fight for Freedom

(Winter Park, 1971), p. 244.

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Jessica McDonald

Martin Luther King.”

5

Scholars saw the movement not only as a

failure, but also ultimately as harmful to the more respectable civil

rights movement.

6

More recently, however, new scholarship

working under the subfield of ‘Black Power Studies’ and led in large

part by the historian, Peniel E. Joseph, has started to reassess the

movement and begun to “demystify, complicate, and intellectually

engage demonized, dismissed, and over looked actors and

struggles” of the movement.

7

This new work has not only

challenged the previous geography of Black Power, which placed it

as a predominately Northern phenomenon, but has also

dramatically challenged the traditional Black Power period between

1966 and 1975. Historians such as Komozi Woodard and Timothy

Tyson have instead depicted what they call a “long Black Power

movement," extending the chronology both prior to the 1960s and

past the mid 1970s.

8

!

The historiography of the Red Power movement has moved in a

similar direction. The famed Standing Rock Sioux political theorist,

Vine Deloria Jr., wrote in 1974 that instead of understanding “the

protest [of the late 1960s and early 1970s] as a continuing struggle

of Indians, the media characterized them as a new development

thereby missing the entire point of the protest.”

9

This was reflected

in early scholarship, which framed the movement as mainly urban

5

Simon Wendt, “We are going to fight fire with fire”: Black power

in the South’, in Peniel E. Joseph (eds.), Neighborhood Rebels: Black

Power at the Local Level (New York, 2010), p. 132.

6

See, for example, Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of

Rage (New York: 1989), and Allen J. Matusow, The Unraveling of

America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s (New York, 1985).

7

Peniel E. Joseph, ‘The Black Power Movement: A State of the

Field’, The Journal of American History, 96/3 (2009), p. 752.

8

Komozi Woodard, A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi

Jones) and Black Power Politics (London, 1999), and Timothy B.

Tyson, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black

Power (London, 1999).

9

Laurence M. Hauptman, The Iroquois Struggle for Survival: World

War II to Red Power (New York, 1986), p. 205.

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Jessica McDonald

and within a time period beginning with the occupation of Alcatraz

in 1969 and ending with the Longest Walk in 1978.

10

More recent

studies have shown that American Indian activism began long

before the 1960s, with roots that stretched back “to the first

encounter between European explorers and the indigenous peoples

of Mesoamerica in 1492.”

11

Furthermore, case studies such as

Stephen Kent Amerman’s, which focuses on Indian political

activism within an urban high school, have helped to provide a

more nuanced and in depth understanding of the Red Power

movement; focus thus moved “beyond the most well-known and

well-studied aspects of 1960s and 1970s Indian activism.”

12

!

Scholarship of both Red and Black Power has uncovered long

histories of resistance and activism within both communities. Alvin

M. Josephy Jr. rightly said of the Red Power activists that, “in

substance their message is no different from what it has been for

decades, but it is more challenging and insistent.”

13

Sitting Bull, a

Tribal Chief and Holy man of the Tenton Sioux tribe, who was

born in 1831 and died in 1890, wrote, “no white man controls our

footsteps. If we must die, we die defending our rights.”

14

His words

10

See, for example, Josephy Jr., Fight for Freedom (Winter Park,

1971) and Troy Johnson, Joane Nagel and Duane Champagne

(eds.), American Indian Activism: Alcatraz to the Longest Walk

(Urbana, 1997).

11

Troy R. Johnson, Red Power: The Native American Civil Rights

Movement (New York, 2007), p. 10. See also, Daniel M. Cobb, and

Loretta Fowler (eds.) Beyond Red Power: American Indian Politics and

Activism Since 1900 (Santa Fe, 2007).

12

Stephen Kent Amerman, ‘"Let's Get in and Fight!": American

Indian Political Activism in an Urban Public School System, 1973’,

American Indian Quarterly, 27/3 (2003), p. 608. See also, Bradley G.

Shreve, Red Power Rising: The National Indian Youth Council and the

Origins of Native Activism (Norman, 2011) and Sherry L. Smith,

Hippies, Indians, and the Fight for Red Power (Oxford, 2012).

13

Josephy Jr, Freedom, p. 17.

14

Kent Nerburn and Louise Mengelkoch (eds.), Native American

Wisdom (Novato, 1991), p. 74.

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Jessica McDonald

highlight the long history of forced assimilation that Native

Americans have faced under the United States government, and

remind one of their “unique history of continued resistance and

conflict over land and resources.”

15

Written over a century later, the

words of the American Indian Movement member, Birgil Kills

Straight, of the Oglala Lakota Nation, echoes the same fiery

militant rhetoric and passion of Sitting Bull: “AIM is the new

warrior class of the century, bound by the bond of the drum, who

vote with our bodies instead of our mouths.”

16

!

The Red Power movement did not simply arise out of an emotional

outburst in Native American communities in the 1960s; rather, it

had deep roots in long-standing traditions of resistance to non-

Indian control and power. When the activist, LaNada Boyer, a

member of Alcatraz Island Council, was asked why she had joined

the Red Power movement, she replied, “it is a lifelong thing. It is

hard to say that you just jumped into it or joined it. It comes from

way back, from the reservation. It’s something that you have grown

up with.”

17

!

Similar observations can be seen in the Black Power movement.

Initially, some contemporaries and modern scholars pitted Black

Power as the civil rights movement’s ‘evil twin’; focusing only on

the violent rhetoric of activists, such as Eldridge Cleaver, they saw it

as “the figurative and literal embodiment of black rage, anger, and

disappointment with the ineffective and glacial peace of civil

rights.”

18

However, this allowed for a glorified view of the civil

rights movement and gave little credit to the long history of

resistance and self-defence practiced by African-Americans. From

15

Langston, ‘Women’s Activism’, p. 115.

16

Dennis Banks and Richard Erdoes, Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks

and the Rise of the American Indian Movement (Norman, 2004), p. 58

17

Troy R. Johnson, The Occupation of Alcatraz Island: Indian Self-

Determination and the Rise of Indian Activism (Chicago, 1996), p.

104.

18

Joseph, Rebels, p. 1.

!

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Jessica McDonald

the ‘day-to-day’ acts of resistance found in the earlier slave

communities, to the self-defence practiced in the Jim Crow South,

African-Americans had never sat by idly when faced with white

supremacy and oppression.

19

!

The story of Robert F. Williams illustrates the complex relationship

between the civil rights movement and the Black Power movement

and shows how the two were “far from being mutually exclusive”

and in fact “paralleled and intersected with one another.”

20

Williams was born in 1925, in Monroe, North Carolina. Growing

up in the South, he had seen first hand the injustices and violence

African-Americans faced on a daily basis. As an adult, Williams

joined his local NAACP chapter and was elected president in 1957.

Williams undertook a recruitment drive, with the chapter soon

having over two hundred members, making up “a well-armed and

disciplined fighting unit” that protected the local community and

civil rights activists.

21

Williams advocated armed self-reliance,

stating that “nonviolence is a very potent weapon when the

opponent is civilized, but nonviolence is no repellent for a sadist.”

22

!

For people like Williams, who were facing extreme racist violence

on a daily basis, non-violence tended to be regarded “as a

pragmatic tactic, not as a philosophical imperative.”

23

His story

illustrates how “armed self-reliance operated side by side in the

South… in tension and in tandem with the compelling moral

example of non-violent direct action.”

24

Even Martin Luther King

Jr., the icon of the non-violent protest movement, received armed

19

See, James Oakes, ‘The Political Significance of Slave

Resistance’, History Workshop, 22/ Special American Issue (1986),

pp. 89-107 and Tyson, Radio Free Dixie (London, 1999).

20

Joseph, Rebels, p. 2.

21

Ibid., p. 550.

22

Ibid., p. 561.

23

Simon Wendt, The Spirit and the Shotgun: Armed Resistance and the

Struggle for Civil Rights (Gainsville, 2006), p. 1.

24

Tyson, Radio Free Dixie, p. 308.

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Jessica McDonald

protection during the early days of his involvement.

25

Historian

Timothy B. Tyson concludes that well before 1966 and

Carmichael’s chants of ‘Black Power’, “virtually all the elements

that we associate with [the movement] were already present in the

small towns and rural communities of the South where the civil

rights movement was born.”

26

By understanding the use of armed

self-defence and its important role alongside the civil rights

movement, one can challenge the idea that Black Power was the

politics of despair, representing “an aberrant, directionless

expression of rage”; it can instead be identified as an outcome of

the long and complex history of African-American resistance.

27

!

A further challenge to the politics of despair concept is the ethnic

consciousness and cultural pride that both movements nurtured

within their communities. As Peniel E. Joseph has rightly pointed

out, the Black Power movement “was more than a series of

shootouts, race riots, and provocative sound bites.”

28

In fact, both

movements found an expressive outlet in the arts; the Black Arts

Movement, known as “the aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black

Power concept," saw playwrights, artists, novelists and songwriters

actively engage with themes of racial pride, black culture and

militant protest.

29

LeRoi Jones was one of the leading figures of the

movement, who in 1964 founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/

School (BARTS) in Harlem as “an alternative community center,

school and performance space based on the evolving principles of

25

Simon Wendt, “We are going to Fight Fire with Fire”: Black

Power in the South’, in Joseph, Rebels, p. 132.

26

Tyson, Radio Free Dixie, p. 308.

27

William L. Van DeBurg, New Day In Babylon: The Black Power

Movement and American Culture (London, 1992), p.15.

28

Peniel E. Joseph, Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to

Barack Obama (New York, 2010), p. 31.

29

Larry Neal, ‘The Black Arts Movement’ University of Illinois:

Modern American Poetry http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/

blackarts/documents.htm [Accessed 23 March 2014].

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Jessica McDonald

Black Power and Black Consciousness.”

30

In 1967, Martin Luther

King wrote that Black Power was “a philosophy nourished solely on

despair… a slogan that cannot be implemented into a program”;

yet, following the opening of BARTS, a further eight hundred or

more black theatres and cultural centres were set up across the

United States, inspiring a cultural revolution of self-discovery, pride

and ethnic consciousness within African-American communities.

31

!

LeRoi Jones’ next project, the Committee for Unified Newark helps

to demonstrate how Black Power subsequently harnessed this

revival of African-American culture to provide a structural

underpinning for its political ambitions. Founded in 1968, the

CFUN comprised three groups: a theatre troupe, a self-defence

group and a political strand that focussed on obtaining black

political power. The CFUN’s multi-faceted approach proved

successful, and in 1970, Kenneth Gibson was elected to office in

Newark, becoming the first black mayor of a north-eastern city.

32

The Black Arts movement and the cultural revival it spawned

played an important role in helping to unite African-Americans and

achieve political power.

!

The Red Power movement also fostered a cultural revival among its

own people. The 1950s had seen a major shift in Native American

communities, as the government’s relocation programmes saw

many Indians move away from the reservations and into the cities.

By the early 1960s, nearly two-thirds of the Indian population were

living in urban environments, cut off from their tribes and

traditional cultures. Banding together, these urban Native

Americans opened Indian centres at which to socialise, thus

30

Lisa Gail Collins and Margo Crawford (eds.), New Thoughts on

the Black Arts Movement (Newark, 2006) p. 275.

31

Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or

Community? (New York, 1967), p. 46.

32

Daniel Matlin, ‘“Lift up Yr Self!” Reinterpreting Amiri Baraka

(LeRoi Jones), Black Power, and the Uplift Tradition’, The Journal

of American History, 93/1 (2006), p. 105.

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Jessica McDonald

creating pan-Indian identities and organisations.

33

In an

unexpected consequence of the urban relocation programmes, a

new inter-tribalism arose and protest groups, such as the National

Indian Youth Council (NIYC), founded in 1961, were born. While

the group was made up of predominately urban Native Americans,

the NIYC often held meetings on the reservations and included the

use of traditional drum ceremonies and tribal songs.

34

One NIYC

leader recalled, “it was a major source of encouragement and hope

to have a Ponca from Oklahoma, a Paiute from Nevada, a Tuscarora

from New York, a Flathead from Montana, a Navajo from New

Mexico, a Mohawk from Michigan… offering to fight for [our]

cause.”

35

The NIYC made activism “part of the larger intertribal

fight to preserve Native Culture, uphold treaty rights, push for selfdetermination,

and promote tribal sovereignty," and their protests,

such as the 1964 Washington state Fish-Ins, paved the way for

future intertribal activism in the years that followed.

36

!

Due to the Native Americans’ specific issues relating to land and

treaty claims, much of their activism revolved around the

occupation of famous landmarks across the country. These protests,

however, were not the politics of despair; in fact, they were quite the

opposite. Peter Blue Cloud, a Mohawk Indian and Alcatraz activist,

recalled, “there was little hate or anger in our hearts, for the very

thought of a lasting unity kept us whole and in harmony with

life.”

37

The occupations also took on a festive air, celebrating Indian

culture and tradition. Richard Oakes, also a Mohawk Indian and

early student leader on Alcatraz Island, remembered, “we did a lot

of singing in those days… the songs of friendship, the songs of

33

Johnson, Alcatraz Island, p. xi.

34

Langston, ‘Women’s Activism’, p. 116.

35

Bradley G. Shreve, ‘“From Immemorial”: The Fish-In Movement

and the Rise of Intertribal Activism’, Pacific Historical Review, 78/3

(2009), p. 406.

36

Ibid., p. 405.

37

Peter Blue Cloud (eds.), Alcatraz is not an Island: By Indians of All

Tribes (Berkeley, 1972), p. 13.

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Jessica McDonald

understanding… It was beautiful to behold and beautiful to listen

to.”

38

!

This focus on culture and the revival of traditional practices by

activists was especially apparent at the Pine Ridge Reservation, the

site of the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation. The American Indian

Movement (AIM) had started the protest; founded in 1968, AIM

was a particularly militant division of the Red Power movement and

originally formed to monitor police violence against Native

Americans in towns and cities.

39

Using similar tactics to the

African-American Black Panther Party, AIM’s “militant rhetoric,

audacious confrontational strategies, and larger-than-life

personalities” helped the movement gain widespread media

attention; the group were often called to reservations to help raise

awareness when various injustices were being ignored.

40

!

During these visits they often directly and indirectly fostered the

revival of traditional ceremonies and practices, both participating in

and providing the resources for them.

41

During their time at the

Pine Ridge Reservation, AIM helped to reduce the more

commercial aspects of rituals, such as the sun dance, to return

focus to its more religious elements.

42

AIM activist, Russell Means,

recalled twenty years after his involvement with the Wounded Knee

occupation, “the part I am most proud of is one, Wounded Knee

was and is the catalyst for the rebirth of our self-dignity and pride

in being Indians… We are much prouder, much more responsible

and much more hopeful.”

43

38

Johnson, Alcatraz Island, p. 100.

39

Banks, Ojibwa Warrior, p. 61

40

Cobb, Beyond Red Power, p. x.

41

Phillip D. Roos, Dowell H. Smith, Stephen Langley and James

McDonald, ‘The Impact of the American Indian Movement on the

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation’, Phylon, 41/1 (1980), p. 96

42

Ibid., p. 97.

43

Joane Nagel, American Indian Ethnic Renewal: Red Power and the

Resurgence of Identity and Culture (New York, 1996), p. 173.

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!

Jessica McDonald

Joane Nagel has reasoned that the Red Power movement “served as

a powerful mechanism in the construction and reconstruction of

Native American community and culture.” For Nagel, the

movement was not only shaped by culture, which provided “the

identities, symbols, rhetoric, grievances [and] tactics," but also

created and transformed cultural forms and practices “by

reconstructing, reframing and replacing the very identities, symbols,

rhetoric, grievances, tactics and organizational vehicles that the

movement earlier used to spread its message, recruit participants

and influence social change.”

44

A direct outgrowth of the Red

Power movement was not only “a major artistic revival," but also

the raising of ethnic consciousness and pride.

45

!

Both movements, consciously and unconsciously, created a cultural

renaissance among African-American and Native American people.

From the Black Arts movement in Harlem, to the revival of

ceremonial practices on the reservations, Black and Red Power

acted as the catalyst for the rebirth of African-American and Native

American pride in their culture and ethnicity. This outpouring of

creativity and the revival of traditional practices redefine earlier

treatments of the Black and Red Power movement, which saw them

as representing a bleak descent into pessimism and disillusion.

!

Another significant aspect of both the Red and Black Power

movements was their focus on education and community programs.

During a speech in 1964, Malcolm X stated that “education is an

important element in the struggle for human rights. It is the means

to help our children and our people rediscover their identity and

thereby increase their self-respect.”

46

Malcolm later went on to

44

Ibid., p. 176.

45

Hauptman, The Iroquois, p. 233.

46

‘Malcolm X’s Speech at the Founding Rally of the Organization

of Afro-American Unity – 1964’ Black Past: An Online Reference

Guide to African American Past http://www.blackpast.org [Accessed

20 March 2014]

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Jessica McDonald

criticise public schools for failing to teach African-American

children about both their history and their culture. Native

Americans faced a similar issue, with one child recalling, “it was a

pretty big textbook on American history, but I think there were only

about two sentences on Indians in the whole book.”

47

Empowered

with a renewed sense of cultural pride, both African and Native

Americans began to demand the reform of the education

institutions that for far too long had allowed their children to

become alienated and ignored.

!

In 1971, the Onondaga tribe – part of the Iroquois nation – kept

their children out of school in order to highlight their educational

concerns: “the Onondagas were reacting to the extremely high

drop-out rates among Indian students, the lack of cultural

enrichment programs including language instruction, and their

limited voice in school district policy.”

48

Two years later, the Indians

of East High School in Phoenix, Arizona, facing similar issues,

stated: “it became clear to us that it would be necessary to apply

force to the school system before it would change.”

49

Favouring a

tactic of direct action, they not only gained media coverage of their

plight, but also ultimately achieved their aims. Protester Diane

Daychild wrote that during this period, political activity “was sort

of bubbling.”

50

Both protests saw positive outcomes; the Onondaga

activism helped to push through a new state philosophy on Indian

education, which declared that it now recognised “that these people

prefer to retain their specific tribal cultural identities and life styles

and that they wish to exercise the prerogatives of adopting only

those components of the dominant American culture that meet

their needs.”

51

In Phoenix, the school board increased its Native

American teachers from two to eighteen and hired a Director of

47

Amerman, ‘"Let's Get in and Fight!”’, p. 607.

48

Hauptman, The Iroquois, p. 220.

49

Amerman, ‘"Let's Get in and Fight!”’, p. 618.

50

Ibid., p. 609.

51

Hauptman, The Iroquois, p. 221.

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Jessica McDonald

Indian Education, whose role was to ensure that Native Indians had

more direct input.

52

!

Similar protests led by African-Americans also contributed to

positive change for their communities. In 1966, James Garret

founded the first black student union at San Francisco state

University, which focused on both political activism and the

promotion of black cultural expression.

53

Many others followed and

these in turn helped to pave the way for the creation of programmes

of black studies.

54

Education was just one of the demands Black

Power activists made, with the Black Panther Party declaring in

1966 that “we want land, bread, housing, education, clothing,

justice and peace.”

55

A member of the party, Elaine Brown,

recalled, “that if they could get food, that maybe they would want

clothing, maybe they’d want housing, maybe they’d want land and

maybe they would ultimately want some abstract thing called

freedom.”

56

!

Founded in 1966 by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, the Black

Panther Party’s political and cultural program was “one of the most

visible articulations of Black Power ideology.”

57

Adorned in black

leather jackets, tilted berets and with a fiery militant rhetoric, the

Panthers immediately captured the attention of the national media.

However, reports often manipulated and misunderstood the Black

Power message. Their obsession with the Panthers’ macho façade

often meant that “little attention was given to making the precise

52

Amerman, ‘"Let's Get in and Fight!”’, p. 629.

53

Van DeBurg, Babylon, p. 71.

54

Amy A. Ongiri, Spectacular Blackness: The Cultural Politics of the

Black Power Movement and the Search for a Black Aesthetic

(Charlottesville, 2010), p. 1.

55

Yohuru Williams, “Some Abstract Thing Called Freedom”: Civil

Rights, Black Power, and the Legacy of the Black Panther Party’,

OAH Magazine of History, 22/3 (2008), p. 19.

56

Williams, ‘“Freedom”’, p. 16.

57

Ongiri, Spectacular Blackness, p. 17.

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Jessica McDonald

nature of the militants grievances clear or evaluating the specific

programs they developed… Popular understanding of the

movement was distorted. Black Power was trivialized.”

58

!

David Hilliard, a BPP member, wrote that the group was “probably

the most misunderstood organization of the civil rights

movement… you know about our imagery and our guns… but you

don’t know about the [community] projects.”

59

The projects

Hilliard makes reference to included free breakfasts for children,

health clinics, legal aid, housing assistance, free food programmes,

school tutoring, free clothing and liberation schools, to name but a

few.

60

Once again, Red and Black Power can be understood as

being based upon ideas of empowerment, not despair. Both

movements inspired and actively participated in the reforming of

education and the creation of important community programmes.

!

The power movements were able to penetrate a wide variety of

areas in the lives of African and Indian people; in part, this was due

to their inclusive nature, which saw it embrace nationalists,

integrationists, students, and even feminists.

61

This last aspect is

particularly important, as both movements, especially the Black

Power movement, often saw its macho façade obscure “the

complexity of the party’s official stance on gender politics and the

serious nature of its dialogue with and engagement in issues of

gender parity.”

62

Black women were heavily involved with the Black

Power movement and could be found running community based

projects and filling leadership positions. Their engagement with the

movement “spurred a fiery independence that led to the emergence

58

Van DeBurg, Babylon, p. 13.

59

Williams, ‘“Freedom”’, p. 18.

60

David Hilliard (eds.), The Black Panther Party: Service to the People

Programs (Albuquerque, 2008), p.vii.

61

Joseph, Dark Days, p. 20.

62

Ongiri, Spectacular Blackness, p. 21.

!!141


Jessica McDonald

and expansion of black radical feminism.”

63

Effectively challenging

misogyny from within the movement, their involvement led to the

BPP aligning itself with both the female and gay liberation

movements.

!

Similarly, Native American women played a central role within the

Red Power movement, even carrying arms during protests, such as

the fish-ins; Ramona Bennett stated at the time “we are armed and

prepared to defend our rights with our lives. If anyone lays a hand

on that net, they are going to get shot…we’re serious. There are no

blanks in our guns.”

64

It was also women elders who devised the

infamous Wounded Knee occupation in 1973; while men held most

of the public roles, it was women who made up the majority of

activists at the event.

65

Rather than the politics of despair, both Red

and Black Power offered African and Native women a unique

chance to be heard and actively participate in the protests. This in

turn offered a positive opportunity to challenge both gendered

stereotypes and male domination.

!

The Red and Black Power movements also had a ripple effect that

extended beyond the United States’ borders. Judson L. Jefferies

stated, “few can deny that the Black power movement heightened

the consciousness of other oppressed peoples throughout the

world.”

66

Both movements felt a deep connection to other

colonised people and in 1975, AIM began to broaden its focus by

supporting a more universal native peoples’ rights agenda.

Eventually, AIM created the International Indian Treaty Council,

63

Rhonda Y. Williams, ‘Black Women and Black Power’, OAH

Magazine of History, 22/3 (2008), p. 23.

64

Langston, ‘Women’s Activism’, p. 122.

65

Ibid., p. 114.

66

Judson L. Jefferies (eds.), Black Power In the Belly of the Beast

(Chicago, 2006), p. 308.

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Jessica McDonald

which specialised in protecting the treaty rights of indigenous and

aboriginal people around the world.

67

The Black and Red Power movements were also a force for good

within their own communities back home, empowering people

politically and instilling in them a renewed pride in their heritage.

They also helped to reform an education system that was failing

both African and Native children, in addition to spurring on

women to challenge gender norms and fight male misogyny. Also

important, is the use of armed-defence within the power

movements; crucially, it was not the result of a violent and

emotional outburst, but a technique that had been used throughout

history in their resistance against white domination.

!

Contemporaries at the time, and scholars since, have been guilty of

allowing the power movements’ fiery militant rhetoric and focus on

armed self-defence to obscure their important political, social and

cultural aspects. Peniel E. Joseph notes that during this period, the

majority of blacks “were still referred to as Negroes, were ashamed

of their natural hair texture and loathed association with the African

continent," yet Black Power helped “to reimagine the possibilities…

for black identity.”

68

Similarly for isolated urban Native Americans,

the Red Power movement helped to create a pan-Indianism, which

renewed their ethnic consciousness and sense of belonging. These

feelings were echoed on the reservations too, with Vine Deloria Jr.,

stating that “with this movement has come a realisation that the

tribe must stand before history and reclaim its political and cultural

identity and independence.”

69

!

By understanding Red and Black Power not as the politics of

despair, but as the politics of empowerment, self-determination,

67

Nagel, Ethnic Renewal, p. 175.

68

Joseph, Dark Days, p. 31.

69

Vine Deloria Jr., Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties: An Indian

Declaration of Independence (New York, 1974), p. 250.

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Jessica McDonald

and cultural pride, one can liberate the African and Indian past

from its despair; the long history of hope and determination on

which Red and Black Power were founded can instead be

celebrated. While there is no doubt that many African and Native

Americans faced incredible hardships during this period, it was not

their despair that founded the power movements. It was their faith

and courage that they could, as a people, lift themselves up and

obtain the power they needed to change their lives for the better.

!

!

!144


Jessica McDonald

Bibliography

Books

Blue Cloud, Peter (eds.), Alcatraz is not an Island: By Indians of All

Tribes (Berkeley, 1972).

!

Carson, Clayborne, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening

of the 1960s (London, 1981).

!

Cobb, Daniel M., and Loretta Fowler (eds.) Beyond Red Power:

American Indian Politics and Activism Since 1900 (Santa Fe,

2007).

!

Collins Lisa Gail, and Margo Crawford (eds.), New Thoughts on

the Black Arts Movement (Newark, 2006).

!

Conyers Jr., James L., Engines of the Black Power Movement:

Essays on the Influence of Civil Rights Actions, Arts, and

Islam (London, 2007).

!

Deloria Jr., Vine, Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties: An Indian

Declaration of Independence (New York, 1974).

!

Guillory, Monique and Richard C. Green (eds.), Soul: Black Power,

Politics, and Pleasure (New York, 1998).

!

Hauptman, Laurence M., The Iroquois Struggle for Survival: World

War II to Red Power (New York, 1986).

!

Hilliard, David (eds.), The Black Panther Party: Service to the

People Programs (Albuquerque, 2008).

!

Jefferies, Judson L. (eds.), Black Power In the Belly of the Beast

(Chicago, 2006).

!

!

!145


Jessica McDonald

Johnson, Troy, Joane Nagel and Duane Champagne (eds.),

American Indian Activism: Alcatraz to the Longest Walk

(Urbana, 1997).

!

Johnson, Troy R., The Occupation of Alcatraz Island: Indian Self-

Determination and the Rise of Indian Activism (Chicago,

1996).

!

Johnson, Troy R., Red Power: The Native American Civil Rights

Movement (New York, 2007).

!

Josephy Jr., Alvin M., The American Indians Fight for Freedom

(Winter Park, 1971).

!

Joseph, Peniel E. (eds.), The Black Power Movement: Rethinking

the Civil Rights-Black Power Era (New York, 2006).

!

Joseph, Peniel E., Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to

Barack Obama (New York, 2010).

!

Joseph, Peniel E. (eds.), Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the

Local Level (New York, 2010).

!

King Jr., Martin Luther, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or

Community? (New York, 1967).

!

Nagel, Joane, American Indian Ethnic Renewal: Red Power and the

Resurgence of Identity and Culture (New York, 1996).

!

Nerburn, Kent and Louise Mengelkoch (eds.), Native American

Wisdom (Novato, 1991).

!

Ogbar, Jeffrey O. G., Black Power: Radical Politics and African

American Identity (London, 2004).

!

!

!146


Jessica McDonald

Ongiri, Amy A., Spectacular Blackness: The Cultural Politics of the

Black Power Movement and the Search for a Black Aesthetic

(Charlottesville, 2010).

!

Ryan, Selwyn and Taimoon Stewart (eds.), The Black Power

Revolution: 1970, A Retrospective (St. Augustine, 1995).

!

Shoemaker, Nancy, American Indians (Oxford, 2001).

!

Shreve, Bradley G., Red Power Rising: The National Indian Youth

Council and the Origins of Native Activism (Norman, 2011).

!

Slate, Nico (eds.), Black Power Beyond Borders: The Global

Dimensions of the Black Power Movement (New York, 2012).

!

Smith, Sherry L., Hippies, Indians, and the Fight for Red Power

(Oxford, 2012).

!

Smith, Paul Chaat, and Robert Allen Warrior, Like a Hurricane:

The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (New

York, 1996).

!

Ture, Kwame and Charles V. Hamilton, Black Power: The Politics

of Liberation (New York, 1992).

!

Tyson, Timothy B., Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the

Roots of Black Power (London, 1999).

!

Van DeBurg, William L., New Day In Babylon: The Black Power

Movement and American Culture (London, 1992).

!

Wendt, Simon, The Spirit and the Shotgun: Armed Resistance and

the Struggle for Civil Rights (Gainsville, 2006).

!

Woodard, Komozi, A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi

Jones) and Black Power Politics (London, 1999).

!

!147


Jessica McDonald

!

Articles

Altbach, Philip G., “Black Power” and the US Civil Rights

Movement’, Economic and Political Weekly, 1/6 (1966), pp.

233-234.

!

Amerman, Stephen Kent, "Let's Get in and Fight!": American

Indian Political Activism in an Urban Public School System,

1973’, American Indian Quarterly, 27/3 (2003), pp. 607-638.

Banks, Dennis and Richard Erdoes, Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks

and the Rise of the American Indian Movement (Norman,

2004).

Baringer, Sandra K., ‘Indian Activism and the American Indian

Movement: A Bibliographical Essay’, American Indian

Culture and Research Journal, 21/4 (1997), pp. 217-250.

Berger, Dan, ‘Rescuing Civil Rights from Black Power’, Journal for

the Study of Radicalism, 3/1 (2009), pp. 1-27.

!

Champagne, Duane, ‘Self-Determination and Activism Among

American Indians in the United States, 1972-1997’, Cultural

Survival Quarterly, 21/2 (1997), pp. 32-35.

!

Duwors, Richard, ‘Documents from the Indian Fishing Rights

Controversy in the Pacific Northwest’, The Pacific Northwest

Quarterly, 99/2 (2008), pp. 55-65.

!

Johnson, Troy, ‘The Occupation of Alcatraz Island: Roots of

American Indian Activism’, Wicazo Sa Review, 10/2 (1994),

pp. 63-79.

!

Joseph, Peniel E., ‘The Black Power Movement: A State of the

Field’, The Journal of American History, 96/3 (2009), pp.

751-776.

!

Joseph, Peniel E., ‘Foreword: Reinterpreting the Black Power

Movement’, OAH Magazine of History, 22/3 (2008), pp. 4-6.

!

!148


Jessica McDonald

!

Kotlowski, Dean J., ‘Alcatraz, Wounded Knee, and Beyond: The

Nixon and Ford Administrations Respond to Native American

Protest’, Pacific Historical Review, 72/2 (2003), pp. 201-227.

!

Langston, Donna Hightower, ‘American Indian Women’s Activism

in the 1960s and 1970s, Hypatia, 18/2 ( 2 0 0 3 ) , p p .

114-132.

!

Matlin, Daniel, “Lift up Yr Self!” Reinterpreting Amiri Baraka

(LeRoi Jones), Black Power, and the Uplift Tradition’, The

Journal of American History, 93/1 (2006), pp. 91-116.

!

Oakes, James, ‘The Political Significance of Slave Resistance’,

History Workshop, 22/ Special American Issue (1986), pp.

89-107.

!

Roos, Phillip D., Dowell H. Smith, Stephen Langley and James

McDonald, ‘The Impact of the American Indian Movement

on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation’, Phylon, 41/1 (1980),

pp. 89-99.

!

Shreve, Bradley G., “From Immemorial”: The Fish-In

Movement and the Rise of Intertribal Activism’, Pacific

Historical Review, 78/3 (2009), pp. 403-434.

!

Tyson, Timothy B., 'Robert F. Williams: "Black Power," and

the Roots of the African American Freedom Struggle', Journal

of American History, 85/2 (1998), pp. 540-70.

Van Horne, Winston A., ‘The Concept of Black Power: Its

Continued Relevance’, Journal of Black Studies, 37/3 (2007),

pp. 365-389.

!

Williams, Rhonda Y., ‘Black Women and Black Power’, OAH

Magazine of History, 22/3 (2008), pp. 22-26.

!

!!149


Jessica McDonald

Williams, Yohuru, “Some Abstract Thing Called Freedom”: Civil

Rights, Black Power, and the Legacy of the Black Panther

Party’, OAH Magazine of History, 22/3 ( 2 0 0 8 ) , p p .

16-21.

!

Websites

‘Black Power’, The King Center http://www.thekingcenter.org

[Accessed 19 March 2014].

!

‘Documents from the Black Arts Movement’, University of Illinois:

Modern American Poetry http://www.english.illinois.edu/

maps/blackarts/documents.htm [Accessed 23 March 2014].

!

‘Malcolm X’s Speech at the Founding Rally of the Organization of

Afro-American Unity – 1964’ Black Past: An Online

Reference Guide to African American Past http://

www.blackpast.org [Accessed 20 March 2014]

!

‘Newspapers, the Trail of Broken Treaties and the Politics of

Media’, Framing Red Power http://www.framingredpower.org

[Accessed 19 March 2014].

!

‘Rights of Native Americans’, National Archives: Records of Rights

http://recordsofrights.org [Accessed 19 March 2014].

!

!

!

!150


Ismay Milford

How important are clans to the conflict in Somalia?

— Ismay Milford

!

The ongoing conflict in Somalia has sometimes been viewed as an

exception to the pattern of wars across Africa, largely on the basis

of Somalia's ethnic homogeneity.

1

And yet, media representations of

a 'clan conflict' have precisely the same problems as those of 'ethnic

war': they are reductive, anachronistic and conflate the form that

the conflict takes with its cause. Nevertheless, academics too,

notably Ioan Lewis, have traditionally posited Somalia's clan

structure as inherently divisive.

2

Clans certainly are important,

necessary even, to understanding the conflict in Somalia, but only

because certain actors have made them so. To argue this case I will

consider three ways in which the meaning of 'clan' has evolved and

reasons why the importance of clans cannot be taken at face value:

firstly, the role of the state; secondly, the nature of rebels; and

finally the role of external actors. If clans are to help solve Somalia's

problems, we need to situate them in their historical context and

take radically new approaches to understanding them, a fact that

some recent scholarship is finally embracing.

3

!

Placing clan politics at the centre of Somalia's conflict allows the

conduct of those in power to go unnoticed while ordinary people

are blamed for their predicament. Scholars who resign to the idea

that the state is inherently unworkable in Somalia are effectively

discounting its agency in the conflict by suggesting that it was

doomed from the outset.

4

Post-colonial Somali governments may

have faced many hurdles, but there was potential for the formation

1

Mary Harper, Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith War and Hope in a

Shattered State (London, 2012), pp. 14, 34.

2

Ioan Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland: Culture, History,

Society (London, 2008).

3

Notably Lidwien Kapteijns, to whom I will return.

4

Harper, Getting Somalia Wrong?, p. 4.

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Ismay Milford

of a stable and democratic state.

5

The nationalist programme

pursued in the years following independence witnessed significant

successes, such as the 1974 literacy campaign, and Shermarke's

cabinet was representative and democratic.

6

However, as was the

case in many newly independent African nations, power rapidly

came to be seen as an easy means to personal enrichment through

the control of resources – 1002 candidates from 62 parties stood for

election in 1969.

7

Seizing power following the 1969 coup d'état,

Siad Barre embraced the role as just this; rewarding supporters

through patrimonial networks and nepotism that undermined any

attempt at building national unity, while violently suppressing

opposition by means of collective punishment because the stakes of

the presidency were so high.

8

Barre's natural supporters were, like

him, of the Darod clan, while opposition generally came from other

clans who felt under-represented; it is no surprise that this created

hostility between clans, giving the impression of unfair clan-based

advantages. On a local level neo-patrimonialism led to a shortage of

resources throughout Somalia. It is generally agreed that the famine

of 1991, the most lethal in Somali history, was neither

5

Catherine Besteman and Lee V. Cassanelli, 'Introduction: Politics

and Production in Southern Somalia', in Catherine Besteman and

Lee V. Cassanelli, The Struggle for Land in Southern Somalia: The war

behind the war (London, 2003/1996), p. 7.

6

Lidwien Kapteijns, Clan Cleansing in Somalia: The Ruinous Legacy

of 1991 (Philadelphia, 2013), p. 3; Lewis, Understanding Somalia and

Somaliland, p. 33; Lee N. Cassanelli, 'Explaining the Somali Crisis',

in Besteman and Cassanelli, The Struggle for Land in Southern

Somalia: The war behind the war, p. 17.

7

Jennifer Morrison Taw, 'The Perils of Humanitarian Assistance in

Armed Internal Conflicts: Somalia in the 1990s', Small Wars &

Insurgencies, 15:2 (2004), p. 6.

8

Kapteijns, Clan Cleansing in Somalia, p. 2; William Reno, Warfare

in Independent Africa (Cambridge, 2011), p. 188.

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Ismay Milford

environmental nor unpreventable.

9

This lack of a welfare 'safety net'

meant, as Simons has mapped, that citizens had to rely on fixed

identities, such as clans, for protection, so we see how the failure to

distribute resources encouraged clanism.

10

Barre's patrimonial

politics directly exacerbated local grievances, one pertinent example

being the 1975 law which saw the resettlement of central and

north-eastern nomads onto the fertile land around the Jubba valley.

Supporters of Barre who had lost herds through drought were

handed land-rights at the expense of the minority population

already farming the land. These pastoralists were already

marginalised by their Af-maay dialect (which was not understood

by other Somalis), their lack of involvement in government and the

fact that many were former slave descendants.

11

Therefore clearly

ethnic homogeneity is too simplistic a narrative. The new arrivals in

the area undermined the authority of local elites:

12

a 1988 study

revealed that all landowners in the area were government officials,

three-quarters of whom originated from elsewhere. Three-quarters

of households reported fearing losing their land and livelihood to

those with political connections.

13

Cassanelli quite rightly argues

that Somalia's conflict was essentially a struggle for land and

resources,

14

but it must be understood that the failure of

distribution was a side-effect of the fact that the unpopular state

could only prop itself up by rewarding clan-based loyalties.

!

9

Cassanelli, 'Explaining the Somali Crisis', p. 15; Abdi Ismail

Samatar, 'Destruction of State and Society in Somalia: Beyond the

Tribal Convention', The Journal of Modern African Studies, 30: 4

(1992), p. 625.

10

Anna Simons, 'Democratisation and ethnic conflict: the kin

connection', Nations and Nationalism, 3: 2 (1997), pp. 273-289.

11

Cassanelli, 'Explaining the Somali Crisis', p. 16; Lewis,

Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p. 4.

12

Cassanelli, 'Explaining the Somali Crisis', pp. 15, 21.

13

Study cited in Reno, Warfare in Independent Africa, p. 189.

14

Cassanelli, 'Explaining the Somali Crisis', pp. 23-24.

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Ismay Milford

However, it would be misleading to identify the state as the sole

culprit in the conflict, considering the violence carried out against

government officials. Rebel leaders were central actors in the

'clanicisation' of the conflict (although it must be remembered that,

where democratic opposition and free speech were impossible,

rebels had few options). Reno identifies Somalia as a key example

of warlordism.

15

Both the United Somali Congress (USC) and the

Somali National Movement (SNM), as well as other opposition

parties, were competitors for power who arguably wanted to reap

the same benefits of government as did Barre: “all clans want what

his clan had” one Somali businessman told.

16

Their methods for

inspiring support also fit the warlord model. As opposed to rallying

support for a particular cause or proving their ability to rule, the

USC played on popular grievances and existing structures. The

Darod clan, not Barre's regime, was blamed for Somali suffering,

supported by the idea of “one hundred years of Darod rule," a

reference to the hierarchy of clans used by colonial powers.

17

The

grudges that many nomads felt towards the wealthy urban elite

were mobilised and rebel leaders promised this wealth as reward for

fighting.

18

Kapteijns has recently explored the agency of discourse

in the conflict, convincingly demonstrating how clan hate-narratives

and conflict affect each other.

19

Simply by talking in terms of clan,

real and imagined grievances became clan issues, leading to clanbased

violence, which in turned strengthened clan hostilities due to

impunity. Hate-narratives were a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts –

not naturally evolving but designed to justify violence.

20

Ordinary

people did kill in the name of their clan therefore clans must be

15

Reno, Warfare in Independent Africa, p. 188.

16

Cited in Morrison Taw, 'The Perils of Humanitarian Assistance in

Armed Internal Conflicts', p. 8.

17

Kapteijns, Clan Cleansing in Somalia, pp. 199, 210.

18

Ibid., p. 199.

19

Kapteijns, Clan Cleansing in Somalia; and Lidwien Kapteijns, 'I.

M. Lewis and Somali Clanship: A Critique', Northeast African

Studies, 11: 1, 2004-2010 (2011).

20

Kapteijns, 'I. M. Lewis and Somali Clanship', p. 233.

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Ismay Milford

taken seriously. But the mere existence of clans in no way

engendered conflict; it is not unreasonable to suggest that in the

absence of a clan network rebels could have mobilised any structure

– dialect, religion, community. As Kaldor has noted, once a political

project is based on identity, as opposed to an ideological cause, it

demands the elimination of certain groups and becomes deadly.

21

Somalis attest to the manipulation of clans, with some poetry

talking about how their meaning has been “poisoned."

22

!

However, the model of warlord rebels is lacking with respect to

developments during the 1990s. Following the declaration by the

SNM of the independence, which was never officially recognised, of

Somaliland in 1991, this region has witnessed relative stability,

23

challenging the idea that state-building in Somalia is impossible. It

boasts a constitutional government, and basic education, health,

and legal services, and has held several democratic elections: it is a

classic “state-in-waiting” conceived by the same rebel group who

seemed to use warlord tactics.

24

The other major problem with the

warlord model is the role of Islam in Somalia. Islamist rebel groups

have, since the 1990s, attracted followers on the basis of ideological

Islam – rather than through promises of war spoils and

manipulation of grievances and grudges – and with considerable

success. Some even consider Islam as a potentially uniting force.

25

With this in mind, Reno's models are not as distinct as he suggests.

Reno is right to emphasise the determining role of the state in the

character of rebels but instead of understanding warlordism as a

'type' of rebel, we need to see it as the employment of particular

tactics, recognising the enterprise of rebels in certain circumstances

21

Mary Kaldor, cited in Kapteijns, Clan Cleansing in Somalia, p.

200.

22

Kapteijns, Clan Cleansing in Somalia, p. 69.

23

Mark Bradbury, Becoming Somaliland (London, 2008), p. 1.

24

Ibid., p. 4.

25

Harper, Getting Somalia Wrong?, pp. 11, 39; Abdalla Omar

Mansur, 'The Nature of the Somali Clan System', in Ahmed, Ali

Jimale (ed.), The Invention of Somalia (Lawrenceville, 1995), p. 118.

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Ismay Milford

and asking why the same rebels resort to warlordism (and the

construction of clan hate-narratives) in others.

!

Labelling Somalia as a 'clan conflict' also implies that it was

contained within national boundaries, absolving responsibility from

the outside world. In fact, international actors contributed both to

laying the foundations for 'clanicisation' and to enabling conflict

through aid. Samatar identifies the imposition of colonial rule on

Somalia as a key turning point in the evolution of the meaning of

clans.

26

Both Italy and Britain utilised existing clan networks to

implement their rule, rewarding loyal clans and punishing others

collectively,

27

just as colonial powers did with ethnicity elsewhere.

The Europeans obtusely felt they were using traditional structures

that the Somali people understood. In reality, the blood-ties that

they took to be clans were only one part of the whole meaning of

clan, the other half being the Xeer, a set of rules and norms that

ensured leaders had popular support.

28

Traditionally, the

subsistence economy meant that few were not engaged in

production and there was no surplus to be competed over. But,

with the commercialisation of the economy under colonial rule, the

way clans worked was irreversibly altered.

29

It is this dynamism that

Lewis ignores, commenting that Somalia in the 1990s was the same

as when European explorers arrived in the nineteenth century, only

with spears replaced by bazookas.

30

Certain elites took advantage of

the system and it is no surprise that post-colonial rulers adopted

similar methods of maintaining control. In addition, independence

26

Samatar, 'Destruction of State and Society in Somalia’, p. 631.

27

Kapteijns, Clan Cleansing in Somalia, p. 194; Kapteijns, 'I. M.

Lewis and Somali Clanship', p. 1.

28

Samatar, 'Destruction of State and Society in Somalia’, pp. 630,

639.

29

Ibid., p. 639.

30

Lewis, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland, p. 77.

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Ismay Milford

created an 'end-of-hierarchy' moment where control over resources

inevitably became a prize to be fought over.

31

!

Foreign influence did not end with independence. Within Africa,

Ethiopia and Kenya provided bases and resources for rebels

throughout the 1980s. Meanwhile, Barre was initially supported by

Eastern bloc countries, but the Soviet Union's disavowal of the

regime in 1977 saw the West harness its Cold War potential and the

influx of foreign money soar: foreign aid (primarily from the United

States and Italy) accounted for a staggering 57% of annual gross

national product during the 1980s.

32

It was a vital part of the

economy, partly enabling, although not causing, Barre's patrimonial

style of rule.

33

Barre was fully capable of abusing the dire situation.

For example, he claimed that one million people in the Ogaden

region were threatened by starvation when the true figure was less

than half this number and the money he received was undoubtedly

directed elsewhere.

34

With the end of the Cold War Somalia was no

longer of interest to the United States and little attempt was made

to discover the roots of the problem.

35

Even during the conflict's

peak in the 1990s, when food aid and relief workers were sent into

conflict zones to ‘alleviate symptoms’, this was not without

consequence. Morrison has convincingly argued that humanitarian

aid has been inherently interventionist and partial in all of Africa's

conflicts, Somalia providing a case study.

36

Simply by distributing

31

Morrison Taw, 'The Perils of Humanitarian Assistance in Armed

Internal Conflicts', p. 6.

32

Morrison Taw, 'The Perils of Humanitarian Assistance in Armed

Internal Conflicts', p. 7; Reno, Warfare in Independent Africa, p. 188;

Seth Kaplan, 'Rethinking State-building in a Failed State', The

Washington Quarterly, 33:1 (2010), p. 83.

33

Morrison Taw, 'The Perils of Humanitarian Assistance in Armed

Internal Conflicts', p. 11.

34

Ibid., p. 7.

35

Ibid., p. 11.

36

Morrison Taw, 'The Perils of Humanitarian Assistance in Armed

Internal Conflicts', pp. 5, 15.

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Ismay Milford

supplies in one area aid workers implicitly supported certain clans.

As aid became a target for theft, guards were employed, but these

were often working for warlords, enriched by foreign money.

Viewing the situation as simply one of security, the United States

sent troops to Somalia, sealing the interventionist involvement of

the West, and with the strengthening of Islam an unstable Somalia

came to be seen as an Al-Qaeda breeding ground, especially

post-9/11, attracting yet more US attention.

37

Even the simple act

of hiring interpreters means favouring certain clans.

38

Aid did not

cause conflict, but it was unavoidably impartial and exacerbated

perceived grievances between clans, fuelling clan hate-narratives.

This somewhat disheartening observation, and the relative stability

of Somaliland (recipient of almost no foreign aid or intervention),

has led Harper to conclude that Somalis would be better left to “do

things themselves,"

39

and others to insist on a bottom-up approach

that uses the 'traditional' Somali system.

40

But these so-called

traditional structures have been manipulated to the point of being

unrecognisable, taking on, as has been emphasised throughout,

new, lethal meanings. Humanitarian aid did and does save lives so

cannot be easily dismissed, but its distribution under the illusion of

neutrality was complicit in the development and continuation of

conflict.

!

Far from dismissing clans when thinking about conflict in Somalia,

we need to pursue new ways of thinking about them in order to

extricate the conflict from simplistic, Eurocentric narratives.

Kapteijns' exploration of clan discourse, as not only a tool used by

state and rebel leaders but a decisive actor in the conflict, offers one

direction for research. For some commentators Somalia's ethnic

homogeneity means it cannot be thought of in the same terms as

37

Ibid., pp. 9-11.

38

Cassanelli, 'Explaining the Somali Crisis', p. 7.

39

Harper, Getting Somalia Wrong?, p. 201.

40

Kaplan, 'Rethinking State-building in a Failed State', p. 82.

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Ismay Milford

other African wars.

41

And yet many factors in this conflict – a neopatrimonial

state, excluded rebels with limited options, vulnerable

populations, a detrimental colonial legacy, the unintended

consequences of foreign aid – reoccur again and again when

studying Africa. Instead of suggesting that Somalia is an exception,

perhaps Somalia is cause for reassessment of how we think about

ethnicity in Africa altogether.

!

41

Harper, Getting Somalia Wrong?, p. 34.

!!159


Ismay Milford

Bibliography

!

Bradbury, Mark, Becoming Somaliland (London, 2008).

!

Besteman, Catherine and Lee V. Cassanelli, 'Introduction: Politics

and Production in Southern Somalia', in Besteman, Catherine

and Lee V. Cassanelli, The Struggle for Land in Southern

Somalia: The war behind the war (London, 2003/1996), pp.

3-12.

!

Cassanelli, Lee N., 'Explaining the Somali Crisis', in Besteman,

Catherine and Lee V. Cassanelli, The Struggle for Land in

Southern Somalia: The war behind the war (London,

2003/1996), pp. 13-25.

!

Harper, Mary, Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith War and Hope in a

Shattered State (London, 2012).

!

Kaplan, Seth, 'Rethinking State-building in a Failed State', The

Washington Quarterly, 33:1 (2010), pp. 81-97.

!

Kapteijns, Lidwien, 'I. M. Lewis and Somali Clanship: A Critique',

Northeast African Studies, 11: 1, 2004-2010 (2011), pp. 1-23.

!

Kapteijns, Lidwien, Clan Cleansing in Somalia: The Ruinous

Legacy of 1991 (Philadelphia, 2013).

!

Lewis, Ioan, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland: Culture,

History, Society (London, 2008).

!

Mansur, Abdalla Omar, 'The Nature of the Somali Clan System', in

Ahmed, Ali Jimale (ed.), The Invention of Somalia

(Lawrenceville, 1995), pp. 117-134.

Morrison Taw, Jennifer, 'The Perils of Humanitarian Assistance in

Armed Internal Conflicts: Somalia in the 1990s', Small Wars &

Insurgencies, 15:2 (2004), pp. 5-19.

!!160


!

!

Ismay Milford

Reno, William, Warfare in Independent Africa (Cambridge, 2011).

Samatar, Abdi Ismail, 'Destruction of State and Society in Somalia:

Beyond the Tribal Convention', The Journal of Modern

African Studies, 30: 4 (1992), pp 625-641.

!

Simons, Anna, 'Democratisation and ethnic conflict: the kin

connection', Nations and Nationalism, 3: 2 (1997), pp.

273-289.

!

!

!161


!

Part Two: Society Affairs

!

!162


!

About the History Society Executive Committee

— 2013-2014

!

Matt Williams, President

Matt is in the final year of a phenomenal undergraduate History

degree at Durham and will pursue an MSc in Marketing next year.

Since joining the DUHS he has been Social Secretary 2012/13, has

had a fantastic experience as President 2013/14 and will continue

his involvement in the society as Publicity and Sponsorship

secretary next year. Matt has found his roles very rewarding and has

greatly enjoyed working with this year’s amazing executive team to

further expand the society. His fondest memories are being the

baron of Lumley Castle for the evening and the many fascinating

conversations with the speakers invited by the society.

!

Greg Mazgajczyk, Vice-President

Greg is in his final year of a degree in History and next year plans

to study the Graduate Diploma in Law. He joined the exec in 2012

as Publicity and Sponsorship Secretary and held the position of

Vice-President in 2013-14, and has had a fantastic two years.

Greg’s favourite moments include the traditional Vice-President’s

trip (literally, when he slipped down a hill) to Hadrian’s Wall, sitting

on the throne at the Lumley Castle Ball, and the many enjoyable

and informative talks the Society has run.

!

Ivan Yuen, Treasurer

Having thoroughly enjoyed his two years on the DUHS exec, first

as Journal Editor and subsequently as Treasurer, Ivan will be sad to

leave this illustrious society and the historic city in which it thrives.

This year he particularly enjoyed going on the Hadrian's Wall Trip,

and entertaining external speakers. He has met some wonderful

people through being part of the society, and is grateful to the

fantastic DUHS activities for reminding him of why, despite all the

!163


late nights, deadlines and constant reading, he still loves history

very dearly. He is hoping to join our sponsor and enter the world of

law hereafter.

!

James Callingham, Secretary

James has thoroughly appreciated holding the position of Secretary

this year. His principal responsibility has been the organisation of

the Society’s academic talks throughout the year, which have

proven well-attended and great fun. It has been an excellent

opportunity to meet historians from around the country to discuss

current affairs and history society gossip at the pre-talk dinners.

James also attended the Society’s excellent socials this year, and

particularly enjoyed the perks of sitting on the Executive

Committee table at the Lumley Castle Ball. James would like to

thank everyone who attended the talks, and hopes that they found

them equally useful and beneficial.

!

Holly Rowe, Publicity and Sponsorship Secretary

Holly is in her final year of a Joint Honours Modern Languages

(French) and History degree. She has held the position of DUHS

Publicity and Sponsorship secretary for the past year. In this role,

she has been responsible for securing sponsorship, communicating

with our sponsor, Clifford Chance, and publicising our academic

and social events. One of her principal tasks was the organisation of

an Open Day at the Clifford Chance London offices, and she has

also been involved in the Journal Editorial Team. Holly is

graduating from Durham in July, before starting work in affiliate

marketing for an online retail company.

!

Natalie Walsh and Hannah White, Social Secretaries

Natalie and Hannah have particularly enjoyed sharing the role of

DUHS Social Secretary. For Hannah, who enters her final year of a

History and Politics degree, particular highlights of the year have

been the Freshers’ Barbecue, which provided the newcomers a

!164


chance to familiarise themselves with the Society and get to know

one another; and the post-summative socials, which offered a great

opportunity to relax after weeks spent in the library. Natalie, a

second year historian, has appreciated the role as part of the

Executive Committee, and the opportunity to meet other historians

from different colleges through the social events. Without doubt,

the most memorable event of the year was the Lumley Castle Ball

and the feasting and dancing in the dungeon that the event

entailed. After such a great experience this year, Hannah looks

forward to taking on the role of Vice President next year, and

Natalie wishes the best of luck to the incoming social secretaries.

!

Siena Morrell, Journal Editor

Siena has embraced her nosy tendencies as Editor of the History

Society Journal, reading and editing over thirty excellent essays for

no purpose other than her - admittedly nerdy - love of the job.

Siena has been privileged to collaborate with such an efficient and

professional Editorial Team, and she has particularly enjoyed

getting to know and working with the DUHS Executive Committee

this year. She is heading off to Paris next year to perfect her

language skills, but really intends to spend much of her time

exploring patisseries. Siena’s plans for the future include

undertaking a dissertation in European diplomatic history, and

actively campaigning to sustain print culture.

!

!165


About the Contributors

!

Jack Hepworth

Jack is a second-year student from Preston, Lancashire, reading

History at St John’s College, Durham. With diverse interests

spanning kingship in late medieval Europe, the social and religious

history of early modern Lancashire, and Anglo-Irish relations in the

twentieth century, it is Jack’s vague intention to continue his studies

in Durham until his first novel, a satirical work redrafted several

times and subsequently consigned to its box-file just as often, is

published. With characteristic pragmatism, he is preparing himself

for a long wait.

!

Stephanie Ballard

Stephanie is a MA student from St. Cuthbert’s Society. She earned

her BA in History from George Mason University where she wrote

her dissertation on the politics and ideology behind the Romanov

family’s captivity and execution. Despite this detour into modern

history, she is primarily interested in early modern English society.

Her MA dissertation will analyse seventeenth-century apprentices’

burial locations in order to reveal contemporary aspects of youth

culture, concepts of family and kinship networks.

!

Matt Hoser

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Matt is a second year historian

from Castle. Interested in the history of ideas, the concept of

barbarism, and memory studies, he is keen to pursue postgraduate

studies in history, but remains undecided as to what his speciality

will become.

!

William Vick

Will is a member of St. Cuthbert’s Society who hopes to graduate

in summer 2014 with a BA in History. His particular historical

interests include nationalism and identity studies in medieval and

!166


modern Europe, and he wrote his dissertation about contemporary

Liverpudlian identity and its relationship with the difficult memory

of Liverpool’s role in transatlantic slavery. He aims to undertake a

postgraduate course in these subjects in the future, following a year

of saving up and travelling in Central America.

!

Joshua Kaye

Josh is a third-year student, graduating from St. Aidan's College

with a Joint Honours Degree in History and Classics. His

dissertation covered both disciplines, answering scholars' 'incessant

pleas' for a study into the impact of ancient political theory on the

ideology and politics of the Tudor monarchy. If Josh could be any

figure from history he would be Alexander the Great – only without

the painful, alcohol-induced death.

!

Victoria Cacchione

Victoria is an exchange student from Dickinson College in Carlisle,

Pennsylvania, and is a member of Hatfield College. She does a dual

degree in archaeology and history, with a particular interest in

colonial and early American history. If she were a figure from

history, Victoria would be Abigail Adams, as she embodied strength,

intelligence, and fortitude during one of the most trying times in

American history.

!

Hannah Fitzpatrick

Hannah is a second-year student at Trevelyan College with a keen

interest in Early Modern Britain, especially the social and cultural

dynamics of monarchy after 1688. Accordingly, she is planning on

basing her dissertation on the memoirs of John Hervey and Horace

Walpole, both of whom were key figures at the Court of George II.

!

!167


Naomi Warin

Naomi is a first year History student at Castle. She also takes a

French module and hopes to study in Paris in her third year. Naomi

is especially interested in modern world history and the history of

international relations. If she were a figure from history, Naomi

would like to have been Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester.

As leader of a rebellion against Henry III, he called one of the first

English parliaments to consist of a franchise extended to the

common man. Consequently, he might be viewed as one of the

forefathers of English parliamentary democracy.

!

Jessica Macdonald

Jessica graduated from Queen Mary, University of London in 2012

with First-class honours in History. She is currently reading for a

MA in Modern History at Ustinov College. Her dissertation

“Homelessness in New York City: 1870-1920” aims to historicise a

social issue that is just as relevant and prevalent today; focussing on

how the homeless navigated the strict spaces imposed on them by

federal and municipal government, in both life and death. Her

research will examine not just the isolated institutions homeless

persons were forced into, but also the city’s Potters Fields where

many were anonymously laid to rest.

!

Ismay Milford

Ismay is a fourth year Combined Arts student, graduating this

summer from St Cuthbert's Society. Her dissertation considered

the integration of pied-noir French Algerians in the metropolitan

following Algerian independence, a topic inspired by a year spent in

France. Next year she hopes to study for an MA in History at

Bristol University.

!

!168


About the Editors

!

Ellie de la Bedoyere

Ellie recently wrote her dissertation on the hidden relationship

between the Russian and British secret police before the First World

War. Having uncovered the prolific communication between the

two police forces, she learned that the power of a little editing and a

few omissions here and there could change a country’s history.

Indeed in this case it preserved Britain’s reputation as a place of

liberalism and democracy for another century. During her time at

Palatinate, Ellie learned that a little editing can push an article from

safe to outrageous; a change of a few words can inspire fury and

outrage. Just as it can change a country’s history or aggravate

public opinion, a little editing can transform a jumble of thoughts

into a first class essay. Therefore as she leaves the safety of the

Durham bubble this year, her parting words of wisdom are

merely to give your essay another read.

!

Alayna Kenney

Alayna is a first-year historian in Hild Bede. Her love of history

derives in part from the fact that she lives next to the pond from

which Henry VIII’s horse used to drink when he rode to see Anne

Boleyn at Hever. Alongside juggling six modules of History, Alayna

has played university lacrosse and college netball; and she is already

very much looking forward to her second year at Durham.

!

Claire Oxlade

Claire is a fresher studying History. She is from Durham’s

friendliest college, St. Mary’s, where she works as the manager of

the Toastie Bar, is a cheerleader, and future Frep. Having dabbled

in writing articles for The Bubble, Claire is very excited to be a part

of the editing team for the DUHS Journal. As an enthusiastic

member of Durham’s Baking Society, she is keen to become a food

historian, which probably explains why she enjoyed the Lumley

Castle Ball so much.

!169


!

Geraint Thomas

Geraint is a finalist studying English Literature and History at St

Chad’s college. His principal area of historical interest is Native

American studies, specifically contemporary issues which affect

Native communities such as cultural misappropriation, activism

and inadequacies in the Indian Health Service. This last theme

formed the basis of his dissertation; an examination of Native

American reproductive health abuse in the late twentieth century,

including the coerced sterilization campaign of the 1970s, its legacy

upon Native trust, or rather mistrust, of the IHS and recent issues

concerning contraceptive abuse. Studying History at Durham has

been an amazingly formative experience for Geraint, both

academically and socially, and studying at such a prestigious

department with many renowned academics has truly been an

honour. Next year he intends to continue my research into Native

American literature, culture and history as he has secured a place

on Durham English Department’s ‘Twentieth-Century Literature’

MA course.

!

Sophie Tulley

Sophie is about to complete her second year studying History. She

has a keen interest in twentieth century American history,

specifically with regards to evangelical Christianity and the

American Right. This year, she has developed a new interest in

cultural history through the study of film and art, which she hopes

to pursue in her final year at Durham. She has thoroughly enjoyed

reading the fascinating submissions for this year’s DUHS Journal.

She looks forward to her position as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal

next year, alongside her good friend Jessica Ng.

!170

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