Blog Archives

Where is Empathy in the Empire Culture War?

The problem with making the history of the British empire a weapon in a divisive culture war is the omission of empathy that such an act entails. Conservatives feel that radical activists are determined to see Empire as an evil

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Nadhim Zahawi and the Iraqi Civil Service: a benefit of empire we should teach our kids?

The Education secretary has now joined the Equalities Minister, arguing that the ‘positives’ of the British Empire should be taught to British schoolchildren. As if they haven’t been taught to us all for the last one hundred years. Nadhim Zahawi’s

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The British Empire and Race: A Debate with Robert Tombs

Alan Lester Background: On 9th January 2022, Robert Tombs, Emeritus Professor of French History at the University of Cambridge and myself debated the legacies of the British empire, all too briefly, on the GB TV News Channel’s The Debate programme.

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History Reclaimed – But From What?

A group of scholars including Andrew Roberts, Robert Tombs, Zareer Masani and the ubiquitous Nigel Biggar, has banded together to create the History Reclaimed Project. It consists at present of a website and social media presence that aims to rescue

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Culture Warriors’ Attacks on the National Trust

Charles Moore uses the Spectator of 3 June to rally support for a rebel National Trust group. Calling themselves Restore Trust, this group of disaffected members and former members bemoan the institution’s supposed surrender to ‘wokeness’. They also claim a

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The Common Sense Group’s Culture War, the “Woke” and British History

Alan Lester On 7th June it will be one year since Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters dumped the slave trader Edward Colston’s statue into Bristol Harbour. Around 50 Brexiteering Tory MPs styling themselves the Common Sense Group has published Common

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London’s Imperial Statues, Black Lives Matter and the Culture War

Alan Lester I’ve been spending more time than I’d like in St Thomas’ Hospital lately. St Thomas’ is at the centre of Britain’s memorial landscape, just across Westminster Bridge from the Houses of Parliament. Thanks to the Black Lives Matter

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Comments on the Report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

Alan Lester Deny and Disavow Last summer Black Lives Matter activists invited Britons, whatever our ethnicity, to reflect on the pernicious role of racism in our society. Their toppling of the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston made it

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Compensation and Dividends: Protecting British Property during the Transformation of Empire

by Alan Lester 1833 was a critical year for Britons who had invested in the Empire. Thanks to the work of the Legacies of British Slave Ownership team at UCL, we have got to know more about the thousands of

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Filing Empire: a one-day workshop at Columbia University

Last Friday, I represented the Snapshots team at the ‘Filing Empire’ workshop at Columbia University. The questions the workshop was designed to address are ones we’ve often tried to approach in our own work: how was empire constructed by and

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