Scandal of Colonial Rule: Power and Subversion in the British Atlantic during the Age of Revolution (Critical Perspectives on Empire)

Scandal of Colonial Rule: Power and Subversion in the British Atlantic during the Age of Revolution (Critical Perspectives on Empire)

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James Epstein
Cambridge University Press, 2012-03-22
EAN 9781107003309, ISBN10: 110700330X

Paperback, 314 pages, 23 x 15.6 x 2 cm

'In this this rollicking, sensational tale of imperial misrule, James Epstein takes readers into the colonial underworld peopled by those rogues and scoundrels who both represented British colonial power and defied it … Drawing on legal records, parliamentary debate, personal memoirs, print culture and the uneven, fragmented remains of the colonial archive, he weaves together the fractious histories of Thomas Picton and William Fullarton, suturing their clash of wills to the most important questions of the day: the rule of law, the fate of free labor and the career of liberalism in and outside the metropole … Epstein never lets the men and women of color whose suffering was the scandal of colonial rule fall below our sightline … postcolonial history at its best: erudite, breathtaking, subversive - and portable … to a host of other imperial times and places …' Antoinette Burton, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

'Britain's newly acquired colony of Trinidad was, at the dawn of the nineteenth century, awash with migrants and refugees … its stability poised insecurely between the enslaved demands for freedom, and the repression which was the shank of colonial and plantocratic rule. The Governorship of Thomas Picton - violent, dictatorial and torturing - brought to a head … wider debates about colonial law and order, and about British governance on the far edges of empire. Through his clever use of archival materials, on both sides of the Atlantic, James Epstein weaves a compelling tale of popular demands for freedom and justice in the teeth of colonial brutality. [This book] offers, via a tantalising snapshot of a one slave colony, a broad panoramic survey of the world of Atlantic slavery - indeed of global domination - in the last phase of Britain's eighteenth-century empire.' James Walvin, University of York

'James Epstein is a distinguished scholar writing at the peak of his powers. In this masterful book he gives vital new meaning to the old maxim, so much of British history happened overseas.' Marcus Rediker, Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History, University of Pittsburgh

'Louise Calderon was an obscure mixed-race woman of dubious virtue living in Trinidad in the early nineteenth century whose torture led to a famous imperial scandal. James Epstein's remarkable new book shows how this scandal, in his sensitive hands, can illuminate both Louisa's brief moment of notoriety and, more importantly, the strange world of the British empire at its imperial meridian. Based on a wealth of archival research, Epstein reveals an imperial world of startling brutality and disturbing modernity, a world in which both liberalism and authoritarianism were in uneasy and fascinating juxtaposition. A rollicking good read with profound implications.' Trevor Burnard, University of Melbourne