Masks of Empire The World History Underneath Modern Empires and Nations, c.1500 to the Present by Richard Drayton

Masks of Empire The World History Underneath Modern Empires and Nations, c.1500 to the Present

Written by Richard Drayton
Illustrated by

RRP £30.00


Masks of Empire The World History Underneath Modern Empires and Nations, c.1500 to the Present by Richard Drayton

This book explores how, underneath the mask of imperial power, material facts such as rivers and winds, tools and technologies, the impetus and drag of older social and cultural structures, shape global history. Empires make world history, but they do not make it exactly as they choose. The facts of geography - mountains and marshes, rivers, winds and ocean currents - and of human technology, social organisation and culture determine how social power is constituted in space. Most historical writing has found its impetus in forms of patriotism, and has obscured the complexity of interests that underlie empires, and their modern heirs, nations. Masks of Empire consists of provocations which seek to push historians to consider the very long term history of cultures of domination, the role of rivers, winds and currents, the unity of European imperialisms, the 'New Imperialism' as part of the global history of Bureaucracy, the British and American empires as effects of global history rather than its drivers, the complex temporalities of imperial expansion and retreat, and Twenty-first century imperialism.

About the Author

Richard Drayton is Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at King's College London, UK. He was born in the Caribbean and educated at Harvard, Yale and Oxford. His Nature's Government: Imperial Britain and the 'Improvement' of the World won the Forkosch Prize of the American Historical Association (2001). He has taught at Oxford, Virginia and Cambridge.

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Book Info


138 pages


Richard Drayton
More books by Richard Drayton


Palgrave Pivot an imprint of Palgrave Macmillan

Publication date

20th December 2017



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