It’s been a while since my last post on this blog, but I’ve been busy with some other projects that should see the light of day over the course of 2014. One thing that I can reveal is my latest contribution to the IHR’s Reviews in History, a review of the notable Jack P. Greene’s latest book, Evaluating Empire and Confronting Colonialism in Eighteenth Century Britain. I’m a big fan of Greene’s work, although I didn’t feel that this one rose to the same level as some of his other writings.
I will give Greene credit for attempting to analyze political language on the important question of how Britain came to embrace its empire. After all, the British Empire was originally just a collection of trading outposts, and global dominance was hardly something that this famously insular people had sought out. But doing history of language is tricky, because of the extraordinary temptation to substitute one’s own categories of language for ones that were actually in use at the time. I think that is what happened here.
You can read the whole review here.