By Karuna Mantena
Alibis of Empire provides a unique account of the origins, substance, and afterlife of past due imperial ideology. Karuna Mantena demanding situations the concept Victorian empire was once basically legitimated by means of liberal notions of development and civilization. in reality, because the British Empire won its farthest achieve, its ideology was once being dramatically remodeled by way of a self-conscious rejection of the liberal version. The cave in of liberal imperialism enabled a brand new culturalism that under pressure the risks and problems of attempting to "civilize" local peoples. And, hand in hand with this shift in pondering was once a shift in perform towards versions of oblique rule. As Mantena indicates, the paintings of Victorian criminal student Henry Maine was once on the middle of those momentous adjustments. Alibis of Empire examines how Maine's sociotheoretic version of "traditional" society laid the foundation for the culturalist common sense of overdue empire. In charting the move from liberal idealism, via culturalist rationalization, to retroactive alibi inside nineteenth-century British imperial ideology, Alibis of Empire reveals a amazing and pervasive dynamic of contemporary empire.
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Additional info for Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism
77 The Eyre crisis would initiate a divide among liberals, between “old” and “new” Liberals, which would culminate in the crisis over Irish Home Rule and the abandonment of the Liberal Party by its more conservative members. 79 The public support for Eyre revealed an increasingly unsympathetic view of subject peoples, in this case toward the ex-slave population of Jamaica. The Morant Bay Rebellion, coming on the heels of the Indian Mutiny/Rebellion of 1857, signaled for many an ingratitude on the part of Jamaicans and Indians for the civilizing character of imperial rule.
The moral character of the natives as a product of circumstance and social conditioning was, in principle, amenable to transformation, most signiﬁcantly through the reform of law and government. The underlying image of human nature that sustained Mill’s program for reform was intrinsically universal. Mill’s obsessive critique of Jones’s account of the glories of Indian civilization was meant to argue against viewing India as having a unique and separate historical trajectory. 26 And, in doing so, Mill presented the grounds for why India could be deemed capable of improvement as well as a rationale for why Britain, as an advanced civilization, had the necessary knowledge and moral duty to rejuvenate Indian society.
The liberal manifesto of reform included 30 C H A P T E R O N E the expansion of education (where missionaries in particular took the lead) and a liberal economic policy (support of laissez-faire and the breaking up of “feudal” tenures). 43 In terms of aspirations the liberal age was the ﬁrst in which eventual self-government by Indians was ﬁrst contemplated,44 for the morality of rule was premised precisely on the grounds that once Britain completed its educative role in improving the morals and habits of the natives, giving them the capacity to exercise their liberty, its paternalist duty would be over.
Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism by Karuna Mantena