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Liberalism and Empire (BISC)

Map of the Imperial Federation of the British Empire in 1886.

How were ideas of progress, liberty, and freedom, made compatible with imperial and colonial domination? This course will introduce students to the development of classical liberalism, its use as a justification for empire, and explore its interconnected relationship with imperialism and colonialism. The course focuses specifically on the British Empire in the nineteenth century and asks students to interrogate the paradoxical nature of liberal imperialism. Students will read both primary and secondary sources as we examine the emergence of modern liberalism alongside modern imperialism. By following the lifespan of liberal imperialism during the long nineteenth century, this course will help students to understand the contradictory nature of liberal imperialism, question our understanding of development and progress, and reflect on how liberalism, imperialism, and colonialism, have altered our perception of the world.

Please Note that this course is being offered only at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) based at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.