Cover image for Reordering the world : essays on liberalism and empire
Reordering the world : essays on liberalism and empire
Bell, Duncan, 1976- author.
Personal Author:
Physical Description:
xii, 441 pages ; 24 cm


Material Type
Item Barcode
Call Number
Shelf Location
Item Holds
Book 0343880 JC574.2.G7 B45 2016 Central Campus Library

On Order



A leading scholar of British political thought explores the relationship between liberalism and empire

Reordering the World is a penetrating account of the complexity and contradictions found in liberal visions of empire. Focusing mainly on nineteenth-century Britain--at the time the largest empire in history and a key incubator of liberal political thought--Duncan Bell sheds new light on some of the most important themes in modern imperial ideology.

The book ranges widely across Victorian intellectual life and beyond. The opening essays explore the nature of liberalism, varieties of imperial ideology, the uses and abuses of ancient history, the imaginative functions of the monarchy, and fantasies of Anglo-Saxon global domination. They are followed by illuminating studies of prominent thinkers, including J. A. Hobson, L. T. Hobhouse, John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick, Herbert Spencer, and J. R. Seeley. While insisting that liberal attitudes to empire were multiple and varied, Bell emphasizes the liberal fascination with settler colonialism. It was in the settler empire that many liberal imperialists found the place of their political dreams.

Reordering the World is a significant contribution to the history of modern political thought and political theory.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
1 Introduction: Reordering the Worldp. 1
Political Thought and Empirep. 3
Structure of the Bookp. 8
Part I Frames
2 The Dream Machine: On Liberalism and Empirep. 19
Languages of Empirep. 20
Intertextual Empire: Writing Liberal Imperialismp. 26
On Settler Colonialismp. 32
The Tyranny of the Canonp. 48
3 What Is Liberalism?p. 62
Constructing Liberalism: Scholarly Purposes and Interpretive Protocolsp. 65
A Summative Conceptionp. 69
Liberalism before Lockep. 73
Wars of Position: Consolidating Liberalismp. 81
Conclusion: Conscripts of Liberalismp. 90
4 Ideologies of Empirep. 91
Imperial Imaginariesp. 94
Ideologies of Justificationp. 101
Ideologies of Governancep. 106
Ideologies of Resistancep. 110
Conclusionsp. 115
Part II Themes
5 Escape Velocity: Ancient History and the Empire of Timep. 119
The Time of Empire: Narratives of Decline and Fallp. 121
Harnessing the Time Spirit: On Imperial Progressp. 132
The Transfiguration of Empirep. 141
6 The Idea of a Patriot Queen? The Monarchy, the Constitution, and the Iconographic Order of Greater Britain, 1860-1900p. 148
Constitutional Patriotism and the Monarchyp. 152
Civic Republicanism and the Colonial Orderp. 160
Conclusionsp. 165
7 Imagined Spaces: Nation, State, and Territory in the British Colonial Empire, 1860-1914p. 166
Salvaging Empirep. 168
Remaking the Peoplep. 173
Translocalism: Expanding the Publicp. 178
Conclusionsp. 181
8 The Project for a New Anglo Century: Race, Space, and Global Orderp. 182
Empire, Nation, State: On Greater Britainp. 183
The Reunion of the Race: On Anglo-Americap. 189
Afterlives of Empire: Anglo-America and Global Governancep. 196
Millennia! Dreams, or, Back to the Futurep. 204
Part III Thinkers
9 John Stuart Mill on Coloniesp. 211
On Systematic Colonization: From Domestic to Globalp. 214
Colonial Autonomy, Character, and Civilizationp. 224
Melancholic Colonialism and the Pathos of Distancep. 229
Conclusionsp. 236
10 International Society in Victorian Political Thought: T. H. Green, Herbert Spencer, and Henry Sidgwick With Casper Sylvestp. 237
Progress, Justice, and Order: On Liberal Internationalismp. 239
International Society: Green, Spencer, Sidgwickp. 243
Civilization, Empire, and the Limits of International Moralityp. 258
Conclusionsp. 264
11 John Robert Seeley and the Political Theology of Empirep. 265
Enthusiasm for Humanityp. 268
On Nationalist Cosmopolitanismp. 276
Expanding England: Democracy, Federalism, and the World-Statep. 281
Empire as Polychronicon: India and Irelandp. 290
12 Republican Imperialism: J. A. Froude and the Virtue of Empirep. 297
John Stuart Mill and Liberal Civilizing Imperialismp. 299
Republican Themes in Victorian Political Thoughtp. 302
J. A. Froude and the Pathologies of the Modernsp. 307
Dreaming of Rome: The Uses of History and the Future of "Oceana"p. 311
Conclusionsp. 319
13 Alter Orbis: E. A. Freeman on Empire and Racial Destinyp. 321
Palimpsest: A World of Worldsp. 323
The "Dark Abyss": Freeman on Imperial Federationp. 327
On Racial Solidarityp. 334
14 Democracy and Empire: J. A. Hobson, L. T. Hobhouse, and the Crisis of Liberalismp. 341
Confronting Modernityp. 342
Hobhouse and the Ironies of Liberal Historyp. 345
Hobson and the Crisis of Liberalismp. 354
Conclusionsp. 361
15 Coda: (De)Colonizing Liberalismp. 363
Bibliographyp. 373
Indexp. 431