Charlotte Lydia Riley

When?
Wednesday, September 6 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

108 St Aldate's
City Centre
Oxford
OX1 1BU

Who?
Charlotte Lydia Riley

What's the talk about?

The British Empire was the largest empire in modern history. At its height, it covered a quarter of the world's surface and encompassed a fifth of the world's population. For centuries, Britannia ruled the waves; from Ireland to India, from Ghana to Guiana, the union flag flew high over British territory. Britain tells this story as a story of triumphs: a small island coming proudly to dominate the world, with the empire cast both as a sign of military might and as a humanitarian mission, bringing peace and civilisation to the wider world. But the reality was very different; the British empire was built on violence and exploitation, the populations under British rule rejected and resisted imperialism, and the British at home had a very ambivalent relationship to 'their' empire. This talk will look at some of the key myths of empire, and will explore why the British still have such a complicated understanding of their imperial past, and how the popular memory of empire still influences culture, politics and society today.

Charlotte Lydia Riley is a lecturer in twentieth century British history at the University of Southampton. She writes about the British empire and decolonization, aid and humanitarianism, and the Labour Party; her book explores all of these things to examine the connections between empire and the British metropole in the late twentieth century. She lives in east London and spends a lot of time on trains.

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