Facing Empire

fullagarposted copyForthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018: Facing Empire: Indigenous Experiences in a Revolutionary Age, 1760-1840, edited by Kate Fullagar and Michael A. McDonnell: pre-order here now!

The late eighteenth century is often depicted as a Revolutionary Age because of the intense political struggles that took place in Europe, Asia and the Americas. But another revolutionary dimension of this era was the profound acceleration in encounters and contacts between new peoples around the globe.  As historian C.A. Bayly has noted, European imperial expansion was one of the main drivers of this phenomenon, but so too were indigenous peoples, especially in thickening and complicating relations between different societies.

While many scholars have looked at this era of expanding imperialism and noted its links with globalisation, they have usually done so from European perspectives. Even as an increasing number of historians recognise the crucial roles indigenous people played in this process, few have tried to think comparatively about indigenous experiences within and across expanding imperial borders over the course of this revolutionary era. The result is that too often when thinking comparatively or transnationally, indigenous peoples become distant and passive players in a largely European-driven game. Granted, one reason for the scholarly neglect has been a reluctance to perpetuate the European framing that such work must entail: to place indigenous peoples from vastly different spaces into historical relation is to give some special privilege to the European empires that encountered them separately. Yet this reluctance has also come at a cost: it has missed an opportunity to understand how indigenous people in this period shared some common means of accommodating, repelling, complicating and even ignoring the European encounter. In doing so, they shaped and influenced the modern world in significant ways.

Some enticing pre-press: 

“By placing American Indians, Māori, Polynesians, Asians, Xhosas, and other indigenous peoples in the same frame, this stunning volume charts a new vision for indigenous history, the Age of Revolutions, the history of the British Empire, and the history of colonialism. It is hard to think of another collection that has done so much to boost the emerging field of global indigenous history.”— Pekka Hämäläinen, University of Oxford, author of The Comanche Empire

“Scholarship on the ‘age of revolution’ has long had a heart of darkness: indigenous peoples have usually been excluded in the histories of this great moment of transformation. Glowing torches in hand, Kate Fullagar, Michael A. McDonnell, and their talented colleagues brilliantly illuminate a revolutionary epoch with a new global ‘history from below.'”— Marcus Rediker, University of Pittsburgh, author of The Slave Ship: A Human History

“A new, compelling, and important examination of the British Empire from the perspectives of the colonized during the transitional period of 1760 to 1840. Demonstrating that themes of indigeneity might well stretch beyond the conventional reaches of the burgeoning field of indigenous studies, Facing Empire will help set the agenda for future research.”— Gregory Evans Dowd, University of Michigan, author of Groundless: Rumors, Legends, and Hoaxes on the Early American Frontier

“I am tremendously impressed by this collection. Not only have the editors assembled a very fine array of scholars at varying career stages, all of whom have produced first-class studies attuned to the objectives of the volume, but they have also carefully and helpfully drawn together the major themes articulated across the chapters.”— Alan Lester, University of Sussex, coauthor of Colonization and the Origins of Humanitarian Governance: Protecting Aborigines across the Nineteenth-Century British Empire

“This wonderful collection of essays profoundly alters the way in which historians view indigenous history, the British Empire, and the Age of Revolution. The authors focus on indigenous perspectives and experiences across an extraordinarily diverse range of contexts, showing how they shaped ideologies and practices of imperial expansion and created new transnational patterns of resistance, exchange, and communication.”— Clare Anderson, University of Leicester, author of Subaltern Lives: Biographies of Colonialism in the Indian Ocean World, 1790–1920

Facing Empire is a major scholarly accomplishment. Michael A. McDonnell and Kate Fullagar have woven together a diverse range of essays in a volume that is striking for its clarity and persuasiveness. Taken as a whole, Facing Empire advances our understanding of transnational and comparative indigenous histories in original and important ways.”— Gregory D. Smithers, Virginia Commonwealth University, author of The Cherokee Diaspora: An Indigenous History of Migration, Resettlement, and Identity

“This landmark collection explores the many faces of empire as they were turned towards Indigenous people: this stellar cast of scholars offers fresh insights and perspectives that provide an exciting challenge to the ‘new imperial history.’”— Jane Lydon, The University of Western Australia, coeditor of Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre

“This wonderfully rich and diverse collection, featuring contributions from world-leading scholars, traces a myriad of connections, comparisons, and echoes between far-flung Indigenous experiences during the ‘imperial meridian’ of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These essays place Indigenous people at the heart of the Age of Revolution, forcing us to ask new questions about empire, ‘progress,’ and the creation of the modern world.”— Nicholas Guyatt, University of Cambridge, author of Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation

“A rich and valuable collection of essays demonstrating that comparing Indigenous entanglements with empire during the Age of Revolution has the potential to transform our understanding of Indigenous people, the empires they dealt with, and the revolutionary age that they shared. This volume will attract a wide and appreciative readership.”— Joshua Piker, editor, William and Mary Quarterly

With contributions from: Tony Ballantyne (Otago), Justin Brooks (Yale University), Colin Calloway (Dartmouth), Kate Fullagar (Macquarie), Bill Gammage (ANU), Robert Kenny (Deakin), Shino Konishi (UWA), Michael A. McDonnell (Sydney), Elspeth Martini (Pittsburgh), Jennifer Newell (AMNH), Joshua L. Reid (Massachusetts), Daniel Richter (Pennsylvania), Rebecca Shumway (Charleston), Sujit Sivasundaram (Cambridge), Nicole Ulrich (Rhodes).

Also, a recent spruik here on the Age of Revolution historioblog!