CfP: Enemies of Empire: Combating and Constructing Opponents of the British Empire

We are looking for contributors for an edited volume concerning how resistance leaders were perceived, constructed and/or combated by the British. Focus is not on the individuals themselves, but rather the reception of these figures from different perspectives (e.g. metropolitan culture, officials, media, military etc.)

We particularly welcome papers concerning “enemies” during the ‘scramble for Africa’ (roughly 1884-1914), the First British Empire (1583 – 1783), but also welcome proposals from other periods.


Although individual figures have largely been the subject of biographies and nationalist hagiographies, or neglected in the wake of sustained movements against the histories of “great men”, resistance leaders and their reception present a vital component for the historian in understanding Imperial rule. The ‘heroes’ of empire such as General Charles Gordon, Dr David Livingstone to name but a few, have long received scholarly attention and frequent reinterpretation, the obverse of the coin, enemies of empire, have not. By approaching how the British imagined and constructed depictions of an enemy through several imperial moments, this book presents an alternate way in which the empire affected British society and created an imperial culture.

This edited volume is about how resistance leaders were constructed, imagined and combated in the history of the British Empire. It touches upon key themes of how the Imperial project was conceived by its agents and the public, and neglected aspects of imperial history in the reception of colonial resistance by the British. The volume presents an analysis of various cases in which resistance leaders were imagined throughout the British Empire, both in Britain and the colonies themselves.

If you are interested in contributing, please send in an abstract to Jacob Smith ( and Mads Bomholt Nielsen (

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