Empire & Colonialism

When we ruled the world

grote-negerboek
Cute Dutch racism? Het groote Negerboek. Source: Buku – Bibliotheca Surinamica

The history of adventure fiction and of European imperialism and colonialism are closely intertwined. The prototypical “ethnographic travel and adventure novel” (Sehm), of the nineteenth century was essentially an expression of Europe’s colonial expansion (16th-early 20th century), both contributing to the spread of knowledge about the (extra-European) world and propagating imperialist, colonialist and racist world views especially among the young.

In the Armchair Sailor’s Storybook you can learn more about the Age of Empire. You can read about varying colonial empires (not only the British, French or German, but also the Belgian, Danish or Dutch). And you can find out how imperialist world views and popular colonial culture played out even in countries which did not possess any formal overseas colonies at all, like Austria-Hungary or Switzerland…

To keep you from feeling too complacent, though, the Storybook may sometimes also draw your attention to the fact that, although the Age of Empire is officially over, imperialist policies, quasi-colonial dependencies and exploitative lifestyles are far from gone.

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