One of our modern history lecturers, Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley, has written a piece with Professor Gurminder K. Bhambra about the legacies of the British empire in modern British culture.
What do we mean when we talk about “empire”? We use the narratives of imperialism to describe everything from British and American foreign policy in the Middle East to the rapid global spread of McDonalds and Coca-Cola. But we are less comfortable with discussions that focus on the real legacies of imperialism and draw up a balance sheet of privilege and oppression. European empires had conquered much of the globe by the end of the 19th century, and the relationships they established continue to shape our world today. Yet in Britain, at least, there is instinctively a kind of cringing reaction to bringing the conversation around to empire.