‘So many applications of science’: Novel Technology in British Imperial Culture During the Abyssinian and Ashanti Expeditions, 1868-1874.
Patterson, Ryan John
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
This thesis contains material from various UK and USA archives that have not granted permission for open publication.
This thesis will examine the portrayal and reception of ‘novel’ technology as constructed spectacle in the military and popular coverage of the Abyssinian (1868) and Ashanti (1873-4) expeditions. It will be argued that new and ‘novel’ military technologies, such as the machine gun, Hale rocket, cartridge rifle, breach-loading cannon, telegraph, railway, and steam tractor, were made to serve symbolic roles in a technophile discourse that cast African expansion as part of a conquest of the natural world. There was a growing confidence in mid-Victorian Britain of the Empire’s dominant position in the world, focused particularly on technological development and embodied in exhibition culture. During the 1860s and ‘70s, this confidence was increasingly extended to the prospect of expansion into Africa, which involved a substantial development of the ‘idea’ of Africa in the British imagination. The public engagement with these two campaigns provides a window into this developing culture of imperial confidence in Britain, as well as the shifting and contested ideas of race, climate, and martial prowess. The expeditions also prompted significant changes to understandings of ‘small wars’, a concept incorporating several important pillars of Victorian culture. It will be demonstrated that discourses of technological superiority and scientific violence were generated in response to anxieties of the perceived dangers posed by the African interior. Accounts of the expeditions demonstrated a strong hope, desire to claim, and tendency to interpret that novel European technology could tame and subjugate the African climate, as well as African populations. This study contributes to debates over the popularity of imperialism in Victorian society. It ties the popularity of empire to the social history of technology, and argues that the Abyssinian and Ashanti expeditions enhanced perceptions of military capability and technological superiority in the Victorian imagination. The efficacy of European technology is not dismissed, but approached as a proximate cause of a shift in culture, termed ‘the technologisation of imperial rhetoric’.
University of Exeter College of Humanities
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Black, Jeremy Martin
PhD in History
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
British pain clinic practitioners' recognition and use of the bio-psychosocial pain management model for patients when physical interventions are ineffective or inappropriate: results of a qualitative study Harding, G; Campbell, John; Parsons, S; Rahman, A; Underwood, M (BioMed Central, 2010-03-18)BACKGROUND: To explore how chronic musculoskeletal pain is managed in multidisciplinary pain clinics for patients for whom physical interventions are inappropriate or ineffective. METHODS: A qualitative study was undertaken ...
Thorpe, Andrew (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)Studies of the entente cordiale tend to focus on various aspects of Anglo-French inter-state relations. This is entirely right and proper: the entente was, after all, an agreement between two states. It is to be expected ...