ASNEL Papers 19

Post-Empire Imaginaries?
Anglophone Literature, History, and the Demise of Empires.

ASNEL Papers 19.
Buchenau, Barbara, Virginia Richter & Marijke Denger (eds.)
Brill, Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2015.


Empires as political entities may be a thing of the past, but as a concept, empire is alive and kicking. From heritage tourism and costume dramas to theories of the imperial idea(l): empire sells. Post-Empire Imaginaries? Anglophone Literature, History, and the Demise of Empires presents innovative scholarship on the lives and legacies of empires in diverse media such as literature, film, advertising, and the visual arts. Though rooted in real space and history, the post-empire and its twin, the post-imperial, emerge as ungraspable ideational constructs. The volume convincingly establishes empire as welcoming resistance and affirmation, introducing post-empire imaginaries as figurations that connect the archives and repertoires of colonial nostalgia, postcolonial critique, post-imperial dreaming.

Contributors are: Elsie Cloete, Mayannah N. Dahlheim, Rainer Emig, Elena Furlanetto, Jana Gohrisch, Alfred Hiatt, Kerstin Knopf, Donna Landry, Karsten Levihn-Kutzler, Michael Meyer, Eva-Maria Müller, Timo Müller, Eva M. Pérez, Judith Raiskin, Cecile Sandten, Silke Stroh, and Anne-Julia Zwierlein.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations

BARBARA BUCHENAU AND VIRGINIA RICHTER: Introduction: How to Do Things with Empires


ALFRED HIATT: Maps of Empires Past

MAYANNAH N. DAHLHEIM: (Re)Writing History: Pankaj Mishra, Niall Ferguson, and the Definitions of Empire

RAINER EMIG: The Hermeneutics of Empire: Imperialism as an Interpretation Strategy

KERSTIN KNOPF: Exploring for the Empire: Franklin, Rae, Dickens, and the Natives in Canadian and Australian Historiography and Literature

EVA-MARIA MÜLLER: Teaching the Empire: Lessons About (In)Dependence: Teacher Figures as Metonyms for the Australian Nation


DONNA LANDRY: The Ottoman Imaginary of Evliya Çelebi: From Postcolonial to Postimperial Rifts in Time

ELENA FURLANETTO: “Imagine a Country Where We Are All Equal”: Imperial Nostalgia in Turkey and Elif Shafak’s Ottoman Utopia

SILKE STROH: British (Post)Colonial Discourse and (Imagined) Roman Precedents: From Bernardine Evaristo’s Londinium to Caesar’s Britain and Gaul

EVA M. PÉREZ: “As if Empires Were Great and Wonderful Things”: A Critical Reassessment of the British Empire During World War Two in Louis de Bernières’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Mark Mills’ The Information Officer and Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans


ANNE-JULIA ZWIERLEIN: Travelling through (Post-)Imperial Panoramas: British Epic Writing and Popular Shows, 1740s to 1840s

JUDITH RAISKIN: “No One Belongs Here More Than You”: Travel Ads, Colonial Fantasies, and American Militarism

TIMO MÜLLER: The Bonds of Empire: (Post-)Imperial Negotiations in the 007 Film Series


CECILE SANDTEN: Caryl Phillips’ The Nature of Blood: Othello, the Jews of Portobuffole, and the Post-Empire Imaginary

ELSIE CLOETE: Johannesburg Zoologica: Reading the Afropolis Through the Eyes of Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City

KARSTEN LEVIHN-KUTZLER: Toxic Terror and the Cosmopolitanism of Risk in Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People

MICHAEL MEYER: Something is Foul in the State of Kerala: Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things

JANA GOHRISCH: Conflicting Models of Agency in Andrea Levy’s The Long Song (2010)

Notes on the Contributors and Editors