In 1984 the prognosis for imperial history was decidedly bleak; fifteen years later interest in the British empire was reaching new heights, as witnessed in the publication of the five-volume Oxford History of the British Empire (1998-1999). Many of the reasons for this renewed attention will be familiar to those working in world history. While imperial history and world history are not synonymous, there is certainly much overlap between them, especially when we seek to identify the origins of what would become global exchanges of ideas, institutions, and commodities. While it cannot be said that the Oxford History of the British Empire is the definitive word on the British empire--for the field is still preoccupied with a number of very heated debates including those raised by feminist and postcolonial historians--the 150 chapters that comprise this series offer unique opportunities to take stock of the field.


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pp. 451-467
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