In 1956, an imperial scandal erupted over the treatment of female prisoners and detainees held at Kamiti Detention Camp and Prison in Kenya. The scandal was sparked when Eileen Fletcher, a British Quaker who had worked at Kamiti, exposed the abuses and conditions of the prison and detention camp to the British public. Kamiti became the center of a major controversy that drew in politicians, activists, journalists, and religious communities in Britain and beyond. This article examines two sets of discourses that were at the core of the controversy: gender and the morality of colonialism. In the debates on Kamiti, competing gender discourses were used to criticize or justify the treatment of Kamiti’s women and girls, while various anticolonial arguments were pitted against notions of the civilizing mission in discussions about the future of colonial rule. Ultimately, the controversy reveals the connections and contests within transnational networks engaged in debate about the future of colonialism in the 1950s.


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pp. 815-838
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