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Reordering the WorldEssays on Liberalism and Empire$
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Duncan Bell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691138787

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691138787.001.0001

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The Dream Machine

The Dream Machine

On Liberalism and Empire

Chapter:
(p.19) Chapter 2 The Dream Machine
Source:
Reordering the World
Author(s):

Duncan Bell

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691138787.003.0002

This chapter opens with a discussion of the mutable vocabulary of empire and liberalism, before analyzing some of the most important recent scholarship on the subject. It argues that two main weaknesses run through scholarly commentary on liberalism and empire: a tendency to overlook the significance of settler colonialism and an over-reliance on canonical interpretations of liberalism. Settler colonialism played a crucial role in nineteenth-century imperial thought, and liberalism in particular, yet it has largely been ignored in the burst of writing about the intellectual foundations of the Victorian empire. Utilizing canonical interpretations of liberalism, meanwhile, has generated some skewed claims about the historical connections between liberal political thought and empire.

Keywords:   empire, liberalism, settler colonialism, imperial thought, liberal imperialism

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