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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century$
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Judith Brown and Wm Roger Louis

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205647.001.0001

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Gender in the British Empire

Gender in the British Empire

(p.379) 16 Gender in the British Empire
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century


Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of key parts of the field of gender for historians accustomed to thinking that questions about women or gender in the British Empire are not pertinent to what they do, or of the view that such studies are still ‘stuck in a specialized subbranch of historical explanation’. A comparative framework drawing together the varieties of metropolitan and colonial experience from the late 19th century also suggests new insights. The new models for bourgeois morals and racial segregation spread across the Empire, often in response to the sharpening of local political resistances to European penetration. The Empire equally represented a ‘field for action’ for women of more secular and socially radical persuasions. At many levels, gender formed a critical dimension of the British Imperial system and of colonial social relations.

Keywords:   British Empire, gender, British Imperial system, women, colonial social relations, metropolitan

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