While focusing on the expansion of the British Empire, The Scramble for Africa illuminates the intense nineteenth-century contest among European nations over Africa’s land, people, and resources. Highlighting the 1885 Berlin Conference in which Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, and Italy partitioned Africa among themselves, this collection follows British conflicts with other nations over different regions as well as its eventual challenge to Leopold of Belgium’s rule of the Congo. The reports, speeches, treatises, proclamations, letters, and cartoons assembled here include works by Henry M. Stanley, David Livingstone, Joseph Conrad, G. W. F. Hegel, Winston Churchill, Charles Darwin, and Arthur Conan Doyle. A number of pieces highlight the proliferation of companies chartered to pursue Africa’s gold, diamonds, and oil—particularly Cecil J. Rhodes’s British South Africa Company and Frederick Lugard’s Royal Niger Company. Other documents describe debacles on the continent—such as the defeat of General Gordon in Khartoum and the Anglo-Boer War—and the criticism of imperial maneuvers by proto-human rights activists including George Washington Williams, Mark Twain, Olive Schreiner, and E.D. Morel.
Barbara Harlow is Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin.
Mia Carter is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin.
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is historian Christopher Clark’s riveting account of the explosive beginnings of World War I.
Drawing on new scholarship, Clark offers a fresh look at World War I, focusing not on the battles and atrocities of the war itself, but on the complex events and relationships that led a group of well-meaning leaders into brutal conflict.
Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts between the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, and examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914 and details the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that drove the crisis forward in a few short weeks.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers is a dramatic and authoritative chronicle of Europe’s descent into a war that tore the world apart.
In her readings of Spanish American and Brazilian fiction, Graff Zivin highlights inventions of Jewishness in which the concept is constructed as a rhetorical device. She argues that Jewishness functions as a wandering signifier that while not wholly empty, can be infused with meaning based on the demands of the textual project in question. Just as Jews in Latin America possess distinct histories relative to their European and North American counterparts, they also occupy different symbolic spaces in the cultural landscape. Graff Zivin suggests that in Latin American fiction, anxiety, desire, paranoia, attraction, and repulsion toward Jewishness are always either in tension with or representative of larger attitudes toward otherness, whether racial, sexual, religious, national, economic, or metaphysical. She concludes The Wandering Signifier with an inquiry into whether it is possible to ethically represent the other within the literary text, or whether the act of representation necessarily involves the objectification of the other.
From the conquest of the Mediterranean beginning in the third century BC to the destruction of the Roman Empire at the hands of barbarian invaders some seven centuries later, we discover the most critical episodes in Roman history: the spectacular collapse of the 'free' republic, the birth of the age of the 'Caesars', the violent suppression of the strongest rebellion against Roman power, and the bloody civil war that launched Christianity as a world religion.
At the heart of this account are the dynamic, complex but flawed characters of some of the most powerful rulers in history: men such as Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero and Constantine. Putting flesh on the bones of these distant, legendary figures, Simon Baker looks beyond the dusty, toga-clad caricatures and explores their real motivations and ambitions, intrigues and rivalries.
The superb narrative, full of energy and imagination, is a brilliant distillation of the latest scholarship and a wonderfully evocative account of Ancient Rome.