In this wide-ranging volume, leading scholars across several disciplines—history, literature, sociology, and cultural studies—investigate the nature of liberalism and modernity in imperial Britain since the eighteenth century. They show how Britain's liberal version of modernity (of capitalism, democracy, and imperialism) was the product of a peculiar set of historical circumstances that continues to haunt our neoliberal present.
Simon Gunn is a professor of urban history at the University of Leicester. James Vernon is a professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley.
“A remarkable achievement. This ambitious and challenging collection of tightly interwoven essays will find an eager audience among students and faculty in British and imperial history, as well as those interested in liberalism and modernity in other parts of the world.” Jordanna Bailkin, author of The Culture of Property: The Crisis of Liberalism in Modern Britain
“This volume investigates no less than the relationship of liberalism to Britain’s rise as an empire and the first modern nation. In its global scope and with its broad historical perspective, it makes a strong case for why British history still matters. It will be central for anyone interested in understanding how modernity came about.” Frank Trentmann, author of Free Trade Nation: Consumption, Commerce, and Civil Society in Modern Britain