25 November 2021, 7pm
A strong emotional attachment to the memory of empire runs deep in British culture. In recent years, that memory has become a battleground in a long-drawn ideological war, inflecting debates on race, class, gender, culture, the UK’s future and its place in the world. Peter Mitchell’s Imperial Nostalgia surveys the scene of the imperial memory wars in contemporary Britain, exploring how the myths that structure our views of empire came to be, and how they inform the present. Taking in such diverse subjects as Rory Stewart and inter-war adventure fiction, man’s facial hair and Kipling, the Alt-right and the Red Wall, Imperial Nostalgia asks how our relationship with our national past has gone wrong, and how it might be improved.
Peter Mitchell will be discussing his book and the issues it raises with Nadine El-Enany, Reader in Law at the Birkbeck School of Law, and Gargi Bhattacharyya, Professor of Sociology at the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, UEL.