This chapter explores the recent historical and geographical literature on empire and colonialism. It argues that the historical literature has remained largely immune to the idea that different social and cultural constructions of space and place might play an instrumental role in colonial identity formation. In particular, it examines the encounter between postcolonial theory and British imperial history per se. The complex intimacies between race, gender and representation have long been common currency in the new imperial history of the non-white empire. Various studies have pointed to the power and tenacity of the subjective colonial geographies created and sustained by different imperial claims to truth. The new imperial history remains remarkably immune to the seductive charms of geography's irredentist claims concerning the inherent spatiality of the human condition. Ethnic performances were integral to some at least of the settler place-narratives created by the Irish and Scots.
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