Age of Emergency: Knowledge About Violence in Imperial Britain

Spring 2017 Grant Recipient


Erik Linstrum (History) How did British society respond to the use of torture, the massacre of civilians, and other atrocities which took place in its overseas empire after 1945? And, equally, how did it fail to respond? This project charts the impact of colonial violence on everyday life by focusing on the knowledge produced by professional communities: soldiers, journalists, lawyers, doctors, and activists. Debates about violence hinged not only on the moral rhetoric of justification and rationalization but also on disputes about facts. As a result, the same institutions which brought reports of violence to public view often undermined them with skepticism and doubt.