Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 437
Images can be more powerful than words in swaying public opinion. Locate editorial cartoons, book illustrations, or other visual art that depicts colonized peoples. Sources might include illustrated versions of Kim or The Jungle Book, newspapers in which “The White Man’s Burden” appeared, or books about English history. What does the physical appearance of colonized peoples seem to imply about their intelligence or temperament? Which details of the images give you some insight into the political position of the artists? Do any details of the images give you some insight into the date each was published (e.g., published before or after the start of World War I)?
Economics played an important role in colonization. Choose a colony and describe the production and trade of a commodity it produced (e.g., tea, spice, coffee). Consider whether the resource could have been grown or manufactured in Europe, what kind of labor was required for production (e.g., skilled or unskilled), and who consumed the resource. What insight does this give you into the acquisition of this particular colony?
The belief that darker races were not as far advanced along the continuum of civilization is sometimes referred to as “Social Darwinism.” In addition, Darwin’s theory of the “survival of the fittest” justified for some Europeans the use of force to take the resources of “weaker” societies. In your own words, summarize the scientific theories of Darwin in regard to evolution and natural selection. Do these ideas transfer from biology to sociology? What about economics? Support your opinion with examples and analysis.
Jean Rhys’s novel Wide Sargasso Sea attempts to correct the colonialist history of Jane Eyre by offering an alternative perspective. Read a colonial work such as Kim, She, or Out of Africa and try to imagine the events from the perspective of one of the native characters, such as the Buddhist holy man Teshoo or the African tribal leader Kinanjui. Choose one event from the novel and write a short story from that character’s perspective, using what you are learning about imperialism to illuminate where a native perspective might differ from that of the original novel.
The charisma and reputation of the British Queen Victoria were central to the symbolism of imperialism, while the actions of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Lytton were its teeth. Choose one of these individuals—or another government official of your own finding— and research his or her individual role in the history of Colonialism. Summarize your findings, giving an overview of your subject’s actions while addressing such topics as public opinion and opposition within the government.
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