Free and open to the Public.
Concentration camps are normally associated with the “evil empires” of the twentieth century. Yet like so many modern phenomena, they were first erected under the auspices of the British Empire. Professor Forth will discuss his new book Barbed-Wire Imperialism: Britain’s Empire of Camps, 1876-1903 (University of California Press, 2017), which places the infamous camps of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) within a larger imperial framework. Workhouses, prisons, and factories along with “criminal tribe” settlements, and above all, enclosures for the millions of Indians displaced by hunger and disease in the late 19th century, offered early prototypes for mass internment. While venues of great human suffering, British camps were artifacts of liberal empire than inspired and legitimized the practices of future regimes.