Volume three of
Imperium is a themed issue which discusses notions and aspects
of Englishness from a variety of disciplinary and trans/ inter/ multi-disciplinary
approaches. This is the first issue devoted to a theme. In future, themes
will be used to highlight particular academic or methodological areas
of media and postcolonial studies for debate and discussion. Suggestions
from readers for possible future topics are welcome.
The theme of Englishness has been chosen to highlight two sets of issues:
the trans/ inter/ multi-disciplinary nature of construction of Englishness
in the past and the present, and the contemporary postcolonial debates
focused on a continuum of identities, often overlapping, extending from
European citizenship to local loyalties in small towns such as Luton.
The selection of the theme of Englishness is also intended to highlight
variations in the connotations that this term (or its nearest expansive
connotation, Britishness) carries. The image or self-image underpinning
Englishness has undergone dramatic changes, especially in the aftermath
of political changes within Britain that led to the establishment of the
Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the Office of the Mayor of London,
and to demands for local assemblies for the regions in the north of England.
We hope that the diversity and range of views expressed in this issue
of Imperium will advance our understanding of the multi-faceted
manifestations of Englishness.
Recently, however, the symbolic death of England and Englishness has been
much proclaimed. Tom Nairn, in his recent study, After Britain,
predicts that only a new independant, vibrant Scotland can breathe new
life into the moribund England. Roger Scruton, in an essay entitled England:
an elegy, speaks of the forbidding of England, highlighting
the embarassment and taciturnity which strikes many critics whilst trying
to position themselves within a contemporary version of England or Englishness.
Recently, indeed, Richard Weight has described England as 'the last stateless
nation in the United Kingdom... leaderless and adrift.' Nevertheless,
there has developed almost a genre of studies in the loosely-titled in
search of England area that probe these current questions of national
identity, state and nationhood.
Several articles in this volume address these issues. Stephen Woodhams
probes some of the connections and contradictions in George Orwells
studies of Empire and imperialism and of forties working-class England
(which have recently also been controversially problematised in Christopher
Hitchenss Orwells Victory). Karen Sayer discusses complex
formulations of national identity and imperialism in the childrens
literature of Lucy M Boston. Martin Conboy takes Adam Thorpes anti-romantic
pastiche of the pastoral, Ulverton, and employs the rubric of postmodernism
to develop new insights into the cultural economy of rural England.
The enigmatically titled On living in William Cobbetts and Raymond
Hoggarts Farnham discusses not only the rhetorical formulations
of traditional English values in a corner of leafy Surrey,
but also the actual contemporary experience of living there. Finally,
William Feighery offers a clear exposition of some current research in
Tourism Studies into the image of England and the English in our Work
in Progress section, and some new and challenging views on the character
of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights are outlined in a review of
Christopher Heywoods new annotated edition of the novel.
The substance of this issue is largely, of course, on old
Englands. However, it is hoped in future to publish research on a variety
of new or hybrid Englands. Contributions or ideas for contributions
would be welcome.
While focussing on particular themes, Imperium will also continues
to provide a platform for discussion on topics or areas which, in a strict
taxononomical sense, lie outside the main theme. Thus, we have articles
in the current issue that focus on Guyana, Taiwan and technology in postcolonial
societies, and reviews of books on violence, media coverage of war, postcolonial
theory, and the sacred and the secular. It is our policy to include pieces
in forms other than the traditional academic essay and from sources other
than the academy. Thus, for example, we are particularly pleased to publish
an article by the distinguished journalist and author, Andrew Graham-Yooll,
a member of our extended editorial board, who was awarded an OBE in the
recent New Years Honours List. We greatly appreciate the assistance
of editorial board members and are pleased to welcome Professor
Chandrashekhar Bhat of the University of Hyderabad, India to the
board. For this issue, we additionally thank Professor Martha Pennington,
Lawrence Lau and Dr John Wheatley for assistance with refereeing.
The current volume, additionally, includes a report on The Organisation
of Knowledge in Victorian England conference held at the University
of Cambridge and an obituary of the Scottish poet, scholar and political
activist Hamish Henderson. We continue our Work in Progress feature which
provides a dedicated space for developing researchers (especially Masters
and Doctoral degree students) to disseminate their work to a wider audience.
The Autumn 2002 issue of Imperium will focus on interdisciplinarity
as a methodological innovation (or problems with using the method) in
teaching, learning, and research in the academy and beyond. We hope to
broaden the debate on interdisciplinarity beyond Western academia by covering
a range of intellectual traditions from different parts of the world while
engaging in the specificities of formulations rooted in the intellectual
history of Europe and North America in the Renaissance and post-Renaissance
period. We would also like to document and discuss the experience of academics,
students and administrators in colleges and universities participating
in or organising interdisciplinary courses.
Articles, book reviews, conference reports, work in progress and other
forms of comment on interdisciplinarity and general issues highlighted
by the journal are welcome . The deadline for submission is the 31st of
August 2002. Publishers, conference or course organisers, and professional
bodies are welcome to submit details of their publications and activities
for review or publicity.