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The University of Cambridge, academic expertise and the British empire, 1885-1962

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journal contribution
posted on 11.08.2015, 15:06 authored by Heike JonsHeike Jons
This paper examines how imperial travel of British academics shaped the production of knowledge and colonial policy from the 1880s to the 1960s. It employs an innovative, archive based methodology that examines the changing geographies of all recorded academic travel from the University of Cambridge in conjunction with the extensive overseas journeys of Sir Frank Leonard Engledow, Drapers’ Professor of Agriculture from 1930 to 1957 and a key advisor to the Colonial Office on tropical agriculture. Drawing on recent work in geography and science studies, this study outlines how scientific expertise was increasingly sought by colonial governments at the eve of decolonisation due to a lack of scientific infrastructure and growing social upheavals in the colonies. The analysis discusses related geographical shifts in the engagement of British academics with the colonial world and identifies a profound deepening of the uneven integration of different areas of empire into academic networks after 1945. Based on Engledow’s contribution to the Moyne Commission on theWest Indies (1938–1939) and ensuing colonial reform, it is argued that he represented, like many other late colonial British academic experts, a distinctively post- Victorian imperialist, whose strong belief in Christian faith, racial differences, colonial networks, humanitarianism, science and planning created an ambivalent positionality that explains why his expertise both supported and undermined colonial rule.

History

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Environment and Planning A

Volume

48

Issue

1

Pages

94-114

Citation

HEIKE, J., 2016. The University of Cambridge, academic expertise and the British empire, 1885-1962. Environment and Planning A: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 48(1), pp.94-114.

Publisher

Sage (© The Author(s) 2015)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2015-08-03

Notes

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Environment and Planning A: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. The final published version will be available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0308518X15594802

ISSN

0308-518X

eISSN

1472-3409

Language

en