"In effect, this study of the boy scout movement in Africa serves as an avenue of entry to a much broader consideration of the African experience under British colonial rule. The scholarship is not merely sound; it is downright formidable. This is a highly original, first-rate work of social history."
Dane Kennedy, author of Britain and Empire, 1880-1945
“Scouting, according to Parsons, could promote either empire loyalism or anti-colonial resistance, ambiguities that surface in his case studies.... A solid piece of history.”
International History Review
“As Parsons shows, scouting was from the start as much an instrument of social protest as of social control.”
South African Historical Journal
Conceived by General Sir Robert Baden-Powell as a way to reduce class tensions in Edwardian Britain, scouting evolved into an international youth movement. It offered a vision of romantic outdoor life as a cure for disruption caused by industrialization and urbanization. Scouting’s global spread was due to its success in attaching itself to institutions of authority. As a result, scouting has become embroiled in controversies in the civil rights struggle in the American South, in nationalist resistance movements in India, and in the contemporary American debate over gay rights.
In Race, Resistance, and the Boy Scout Movement in British Colonial Africa, Timothy Parsons uses scouting as an analytical tool to explore the tensions in colonial society. Introduced by British officials to strengthen their rule, the movement targeted the students, juvenile delinquents, and urban migrants who threatened the social stability of the regime. Yet Africans themselves used scouting to claim the rights of full imperial citizenship. They invoked the Fourth Scout Law, which declared that a scout was a brother to every other scout, to challenge racial discrimination.
Parsons shows that African scouting was both an instrument of colonial authority and a subversive challenge to the legitimacy of the British Empire. His study of African scouting demonstrates the implications and far-reaching consequences of colonial authority in all its guises.
Timothy Parsons holds a joint appointment as an associate professor in the history department and the African and Afro-American Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of The African Rank-and-File: Social Implications of Colonial Military Service in the King's African Rifles, 1902-1964; The 1964 Army Mutinies and the Making of Modern East Africa, and The British Imperial Century, 1815-1914: A World History Perspective. More info →
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This study examines the complex history of slavery in East Africa, focusing on the area that came under German colonial rule. In contrast to the policy pursued at the time by other colonial powers in Africa, the German authorities did not legally abolish slavery in their colonial territories. However, despite government efforts to keep the institution of slavery alive, it significantly declined in Tanganyika in the period concerned.
The abolition of the slave trade is normally understood to be the singular achievement of eighteenth-century British liberalism. Abolitionism and Imperialism in Britain, Africa, and the Atlantic expands both the temporal and the geographic framework in which the history of abolitionism is conceived.
Drawing upon a survey of former police officers in the six British colonies of Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, and Malawi, Clayton and Killingray examine the work of colonial law enforcement during the last years of British supremacy. In addition to such basic institutional information as the development of police forces from local militia, the training of African recruits, and the africanization of the police forces, the authors examine the typical activities of the colonial police.
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