AT&D #29. Empires and Modernity

Read the following quote, “After all, this is a world history that places empire at the heart of modernity and violence at the heart of empire building, two points that seem particularly apposite at this moment in global politics.” How does “empire” relate to your view of modernity?

Empire seems to relate to modernity in that it is one of many political entities (such as kingdoms and countries) that instills common customs for its people. In other words, when multiple regions happen to be reigned by a unified power, the natural goal tends to be bringing about a stabilized system of currency, defense, technology, and even tiers of economic and social (or socio-economic) classes. These components tend to strengthen and forward the lifestyles of the people affected in these entities for the better or worse.

Take the British Empire, for example; they controlled a widespread area of foreign lands around the globe and yet, they subjected all their colonies to adapting the English language, its religion, its educational system, etc. These customs as a result still linger in many places around the world today, among the numerous nations once conquered by Britain.

Back to the subject of empires, since Britain itself had been engaged through a period of industrialization, a consequence of establishing an element of modernity would point to their subsequent bringing of their advancements abroad to strengthen colonial ties, a benefit of which could be to improve the flow of resources between colony and colonizer.

Because those who were colonized did not yet have the (societal and structural) advancements that the Europeans had, they would benefit greatly upon being part of an empire, though not in every case and not for everyone involved in a colony. I would point out too that once an empire like Britain recedes from a foreign land, much of the resources built by them would remain well into the phase of building of a country in place of the former colony.

Therefore when it comes to empires, modernity is essentially an effect that takes shape (though not always) often leading to a society developing in many areas (culturally, religiously, economically, etc.).  In writing a paper about this particular subject, I would stress the aftermath of how (forced) modernity affects societies and cultures under the tutelage of an imperial power. The aftermath in this case would be a direct cause of instilling modern practices on colonies that have yet to experience new ways of thought and living (which would impact revolutionist thought and eventually independence of a colonized populace).

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