Railway Imperialism

Railway Imperialism

Railway Imperialism

Railway Imperialism

Synopsis

This contributed volume explores the relationship between imperialism, railways, and informal empire. Contributors account for the origins of main lines in several independent and self-governing countries. The essays reflect on the imperial and anti-imperial effects of railways, whose rails traced the divergent paths of expanding capitalism, imperial strategy, modernizing nationalism, and the origins of main lines in selected independent and self-governing countries. The railway has often been studied from the standpoint of imperialism; this book makes a beginning with studying imperialism from the standpoint of the railway.

Excerpt

Parallels between railway imperialism and railway scholarship are surprising. Both require investing capital, managing labor, analyzing research data, laying down lines, arriving at ultimate termini, and turning a profit. Due to unexpected obstacles, projected completion dates often go through as many revisions as chapters. Nevertheless, the project is finally concluded. Then with simultaneous sighs of relief and anxiety, the creators hand the utility of the endeavor over to the judgment of consumers and critics.

This book is the collaborative effort of ten scholars in three countries. The genesis of Railway Imperialism began in early 1985, but the extensive research in most chapters was carried out years earlier. The imperial model considered in each chapter case study is the excentric thesis that Professors Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher developed in many of their works. In the introduction and conclusion of Railway Imperialism, Professor Robinson explores the relationship between imperialism, railways, and informal empire. His engaging analysis ties the book together, even though some chapters appear to run on different gauges. Thus, the contributors to Railway Imperialism are doubly fortunate; they not only have had the benefit of the Robinson-Gallagher model with which to test their country case studies, but they also have had half of that Oxbridge team put Railway Imperialism into historiographical perspective. We hope this volume will add another dimension of understanding to the complex phenomenon called imperialism.

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