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Selling Empire: Further resources

Updated Monday, 21st January 2013

 Details of further reading and websites to help you explore 'Selling Empire'.

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The following is a guide to finding more detail on the themes covered, and on the many additional formats and styles which individuals, companies and governments have used when ‘Selling Empire’. In particular, it includes links to some websites where you can find clips from Empire Marketing Board (EMB) films.

Books and articles

  • Chafer, Tony (ed.), Promoting the Colonial Idea: Propaganda and Visions of Empire in France (Palgrave, 2009). A collection that suggests the French empire was presented as helping to cement a new patriotism, and perhaps helped to cast a veneer over regional if not ideological cracks in the national fabric. 
  • Constantine, Stephen. Buy and Build: The Advertising Posters of the Empire Marketing board (London: HMSO, 1986). Constantine’s is the best available academic study of the EMB, and contains lavish full page illustrations of the posters.
  • Faulkner, Simon, and Anandi Ramamurthy (eds.), Visual Culture and Decolonisation in Britain (Ashgate, 2006).
  • Grieveson, Lee and Colin MacCabe (eds), Empire and Film (2011), and Film and the End of Empire (2011).  
  • Haggard, H. Rider, King Solomon’s Mines (1885). A classic empire yarn, set in southern Africa
  • Henty, G.A. More than a hundred historical novels featuring heroes just out of school, but propelled into action in and beyond empire, such as The Dash for Khartoum (1892).
  • Horton, Melanie. Empire Marketing Board Posters (Manchester: Scala, 2010). A small booklet that followed the Manchester City Art Galleries exhibition of EMB posters. 
  • Jackson, Ashley, Mad Dogs and Englishmen 1850-1945: A Grand Tour of the British Empire at its Height (Quercus, 2009). Though only one chapter (pp. 214-23) is specifically on marketing, this book is a lavishly illustrated general guide to empire, with a wide range of visual representations from maps to board games. 
  • Mackenzie, John M. (ed.). Propaganda and Empire: the manipulation of British Public Opinion 1880-1960 (Manchester University Press, 1984). Mackenzie was one of the earliest proponents of the study of empire culture, and the idea that it permeated Victorian life. Manchester University Press published a series of related books from 1984 onwards.
  • Porter, Bernard. The Absent-Minded Imperialists: Empire, Society and Culture in Britain (Oxford University Press, 2004). Porter argued that, placed in context, imperial references are not always as predominant as Mackenzie and many books in the Macneshter series might imply.
  • Rotter, Andrew, ‘Empire of the Senses: How Seeing, Hearing, Smelling, Tasting, and Touching Shaped Imperial Encounters' – H-Diplo review 
  • Stuart Ward (ed.), British culture and the end of empire (Manchester, 2001). 
  • Tallents, Sir Stephen, The Projection of England (1932), a classic short pamphlet pushing the idea of Britain as a brand that should be focused on recognizable icons and characteristics.
  • Philip Taylor, The Projection of Britain: British Overseas Publicity and Propaganda, 1919-39 (Cambridge: 2007).

Debates and reviews




The Empire Marketing Board and its posters 

Empire and its legacies

The Open University's Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies:







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