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Title: Print and British imperialism : the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, 1826-46
Author: Warwick, Lucy
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 452X
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the relationship between the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK) and British imperialism. Founded in 1826 the Society aimed to offer cheap and informative texts to those who had limited access to schooling, namely the British working-classes. The SDUK published on a wide range of topics, from hydraulics and optics, to lighter subjects such as ornithology and natural history, before their dissolution in 1846. To date, there has been some research into the operations of the SDUK, but it remains a largely superficial glimpse into an otherwise complex and expansive Society. Moreover, current scholarship considers the British as imperially unaware in the early nineteenth century, a central contention of this study. This thesis, divided into two parts, explores the Society's best-selling publication, The Penny Magazine, before analysing the networks of eminent and distinguished gentlemen who comprised the committee lists of the Society, spanning a number of professions and geographical locations. Secondly, this thesis delves deeper into the messages relayed by the SDUK in their works regarding the British Empire, exploring the representation of the colonised peoples across the Empire, scientific acquisition in the colonies, and the sourcing of Britain's most important imperial import, tea. This thesis demonstrates that issues of empire and imperialism permeated daily life in Britain in a period earlier than previous scholarship proposes.
Supervisor: Davis, Caroline ; Potter, Jane Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral