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Title: Cultivating the colonial mind : British agricultural officers in East Africa at the end of empire, 1945-1966
Author: Joy, Robert Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 8510 027X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis looks at the experiences and attitudes of British Agricultural Officials in the post-war era who worked in East Africa and ‘stayed on’ after independence. It draws upon newly undertaken oral testimony, memoirs and archival sources to understand how these officials remember their experiences and to assess why they choose to recall particular events as they do. By inspecting their backgrounds, the thesis highlights how different subgroups of colonial officials in late empire had distinct identities that impacted upon their understanding of empire and Africans. It further claims that these officials’ identities were only partly constructed through their experiences in the colonies, with their education in Britain under the supervision of the Colonial Office often shaping their beliefs about Africans and African agriculture more than their interactions with either. The networks these officials established in training were maintained, despite postings to different East African countries. Agricultural Officers believed themselves to inhabit a scientific frontier and were bound together by this belief, using the structure of the department they worked for and scientific conferences to keep in contact. After independence, as their numbers dwindled, this thesis argues that these officials used their networks as outlets for their frustration. By using methodological frameworks from the history of emotions, the thesis asserts that these officials had an unspoken yet well understood manner of expression through which they could communicate their frustrations with independent Africa to one another. Lastly, the thesis inspects Agricultural Officials’ responses to an increase in aid agency and foreign government involvement after independence. Despite recent suggestions that the Cold War played greatly on the ‘official mind’, the rural nature of these officials’ work and their obsession with results meant that Cold War concerns were relegated from their minds in favour of almost purely practical issues.
Supervisor: Prior, Christopher ; Schloer, Joachim Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available