Race, Empire and First World War Writing by Santanu Das

By Santanu Das

This quantity brings jointly a world solid of students from numerous fields to ascertain the racial and colonial features of the 1st global warfare, and convey how problems with race and empire formed its literature and tradition. the worldwide nature of the 1st global struggle is quick changing into the focal point of excessive enquiry. This publication analyses ecu discourses approximately colonial participation and recovers the struggle event of alternative racial, ethnic and nationwide teams, together with the chinese language, Vietnamese, Indians, Maori, West Africans and Jamaicans. It additionally investigates testimonial and literary writings, from battle diaries and nursing memoirs to Irish, New Zealand and African American literature, and analyses tactics of reminiscence and commemoration within the former colonies and dominions. Drawing upon archival, literary and visible fabric, the booklet offers a compelling account of the conflict''s reverberations in Europe and its empires and reclaims the multiracial dimensions of warfare reminiscence.

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Race, Empire and First World War Writing

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Causing epidemics. ’ moaned the farmers’ wives . . We will not dare let our young daughters walk the paths among those savages. We will not dare go out alone ourselves to cut the grass or gather wood . . ‘Just think of it ! ’59 Such anxieties intensified in the intimate, enclosed spaces of the hospital as thousands of young women, often from sheltered backgrounds, nursed 20 santanu das the injured colonial troops. But the anxiety was often laced by a strong, almost erotic, curiosity: the focus on the physical features of the ‘beautiful Goumier’ noted by Dendooven in the diary of De Launoy in Chapter 7 is echoed in Fell’s examination of the lingering gaze on a ‘particularly muscular’ Moroccan soldier in the writing of Emmanuel Colombel, who set up a Red Cross hospital at Arras.

A helpful break-up of the different contingents of colonial troops and labourers mobilised into the European armies is provided in Christian Koller, ‘Von Wilden aller Rassen niedergemetzelt’, 89–96. 10 Strachan, The First World War (2003), 67. 11 For an investigation into immigrant labourers in wartime France and their ethnic composition, see John Horne, ‘Immigrant Workers in France during World War I’, French Historical Studies, 14/1, 1985, 57–88. 12 Emmett Scott, Scott’s Official History of the American Negro in the World War (Washington, DC, 1919), 458.

Sandes, In Kut and Captivity, with the Sixth Indian Division (London: John Murray, 1919), 285, 287. 63 Pierre Nora, ‘General Introduction: Between Memory and History’, in Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past, ed. Lawrence D. Kritzman, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, 3 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996–8), vol. i, 1. This is the English translation of the original seven-volume Les lieux de mémoire (Paris, 1984–92) edited by Pierre Nora. 64 See, for example, Peter Parker, The Last Veteran: Harry Patch and the Legacy of War (London: Fourth Estate, 2009).

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