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British Imperial Culture- seacol.docx

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University of Guelph
ENGL 3340
Michelle Elleray

British Imperial Culture: Seacole Sept. 20 th - Ambivalent relationship of non-white colonial subjects who belong to the British Empire to Britain itself - Shifting relationship to the category of British-ness between Mary - Conflicting interest between existing colonies and imperialism - Mobile understandings of whiteness: Whiteness isn’t related to skin colour, but is a shifting attribute depending on cultural affiliations - Caribbean is scene as sexualized: New Zealand is the Britain of the South sea - Mrs. Seacole as a colonial subject: Black Jamaican (her mother) - In the Caribbean context, there are hierarchies within divisions in communities- black community, white community, and bi-racial community - Identifies herself as Creole - Claiming of an identity yet at the same time acknowledging stereotypes associated with it - Imperial networks: interconnectedness of subjects in different empires - Victorian women, femininity and travel: - Lola Montez, or “La Grande Horizontele”: from India, public and elicit sexuality that wasn’t considered proper for a white woman, was a mistress to famous people, temper, dies in poverty in NY at 41 - Disreputable women: interesting commentary on empire, femininity - Space, Femininity and Civilization: femininity is about surface- what they wear - Needs the public to sympathize with her position-not enslaved but bankrupt - Predominantly male community and a single woman leads to her label as a disreputable woman - Victorian women travel to the colonies but they are usually traveling with a male (husband, brother) and don’t usually travel - Always in Victorian dress-skirt, not trousers and a bonnet - She is Mrs. Seacole even though she was not married for long - She had opportunities to marry again in Jamaica but she chooses not to from a “confidence is my own powers”- she believes she can provide her own economic security, there is no economic need to be married - Does she like the protection of being a “Mrs.” but not having to fulfill the duties of being a wife? Her title provides her freedom and protection - The Idea of Family: When she is not referred to as “Mrs. Seacole” she is referred to as mother or aunty-standard Imperial “mother country” - Pg. 61: young man who is dying asks to lay his head upon Mrs. Seacole’s breast
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