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Burden or Benefit?: Imperial Benevolence and Its Legacies
Foyalty 152

Burden or Benefit?: Imperial Benevolence and Its Legacies (Hardback)

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Synopsis

In the name of benevolence, philanthropy, and humanitarian aid, individuals, groups, and nations have sought to assist others and to redress forms of suffering and deprivation. Yet, the inherent imbalances of power between the giver and the recipient of this benevolence have called into question the motives and rationale for such assistance. This volume examines the evolution of the ideas and practices of benevolence, chiefly in the context of British imperialism, from the late 18th century to the present.The authors consider more than a dozen examples of practical and theoretical benevolence from the anti-slavery movement of the late 18th century to such modern activities as refugee asylum in Europe, opposition to female genital mutilation in Africa, fund raising for charities, and restoring the wetlands in southern, post-Saddam Iraq. The book offers a complex and nuanced study of benevolence that avoids simple moralistic judgments while exploring a range of ethical, political, social, and cultural issues linked with benevolent pursuits and policies.

Helen Gilbert is Professor of Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is author of Sightlines: Race, Gender, and Nation in Contemporary Australian Theatre and Post-Colonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics. Chris Tiffin teaches in the School of English, Media Studies, and Art History at the University of Queensland and is editor of De-Scribing Empire, South Pacific Images, and South Pacific Stories.

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