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Timothy Parsons

Other affiliations: University of Washington
Bio: Timothy Parsons is an academic researcher from Washington University in St. Louis. The author has contributed to research in topics: Colonialism & Empire. The author has an hindex of 10, co-authored 26 publications receiving 423 citations. Previous affiliations of Timothy Parsons include University of Washington.

Papers
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Book
29 Nov 2004
TL;DR: Parsons as mentioned in this paper studied the Boy Scouts Movement in British Colonial Africa and found that African scouts were both an instrument of colonial authority and a subversive challenge to the legitimacy of the British Empire.
Abstract: Conceived By General Sir Robert Baden-Powell as a way to reduce class tensions in Edwardian Britain, scouting evolved into an international youth movement. It offered a vision of romantic outdoor life as a cure for disruption caused by industrialization and urbanization. Scouting's global spread was due to its success in attaching itself to institutions of authority. As a result, scouting has become embroiled in controversies in the civil rights struggle in the American South, in nationalist resistance movements in India, and in the contemporary American debate over gay rights. In Race, Resistance, and the Boy Scout Movement in British Colonial Africa, Timothy Parsons uses scouting as an analytical tool to explore the tensions in colonial society. Introduced by British officials to strengthen their rule, the movement targeted the students, juvenile delinquents, and urban migrants who threatened the social stability of the regime. Yet Africans themselves used scouting to claim the rights of full imperial citizenship. They invoked the Fourth Scout Law, which declared that a scout was a brother to every other scout, to challenge racial discrimination. Parsons shows that African scouting was both an instrument of colonial authority and a subversive challenge to the legitimacy of the British Empire. His study of African scouting demonstrates the implications and far-reaching consequences of colonial authority in all its guises.

60 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors describe two types of migrants who settled in the Meru reserve and openly challenged the colonial state and their Meru hosts by defiantly proclaiming themselves to be Kikuyu.
Abstract: Faced with a confusing range of fluid ethnicities when they conquered Kenya, colonial officials sought to shift conquered populations into manageable administrative units. In linking physical space to ethnic identity, the Kenyan reserve system assumed that each of these ‘tribes’ had a specific homeland. Yet the reserves in the central Kenyan highlands soon became overcrowded and socially restive because they could not accommodate population growth and private claims to land for commercial agriculture. Although colonial officials proclaimed themselves the guardians of backward tribal peoples, they tried to address this problem by creating mechanisms whereby surplus populations would be ‘adopted’ into tribes living in less crowded reserves. This article provides new insights into the nature of identity in colonial Kenya by telling the stories of two types of Kikuyu migrants who settled in the Meru Reserve. The first much larger group did so legally by agreeing to become Meru. The second openly challenged the colonial state and their Meru hosts by defiantly proclaiming themselves to be Kikuyu. These diverse ways of being Kikuyu in the Meru Reserve fit neither strict primordial nor constructivist conceptions of African identity formation. The peoples of colonial Kenya had options in deciding how to identify themselves and could assume different political and social roles by invoking one or more of them at a time and in specific circumstances.

47 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: The processes that transformed certain ethnic groups into martial races during the colonial era are explored, arguing that the designation martial race had little to with specific cultural characteristics or precolonial military traditions.
Abstract: British colonial officials considered the Kamba to be the premier martial race of Africa. The Kamba themselves appeared to embrace this label by enlisting in the colonial army in large numbers. This article explores the processes that transformed certain ethnic groups into martial races during the colonial era. It argues that the designation martial race had little to with specific cultural characteristics or precolonial military traditions. Martial stereotypes were an index of the changing political economy of recruitment. The willingness of an ethnic group like the Kamba to serve in the army was based on the extent of its integration into the colonial economy. African societies were most martial when in a transitional stage of economic development, operating under the constraints of colonial rule.

40 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article presented a conceptualization of ethnicity that makes the distinction between ethnic structure and ethnic practice, and demonstrated how confusion between structure and practice hampers the ability to test theories and presented two new measures of ethnic practice.
Abstract: Most tests of hypotheses about the effects of “ethnicity” on outcomes use data or measures that confuse or conflate what are termed ethnic structure and ethnic practice. This article presents a conceptualization of ethnicity that makes the distinction between these concepts clear; it demonstrates how confusion between structure and practice hampers the ability to test theories; and it presents two new measures of ethnic practice—ECI (the ethnic concentration index) and EVOTE (the percentage of the vote obtained by ethnic parties)—that illustrate the pay-offs of making this distinction and collecting data accordingly, using examples from the civil war literature.

178 citations

01 Jan 2011
TL;DR: In the previous edition of Studying Africa as discussed by the authors, the authors made a broadening the perspective by giving more prominence to books which explore Africa in global history; that is, the historical relations of the continent around the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, in addition to providing examples of the rapidly growing body of literature on the African diaspora.
Abstract: The history chapter in the previous edition of Studying Africa included books published up to 2004. Since then, the literature on the history of Africa has grown considerably in both scope and quality, and many new themes have appeared. This is the starting point for the chapter that follows, which is devoted to books on the history of Africa published between 2004 and the middle of 2010. The following selection aims at broadening the perspective by giving more prominence to books which explore Africa in global history; that is, the historical relations of the continent around the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, in addition to providing examples of the rapidly growing body of literature on the African diaspora. An attempt has also been made to emphasise books by African historians, where the many West African historians at American universities in particular have been prominent contributors. There is a gradual transition into the next chapter, which deals with politics, economics and society. A number of general surveys cover long periods of time and extend into the current period, and books about topical themes often contain excellent historical background chapters. For this reason, the reader is advised to consult both chapters.

167 citations

Book
15 Nov 2012
TL;DR: The Afterlife of Empire as mentioned in this paper explores how decolonization transformed British society in the 1950s and 1960s by recasting the genealogy and geography of welfare by charting its unseen dependence on the end of empire, and illuminating the relationship between the postwar and the post-imperial.
Abstract: “Quietly dazzling. . . . In this gripping account of welfare’s postcolonial history, Jordanna Bailkin throws the archives wide open and invites us to walk through them with new eyes—and with renewed appreciation for the intimate connections between empire and metropole in the making of contemporary Britain. The Afterlife of Empire challenges us to reimagine how we think and teach the twentieth century in Britain and beyond.” Antoinette Burton, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign “A brilliant contribution to the history of twentieth-century Britain. It does what no other book has done: narrating the end of empire and the rise of the postwar welfare state together, while placing the stories of ordinary people—children, adolescents, parents, husbands, and wives—at the heart of this account. With this book, Bailkin transforms our understanding of how some of the most critical issues of twentieth-century British history were not just perceived, but lived.” stephen j. brooke, York University The Afterlife of Empire investigates how decolonization transformed British society in the 1950s and 1960s. Although usually charted through diplomatic details, the empire’s collapse was also a personal process that altered everyday life, restructuring routines and social interactions. Using a vast array of recently declassified sources, Jordanna Bailkin recasts the genealogy and geography of welfare by charting its unseen dependence on the end of empire, and illuminates the relationship between the postwar and the postimperial. Jordanna Bailkin is Giovanni and Amne Costigan Professor of History and Professor of History and Women’s Studies at the University of Washington. Berkeley Series in British Studies, 4

135 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Anderson et al. as discussed by the authors studied how voters react to losing and how losing affects their support for the political system, in established as well as in post-communist democracies, and found that losing affects instability across a range of dimensions: losers are generally more critical towards the political process and the electoral process than winners and more so in new democracies than in old.
Abstract: This book underlines the importance of electoral losers rather than winners for understanding instability and conflict. It studies how voters react to losing and how losing affects their support for the political system, in established as well as in post-communist democracies. Through the use of survey data, the authors analyse losers’ attitudes and behaviours at the individual level in 40 countries. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they find that losers affect instability across a range of dimensions: losers are generally more critical towards the political system and the electoral process than winners and more so in new democracies than in old. Furthermore, if consistently excluded from power, citizens have diminished incentives to play by the rules and are more willing to radically change the rules of the game. Although filling a gap in comparative politics, Losers’ Consent suffers from two weaknesses. First, I miss an analysis of the role of the losing political elites. It is likely that the losing voters’ attitudes and behaviours are closely connected with the actions and reactions of the losing political elite. Second, the study would have gained from a discussion of different types of losers. Losers are defined as citizens voting for parties that, after elections, do not participate in government. But winning and losing is about more than who ends up in government. What about those who see themselves as electoral winners but are excluded from government, or when the winners of the presidential race become losers of the parliamentary game in semi-presidential systems? Despite these shortcomings, the book is highly readable and a significant contribution to understanding the impact of losers’ consent for securing democratic stability. Camilla Gjerde Anderson, David, 2005. Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire. New York: Norton. 406 pp. ISBN 039332754X.

123 citations

01 Jan 2014
TL;DR: In this article, the authors provide an introduction to the basic handbooks and standard works on contemporary Africa, and also offer guidance on searching for literature and facts within the field of social sciences.
Abstract: Studying Africa provides an introduction to the basic handbooks and standard works on contemporary Africa. It also offers guidance on searching for literature and facts wwithin the field of social ...

116 citations