My research is directed towards understanding, assessing and evaluating Britain’s place in the wider world: the manifestation and impact of empire on British society and culture; its effect on ‘peripheral’ communities (and vice versa); its fundamentally entangled nature (geographically, politically, ethnically); and the nature of the relationship between science, material culture, exploration and empire.
My latest monograph, Britain’s Maritime Empire: Southern Africa, the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, 1763–1820, explores the ways in which British networks and institutions, such as the East India Company, facilitated linkages and connections in the wider Indian Ocean world. This work aims to problematise and re-evaluate notions of ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ by considering the British presence in the southern Atlantic and Indian Oceans, especially the Cape of Good Hope, St Helena and Mauritius.
Building on this work, I am also interested in the contribution of islands to the development of the British Empire. This is a theme that I am actively exploring through an AHRC-funded network, ‘An Empire of Islands: Concepts, Connections and Collections’.
I also have a long-standing interest in the history of museums, collecting and their complex relationships with empire, both historically and today. An edited collection entitled Curating Empire brought together a series of case studies that used the medium of museums and collections to investigate how global connections, networks and experiences affected people in a range of societies. More recently, Exhibiting the Empire, co-edited with John MacKenzie, explored various cultures of display and their impacts on the representation of the British Empire.
I am a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and I sit on the council of the Hakluyt Society.
Dr John McAleer
Building 65 Faculty of Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom Email: firstname.lastname@example.org