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Program in British Studies

'Naked Colonialism: Displaying the Unclothed Body'

Philippa Levine, History and British Studies

Fri, January 21, 2011 | Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

3:00 PM

The British in the nineteenth century thought remarkably frequently about the state of nakedness.  By the end of the century it had become something of a by-word for savagery.  Twentieth-century school books informed the children of Britain that nakedness was a condition equated with the tropical colonies as well as other exotic but disturbing and dangerous locations.  Yet at the same time nudity, seen perhaps best in classical statuary, was extolled as the very basis of proper high art.

Philippa Levine is an historian of Britain and the British Empire.  Her recent book, The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset, has been translated into Italian and Japanese.  Other recent publications include The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (2010),
 Gender, Labour, War and Empire in Modern Britain. Essays on Modern Britain(2009) and Beyond Sovereignty: Britain, Empire and Transnationalism, 1860-1950 (2007). 

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