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Considerations On Imperial Comparisons

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Chapter Summary

This chapter agrees with the critique of comparative analyses that have been confined to a comparison of nation-based empires and that build off assessments of "national character." It argues that there is space for a new understanding of comparison, one that emerges from the historically and politically located understandings of comparison itself as an imperial project in which architects and agents of empire invested themselves. The chapter addresses several points: (1) some of the ways in which a comparative study of empire might be reframed; (2) why it might be useful for us to think analytically less about empires and even "imperial situations" than about what the author sought to call "imperial formations"; and (3) what analytic tools can we bring to bear on understanding the current tenses in which imperial formations pervade the contemporary space in which people live.

Keywords: comparison of nation-based empires; imperial formations



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