Chasing Empire Across the Sea : Communications and the State in the French Atlantic, 1713-1763
Banks defines and applies the concept of communications in a far broader context than previous historical studies of communication, encompassing a range of human activity from sailing routes, to mapping, to presses, to building roads and bridges. He employs a comparative analysis of early modern French imperialism, integrating three types of overseas possessions usually considered separately - the settlement colony (New France), the tropical monoculture colony (the French Windward Islands), and the early Enlightenment planned colony (Louisiana) - offering a work of synthesis that unites the historiographies and insights from three formerly separate historical literatures. Banks challenges the very notion that a concrete "empire" emerged by the first half of the eighteenth century; in fact, French colonies remained largely isolated arenas of action and development. Only with the contraction and concentration of overseas possessions after 1763 on the Plantation Complex did a more cohesive, if fleeting, French empire first emerge.
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- Hardback | 344 pages
- 152 x 229 x 28.7mm | 666.78g
- 01 Jan 2003
- McGill-Queen's University Press
- Montreal, Canada
An ambitious study of an important, but difficult-to-reach dimension of European colonialism in America. The systematic comparison of the port towns of Quebec, New Orleans, and St Pierre is in itself a major contribution, but Banks' analysis offers much more. He explores an array of texts and information generated by the mundane operation of empire through the exciting lens of new cultural history, providing vital material and interpretation for a better comparative understanding of imperial communications systems across space and time. Daniel H. Usner, Jr., Department of History, Cornell University "The comparative nature of the study is most welcome. Histories that compare and contrast the different parts of the French colonial world are few and far between. Banks is to be congratulated for having undertaken and ambitious inter-colonial study." A.J.B Johnston, author of Life and Religion at Louisbourg
About Kenneth J. Banks
Kenneth Banks is an NEH fellow at the American Antiquarian Society. He is currently researching a book on French contraband in the Early Modern Atlantic World.