Board Game Studies Colloquium VIII
RACE AND IMPERIAL CULTURE IN BRITISH BOARD GAMES OF THE 19TH CENTURY
This paper will attempt to use British board games of the Nineteenth century
to reflect on the place of race and imperial culture in the popular sphere.
It will touch on the relative awareness and interest of the British
population in their empire; attitudes to the sovereign's overseas subjects;
fear of competition; and, more generally, conceptions of race. The themes of
such games will be examined in the light of wider historical scholarship on
these issues, with the hope of understanding the contribution these games
can make to the study of nineteenth century attitudes.
The paper also hopes to act as a manifesto for the place of board games in
the study of Nineteenth century intellect and culture more generally. As
inoccuous forms of entertainment, board games offer the historian a
prime opportunity to examine the unashamedly popular, and a direct insight
into the prejudices or passions of the Ninteenth century nation's parlours.
The introduction is concerned with framing these methods and establishing
the premise of the paper.
Begining with an examination of conceptions of race, the examination will
move to consider how board games reflect more general ideas about the
evolution of racial theory and prejudice throughout the century. It will
then work to identify whether 'empire' as a popular concept is supported or
undermined by its portrayal, or absence from, such games. Finally, it will
examine the rivalries and anxieties surrounding other
great powers in this period.