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About Stephen Howe


Stephen Howe is professor in the history and cultures of colonialism at Bristol University. His books include Afrocentrism: Mythical Pasts and Imagined Homes (Verso, 1998); Anticolonialism in British Politics: The Left and the End of Empire 1918-1964 (Oxford University Press, 1993); Ireland and Empire: Colonial Legacies in Irish History and Culture (Oxford University Press, 2000); Empire: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2002); and (as editor) The New Imperial Histories Reader (Routledge, 2009)

Articles by Stephen Howe

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

An Oxford Scot at King Dubya's court: Niall Ferguson's 'Colossus'

First published in July 2004, an account of the current BBC Reith Lecture's long-standing affair with American power and its structures.

Son of the Bani Tanwir: the work of Fred Halliday (1946-2010)

The death in April 2010 of Fred Halliday, engaged political intellectual and scholar of international relations, provoked many tributes from among the worldwide fellowship of colleagues he had done so much to create and nurture. Now, in what is both a preliminary assessment and an incisive overview in its own right, the historian Stephen Howe critically surveys the extraordinary range of Fred Halliday’s writing across four decades.

A murderous muse: Idi Amin and the Last King of Scotland

Forest Whitaker's superb performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin cannot redeem a hollow film that washes whiter a complex reality, says Stephen Howe.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley: Ken Loach and Irish history

When an acclaimed, leftist English director makes a film about nationalist Irish struggles – and wins the top prize at the Cannes festival – controversy is inevitable. The historian Stephen Howe looks behind the shouting to ask: is the film truthful?

'Munich': Spielberg's failure

Hollywood deals with " counter-terrorism" in Steven Spielberg's new film about the aftermath of the Palestinian seizure of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Good theme, bad film, says Stephen Howe.

Mad Dogs and Ulstermen: the crisis of Loyalism (part two)

The combative cultural and political worldview of Northern Ireland’s working-class Protestant communities is not an atavistic residue but part of a complex response to modern global conditions and national pressures, says Stephen Howe in the second, concluding part of his panoptic essay.

Mad Dogs and Ulstermen: the crisis of Loyalism (part one)

Behind recent violent unrest in Loyalist working-class communities in Northern Ireland is a story of promiscuous cultural borrowings attempting to shore up a collapsed political identity, says Stephen Howe. In the first part of a two-part essay, he examines their manifestations in music, visual display and political rhetoric.

Boycotting Israel: the uses of history

Britain’s Association of University Teachers has voted to boycott Israel. Stephen Howe scrupulously maps the background to a bitter controversy over historical truth and academic freedom.

Israel, Palestine, and campus civil wars

Middle-east politics has viciously divided Columbia University and London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Stephen Howe maps the battlefields and proposes good rules for the conduct of the “knowledge wars”.

The death of Arafat and the end of national liberation

The demise of the Palestinian national leader also marks the symbolic end of the anti-colonialist politics that dominated the “third world” after 1945, says Stephen Howe.

Dying for Empire, Blair, or Scotland?

The death of three young Scots soldiers in central Iraq may, says a grieving Stephen Howe, be the decisive moment for Scotland’s democratic nationalism to assert itself over the imperial militarism that sent its sons into a killing–field.

Edward Said: the traveller and the exile

In a major retrospective, Stephen Howe considers the life and work of the Palestinian scholar Edward Said.

American Empire: history and future of an idea

The George W Bush administration's advocacy of pre-emption puts the notion of America as an empire at the centre of contemporary political debate. An understanding of this notion can be deepened if modern American power is viewed in the light of other imperial experiences, says Stephen Howe.

Troubled links to the narrow land

Everyone outside Israel with a stake in the country walks on eggshells in times of crisis. But what happens to memory and hope in the perspective of violence without end? A thoughtful report from the emotional front line.
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