Bright, RK (2020) 'Migration, naturalisation, and the ‘British’ world, c.1900-1920’. Journal of Research Institute for the History of Global Arms Transfer.

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This article explores the distinctly legal vagueness that underpinned citizenship and subjecthood in the British empire in the early twentieth century, drawing specifically on examples from South Africa and Australia. Situating the administration of laws about citizenship within a global context, this offers a revision of the current scholarship on the global ‘color line’. The white ‘color line’ which developed within the British empire was less a shared legal system and more of a constant negotiation between different actors. Unlike other recent studies of citizenship and subjecthood, this is not an intellectual history. This, instead, is a close scrutiny of bureaucratic decision-making precisely because the system which flourished under British rule was designed to accommodate colonial discrimination by encouraging legal vagueness and executive privilege, allowing considerable space for official and unofficial influence. By focusing on liminal groups (Jews in South Africa and women in Australia), it illuminates how a ‘British’ world was constructed, who was included and who excluded from this process, and how this process unfolded, especially concerning issues of race and gender.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information related to it can be found online at;
Uncontrolled Keywords: Migration
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2020 10:29
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2021 01:30

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