Home Biography Studies in Imperialism Books Edited volumes Articles Reference Contact  John M. MacKenzie 2016
“An outstandingly original book which deals both authoritatively and perceptively with an important and hitherto rather neglected aspect of imperial cultures. It is engrossing, deeply informative and beautifully written ... a valuable contribution to scholarship across a range of disciplines.” Dr Nigel Rigby, National Maritime Museum, London

Publications - monographs by John M. MacKenzie

John M. MacKenzie
Museums and empire Natural history, human cultures and colonial identities. (Manchester University Press, 2009) The first book to examine the origins and development of some of the  most significant museums of the British Empire. It focuses on museums   in Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India and South-east Asia, but also touches on the history of many other museums in Britain and her imperial territories in the 19th and 20th centuries. These important cultural institutions are set into the economic and social contexts of their specific cities and colonies. A number of key themes emerge from this study: the development of elites within colonial towns and cities; the development of the full range of cultural institutions associated with this; and the reception and modification of the key scientific ideas of the age.  
“Only a mature scholar with the range and experience possessed by someone like MacKenzie could have taken this on... [and he]... brings to the task the qualities that mark him out as our foremost historian of the cultures and ideology of empire: enormous span, considerable powers of synthesis and an eye that is ever alert to significant detail. As ever he presents his research with consummate ease and style.” Prof. Saul Dubow, University of Sussex
The Scots in South Africa Ethnicity, identity, gender and race, 1772-1914 With Nigel R Dalziel, Manchester University Press, 2007)
Beginning in the era of Dutch rule, Scots have made one of the most distinctive contributions to the history of South Africa. They were active in geographical exploration, science, education, military campaigns, Christian missions, intellectual institutions and the professions, as well as business, commerce and journalism. This book is the first full-length study of their role from the 18th to the 20th centuries. It highlights the interaction of Scots with African peoples, the manner in which missions and schools were credited with producing ‘black Scotsmen’ and the ways in which they pursued many distinctive policies. It also deals with the interweaving of gender, class and race as well as the means by which Scots clung to their ethnicity. This book is a major contribution to both Scottish and South African history and in the process illuminates a significant field of the Scottish diaspora that has received little attention. Empires of Nature and the Nature of Empires Imperialism, Scotland and the Environment (Tuckwell Press, East Linton, 1997) First delivered as the Thomas Callander Memorial Lectures at the University of Aberdeen in 1995, this book is a survey of the lively historiography of the environmental history of the British Empire. It suggests fresh modes of analysis and connections with the Scottish experience and to the remarkable dominance of Scots in the relevant agencies of the empire. Few areas of historical study have experienced such an explosive growth as environmental history. This new historiography has been particularly important in offering opportunities for the globalising of human history in relation to its natural context. Within this field, some of the liveliest studies have emerged in relation to the British Empire, examining the environmental effects of the social and economic impact of imperialism in the various continents of the globe. As the first major survey of this literature, it examines a wide range of research and publications and divides them up into  the Apocalyptic, the Neo-Whiggish and the Longer Perspective schools. It also takes some of the authors to task for their analytical excesses and makes many suggestions for the future direction of the field. Orientalism History, theory and the arts  Manchester University Press, 1995, reprinted 1996, 1998, 2004 The Orientalism debate, inspired by the work of Edward Said, has been a major source of cross-disciplinary controversy in recent years. John MacKenzie offers a comprehensive re-evaluation of the vast literature of Orientalism, and brings to the subject highly original historical perspectives. This study is the first major discussion of Orientalism by an historian of imperialism. Setting the analysis within the context of conflicting scholarly interpretations, MacKenzie then carries the discussion to wholly new areas, testing the notion that the Western arts received genuine inspiration from the East by examining the visual arts, architecture, design, music and theatre. This analysis concludes that Western approaches to the Orient have been much more ambiguous and more genuinely interactive than Said allowed. The artistic construction of the East by the West has invariably been achieved through a greater spirit of respect in search of a truly syncretic culture, and the Orient has proved an inspiration to European arts even when caught in the web of imperial power relations. The Empire of Nature Hunting, conservation and British imperialism Manchester University Press, 1988, reprinted 1997) A pioneering work by John MacKenzie assessing the significance of the hunting cult as a major element of the imperial experience in Africa and Asia. Through a study of the game laws and the beginnings of conservation in the 19th and early 20th centuries, he shows that Africans were denied access to game: the development of game reserves and national parks accelerated this process. Indigenous hunters in Africa and Asia were turned into ‘poachers’ and only Europeans were permitted to hunt. In India the hunting of animals became the chief recreation of military officers and civilian officials, a source of display and a symbolic dominance of the environment. Imperial hunting fed the natural history craze of the day and many hunters collected trophies and specimens for private and public collections as well as contributing to hunting literature. John MacKenzie also connects hunting and game conservation to imperial expansion, concepts of masculinity, attitudes towards diet, and the development of Western tourism. Propaganda and Empire The manipulation of British public opinion 1880- 1960 Manchester University Press, 1984, reprinted 1985, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1997 It has been said that the British Empire, on which the sun never set, meant little to the man-in-the-street. Strange then, that for three-quarters of a century it was scarcely possible to buy a bar of soap or a tin of biscuits without being reminded of the idea of empire. Packaging, postcards, music hall, theatre, cinema, children’s literature and school books, exhibitions and parades, all conveyed the message that empire was an adventure and an ennobling responsibility  invariably associated with glory and romance. In this illuminating study, which has become a classic text in the field, MacKenzie explores manifestations of the imperial idea, from the trappings of royalty through writers like G.A. Henty to the humble cigarette card and everyday ephemera. He shows that it was so powerful and pervasive that it outlived the passing of the empire itself. The Railway Station A Social History With Jeffrey Richards, Oxford University Press, 1986; Faber & Faber, 2009 In a sweeping global survey, unique in scope, The Railway Station successfully captures the importance and mystique of the station in all its guises. Chapters explore its architectural significance, its role in art, literature and film as well as its social, political and military function.
“An outstanding piece of scholarly research... [that] provides for the first time an historical overview of the crucial and neglected impact of Scots migrants on South African society and state.” Prof. Jonathan Hislop, University of the Witwatersrand, Pretoria
Orientalism “...an ambitious and wide-ranging critique of [Edward Said’s] Orientalism that no serious student of colonial rule can afford to ignore.” Partha Mitter, University of Sussex (Times Higher Education Supplement)
The Empire of Nature  “displays meticulous scholarly standards... systematic, informative and authoritative. Without sacrificing the academic approach, MacKenzie has produced a most accessible and attractive book.” International Journal of Sports History “a remorseless and disturbing catalogue of Victorian and Edwardian greed and hypocrisy. Its author deserves considerable credit for illuminating a particularly shady aspect of British colonialism.” Times Literary Supplement 
Propaganda and Empire “...a masterly work of synthesis that throws much new light on this important topic in a balanced, interdisciplinary, and thought- provoking way.” Journal of Modern History “from a broad view, the work is a treasure of British social-imperial historical material within a framework of a clear set of concepts.” Victorian Studies “...an important book that all those interested in British attitudes about the empire will read with pleasure and profit.” Choice magazine
The Railway Station  “Written with great enthusiasm... packed with rich detail. This is real social history.” Asa Briggs “Remarkable... the railway station in all its aspects.” A.N. Wilson “enormously enjoyable.” The Guardian “Social, economic and political conclusions are to be drawn from their work... A richly rewarding read.” Today