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We're Here Because You Were There by Ian Patel

We're Here Because You Were There

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We're Here Because You Were There by Ian Patel
Hardcover $29.95
Apr 13, 2021 | ISBN 9781788737678

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  • Apr 13, 2021 | ISBN 9781788737678

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“Combining startling new research with a clear and convincing argument, this shows just how essential the history of migration and race is to understanding Britain today.”
—Daniel Trilling, author of Lights in the Distance

“Many studies of immigration suffer from two weaknesses. They discuss it in isolation from a discussion of national identity, and treat it as a domestic issue that can be analysed and explained in terms of domestic constraints and compulsions. Patel’s new book is happily free from these, and offers a historically rich and conceptually rigorous study of post-1945 immigration to the UK, especially that of East African Asians. He locates it in Britain’s imperial context and traces with great skill the debate on Britain’s self-understanding that it sprang from and influenced. This is a first-rate book and deserves to be widely read.”
—Bhikhu Parekh, author of Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory

“Patel provides some much-needed context for one of the world’s most contentious and vexed subjects of debate: immigration. From the legal architecture designed to make life impossible for foreigners both a century ago and today, to the hypocrisies of British officials bent on shutting out those forced from their homes, Patel succinctly and eloquently explains the long-lasting consequences of empire: how countless lives were irrevocably altered by mandarins in Whitehall offices, and the related suffering that continues into the present day.”
—Dr Shashi Tharoor, author of Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India

“Patel provides an indispensable and urgently relevant account of immigration and the end of empire that reveals the mirage-like quality of the very concepts through which we typically understand postwar Britain. Situating the arrival of nonwhite people in Britain in an intra-imperial context, this bravely and innovatively wide-ranging account shows that neither were they immigrants, nor was Britain ending empire. Their arrival was a phenomenon of continuity rather than a dramatic break with the past. With a compassionate authorial voice, Patel captures the trauma of unbelonging and of racist gatekeeping of the planet against a backdrop of continuous, untrammeled British emigration. This carefully researched book is testimony to history’s astonishing power to change how we understand the world we inhabit by dispelling the myths that obscure truth.”
—Priya Satia, Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History at Stanford University and author of Time’s Monster: History, Conscience and Britain’s Empire

“Debates about immigration in the immediate post-war decades, argues Ian Sanjay Patel in his provocative and important new book, were really about Britain’s relation to changes in the outside world and to itself. He tells a story rooted both in the experience of migrants and in the archives of officials and politicians, at home, in the UN, and in the new postcolonial states. An idea of empire rooted in white power and colonial subjection was rearticulated for global times. Both Conservative and Labour governments utilized the law to establish a race-based set of rights for contemporary Britain.”
—Catherine Hall, author of Civilising Subjects

“This is an extraordinary and important book. It is powerful, principled and courageous, a necessary and vital disquisition on the continuing legacies of colonialism and the mindset of its making and perpetuation in the modern, brutish Britain we seem to inhabit.”
—Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

“The contemporary politics of belonging and immigration—Ian Sanjay Patel shows in this stunning history—make no sense except against the backdrop of centuries of empire, and the decades at its messy end when British identity was refashioned. We’re Here Because You Were There expertly revisits how the claim and incentive to move beyond empire followed only upon the erection of colonial hierarchy and racialized exclusion, factors which were strengthened in forgotten eras of imperial citizenship and Commonwealth unity. This book boldly and convincingly lays down a new starting point for debate today.”
—Samuel Moyn, author of Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World

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