The Making of an Imperial Polity: Civility and America in the Jacobean Metropolis

Research output: Book/ReportBook


'The Making of an Imperial Polity' brings to life the interaction between America, its peoples, and metropolitan gentlemen in early seventeenth-century England. Rather than viewing colonization as operating on the peripheries of the political realm, the Jacobean era is reframed as a definitive moment in which the civil self-presentation of the elite became increasingly implicated in the imperial. The entangled histories of colonialism and domestic social and political change are investigated through attention to how taste and pleasure contributed to this shift in the English political gaze. This significant reassessment of Jacobean political culture demonstrates how politics, consumption, literature, and social relations were uniquely shaped by territorial expansion beyond the British Isles and by the experience of colonizing America. At the same time, bringing English civility in dialogue with Native American beliefs and practices speaks to inherent tensions in the English civilizing project and the pursuit of refinement through empire.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9781108625227
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Jacobean
  • colonialism
  • sociability
  • material culture
  • plantation

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