Cain, P.J. 1941–

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Cain, P.J. 1941–

(Peter J. Cain)

PERSONAL:

Born October 13, 1941. Education: Graduate of Oxford University.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Faculty of Development and Society, Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Howard St., Sheffield S1 1WB, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Birmingham University, Birmingham, England, faculty member; Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, England, research professor in history, 1995—. Visiting professor at Yale University.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Forkosch Prize, American Historical Association.

WRITINGS:

Economic Foundations of British Overseas Expansion, 1815-1914, Macmillan (London, England), 1980.

(Editor) J.A. Hobson, Writings on Imperialism and Internationalism, Routledge/Thoemmes Press (London, England), 1992.

(With A.G. Hopkins) British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914, Longman (New York, NY), 1993.

(With A.G. Hopkins) British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, Longman (New York, NY), 1993.

(Editor) Empire and Imperialism: The Debate of the 1870s, St. Augustine Press (South Bend, IN), 1999.

(With A.G. Hopkins) British Imperialism, 1688-2000 (updated and expanded edition of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990), Longman (New York, NY), 2001.

(Editor, with Mark Harrison) Imperialism: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies, Routledge (New York, NY), 2001.

Hobson and Imperialism: Radicalism, New Liberalism, and Finance, 1887-1938, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Author of academic papers; contributor to works by others, including the introductions to Africa and the Peace of Europe, revised edition, by Edmund D. Morel, Routledge/Thoemmes Press (London, England), 1998; and Democracy after the War, revised edition, by John A. Hobson, Routledge/Thoemmes Press (London, England), 1998; and other books in the "Empire and Its Critics" series.

SIDELIGHTS:

P.J. Cain is a graduate of Oxford University who taught at Birmingham University before joining the faculty of Sheffield Hallam University in 1995 as a research professor in history.

Cain has also been an invited visiting professor at other universities, including Yale University, where he was a distinguished visitor at the Centre for Strategic Studies. Cain's research interests are the history of economics and economic policy, particularly with regard to the British Empire, and the theory and practice of Imperialism from 1815 to 1945. Cain's teaching interests have included modern European thought, British empire and imperialism in theory and practice from 1870 to 1914, and theories of imperialism. Cain, the winner of the American Historical Society's Forkosch Prize, notes on his University home page that his "main responsibility within the department is the encouragement of research and the co-ordination of research strategy."

Cain has written two volumes with A.G. Hopkins that cover two periods in history of British imperialism. They are British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990. The two were later combined, updated and reprinted as British Imperialism, 1688-2000. The original paperback volumes were somewhat expensive, but the combined version, in which the authors address contemporary globalization and respond to critics, was published for approximately twenty-five dollars, making it an affordable option for specialists and general readers alike.

In the first volume, the first half of which is devoted to general topics, Cain and Hopkins consider growth during the period studied and such related issues as tariff reform. In the second half they study the forces that led to the creation of the British empire, including specific case studies, and come to the conclusion that "gentlemanly capitalism" was the primary factor. The London banking establishment had a significant influence on government, leading to its interests being well served in both the British colonies and other regions in which they did business. These covered the globe from South America and Africa to the Far East. Consequently, the needs of the financiers were placed over those of the industrialists who sought raw materials and markets. Making money, not goods was the goal. The gentlemen capitalists kept their rural homes, maintaining their appearances as agriculturally oriented lords of the manor, but when they invested their wealth, it was often outside the country.

As Denis MacShane noted in the New Statesman & Society: "Hence the curious fact that today Britain has far more multinational companies, mainly based on trading goods and money, than Germany or France, even though we live in a poorer country. For the gentlemanly capitalists, this is no problem. From the land enclosures and Highland clearances to the return of TB today in the mining villages around Rotherham, the message from London to the unrich is ‘Drop Dead.’" MacShane also pointed out that the school system was structured to create a professional service sector rather than a working class, which has helped in subduing efforts toward industrialization. The authors contend that by 1945, the British no longer needed the colonies, which had served their purpose, and so decolonization should not be seen as a failure but as a natural progression.

W.D. Rubinstein reviewed the books in Business History, noting that the first and longest volume contains hundreds of footnotes. Rubinstein felt they should properly be considered classified as books of economic history rather than histories of the Empire. Rubinstein did note the absence of references to Ghandi and Nehru and the only cursory mentions of such subjects as native nationalist movements and British military conquests. He commented that the authors also fail to adequately explain why British imperialism came to such a sudden end, noting that the last of Britain's colonies were gaining independence, but also that the British government was unprepared for a postimperial world. Rubinstein wrote that Cain and Hopkins "are, however, almost wholly convincing in analysing Britain's economic and imperial development down to the recent past according to their central argument, and British Imperialism will, I believe, lay to rest many of the criticisms and doubts which have naturally arisen as historians have presented aspects of their general interpretation in print. Dr Cain and Professor Hopkins cannot be praised sufficiently for their work, the product of extraordinary research, a wide historical imagination, high ability at synthesis, and most of all, accurate analysis."

Laurence Kitzan wrote in the Historian that "this work is tremendously stimulating and useful, and its ideas should be hotly discussed."

Ian Phimister commented on both volumes in the Journal of African History, noting the impact of British imperialism on Africa. Phimister concluded: "Written with rare elegance and matchless erudition, this brilliant study will be the benchmark against which other contributions will be measured well into the next century."

Writing in Middle Eastern Studies, Edward Ingram noted the absence of references to Middle Eastern figures and events. He commented that seven pages of the first volume are devoted to the occupation of Egypt and that Egypt is briefly mentioned just three times in the second volume in which there is no mention of Turkey or Iran. Ingram wondered whether the Middle East "is left out deliberately or only by accident. It is certainly odd. The history of the British empire used to be marked by Middle Eastern milestones: the Greek revolt, the Mehemet Ali crises, and the occupation of Egypt in 1882 while going up; Kut, Abadan, and the Suez Crisis of 1956 while coming down. Arabi Bey and Colonel Nasser were two of the best known imperial villains, nearly the equal of Tipu Sultan and the Nana Sahib; Glubb Pasha came to my school to give away the prizes…. Perhaps the Middle East has to go, for its place is central to the imperial paradigm Cain and Hopkins seek to replace."

Referring to both books in the English Historical Review, Martin Lynn wrote: "These are stimulating and challenging volumes that represent a major contribution to the subject and whose conclusions will have to be addressed by all imperial historians. One of the main areas of debate already concerns the significance of gentlemanly capitalism: critics have questioned whether gentlemanly capitalism was as central to the process of imperial expansion as Cain and Hopkins suggest. This debate is only beginning and will no doubt continue for some time."

Atlantic Monthly contributor Benjamin Schwarz reviewed the most recent volume, which extends the subject period to 2000, describing it as: "A masterpiece of political economy" and "a rich and seminal reinterpretation of the international economy and of the wellsprings of British economic power."

Cain's Hobson and Imperialism: Radicalism, New Liberalism, and Finance, 1887-1938 was published one hundred years after the publication of J.A. Hobson's Imperialism: A Study, the most widely acclaimed critique of British imperialism ever written. In revisiting Hobson's views, Cain studies his writings on imperialism during Hobson's career as a London journalist until his 1940 death. He notes the evolution of Hobson's views of imperialism, first as a contented imperialist during the 1880s, and eventually his radical writings of criticism before the turn of the century. Cain offers two chapters in which he comments on Hobson's later writings and his decision to republish in 1938 what by then had become a classic. Cain concludes by applying the arguments Hobson puts forth in Imperialism to the debate of the subject by contemporary historians.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, December, 1994, Peter Harnetty, reviews of British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990 and British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914, p. 1685; April, 2004, Trevor Lloyd, review of Hobson and Imperialism: Radicalism, New Liberalism, and Finance, 1887-1938, p. 612.

Atlantic Monthly, April, 2003, Benjamin Schwarz, review of British Imperialism, 1688-2000, p. 91.

Business History, July, 1994, W.D. Rubinstein, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 100.

Choice, November, 1993, R.D. Long, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914, p. 515, and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 516; June, 2003, D.M. Cregier, review of Hobson and Imperialism, p. 1784.

Economic History Review, November, 1994, A.J.H. Latham, review of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914, p. 817.

Economic Journal, September, 1996, Lance E. Davis, review of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914, p. 1418.

English Historical Review, April, 1996, Martin Lynn, review of British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 501.

Historian, summer, 1995, Laurence Kitzan, review of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914, p. 823; spring, 1997, reviews of British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990 and British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914, p. 634.

History: The Journal of the Historical Association, June, 1994, T.J. Barron, review of British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 267; June, 1994, H.V. Bowen, review of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914, p. 263.

History Today, January, 1994, Theo Barker, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 49.

International History Review, November, 1994, review of British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 787; November, 1994, review of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914, p. 787; September, 2003, E.H.H. Green, review of Hobson and Imperialism, p. 682.

International Journal of African Historical Studies, summer, 1995, Charles Ambler, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 677.

Journal of African History, May, 1994, Ian Phimister, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 310.

Journal of Economic History, June, 2003, Michael Edelstein, review of British Imperialism, 1688-2000, p. 586.

Journal of Historical Geography, January, 1995, Andrew Porter, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 83.

Journal of Modern History, June, 1996, Wesley K. Wark, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 451.

Middle Eastern Studies, April, 1997, Edward Ingram, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 441.

Modern Asian Studies, July, 1996, Dharma Kumar, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 725.

New Statesman & Society, March 11, 1994, Denis MacShane, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 37.

Social History, October, 1995, Geoffrey Ingham, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 339.

Spectator, November 27, 1993, Robert Oakeshott, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 39.

Times Higher Education Supplement, July 30, 1993, Keith Robbins, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 15.

Times Literary Supplement, August 20, 1993, P.J. Marshall, reviews of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914 and British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990, p. 22.

Victorian Studies, winter, 1994, David Nicholls, review of British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914, p. 320.

ONLINE

Sheffield Hallam University Department of History Web site,http://www.shu.ac.uk/history/ (September 19, 2008), faculty profile.