Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Castle, R., Hagan, J. & Wells, A. D. (2003). Colonial companies, indentured labour and imperialism 1860-1940. In B. Bowden & J. Kellett (Eds.), Transforming Labour: Work, Workers, Struggle and Change (pp. 62-67). Brisbane, Australia: Griffith University, Brisbane, 3-5 October 2003.


The literature on modem imperialism is both immense and inconclusive. The defInition, central facts, archival sources, methods, theories and implications of 'imperialism' are subject to endless contestation. The doyen of Australian liberal historiography, WK Hancock, was moved to warn nearly half a century ago, 'Imperialism is no word for scholars'. Despite his assertion the scholarly and polemical debates continued unabated.