Masters and Servants: Cultures of Empire in the Tropics, 1880-1930
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Masters and servants explores the politics of colonial mastery and domestic servitude in the neighbouring British colonies of Singapore and Darwin. Through an exploration of master-servant relationships within British, white Australian and Chinese homes, this book illustrates the centrality of the domestic realm to the colonial project. It is the first comparative history of domestic service and British colonialism in the tropics, and highlights the important role which 'houseboys' played in colonial households in the tropics and the common preference for Chinese 'houseboys' throughout Southeast Asia. The book is meticulously researched, and draws from archives that have never been addressed in this way before. Its highly original and innovative approach, which combines comparative analysis with a focus on transcolonial connections, puts the book at the forefront of current postcolonial scholarship. The insights that Masters and servants provides into the domestic politics of colonial rule make this book essential reading for students and scholars of empire.