Abstract

This article deploys an intersectional, transnational, and postcolonial approach to uncovering what is repressed and connoted in recent pronouncements that multiculturalism in Britain has failed and that it is time for Britain to return to a lost, indigenous, “active, muscular liberalism,” one that must now reassert its authority at home and abroad. To grasp what is at stake in calls for the reinvigoration of an active, muscular liberalism as simultaneously the indigenous personality and identity of not only the British “people” and nation, but indelibly of the West, they must be located within the history of British colonialism and its intersections with white, Western, imperial patriarchy. This article does so by explicating the intersections of gender, race, and class in the post-1945 double-inscription of metropole and colony in British liberalizing social reform and national reconstruction projects, symbolized by two major British government reports published in the 1940s. These are the Moyne Report (GBCO 1945), which shaped the transition of Britain's Caribbean territories from colonial to independent nations, and the Beveridge Report (Beveridge 1942), which shaped the modern British welfare state. What becomes apparent in both reports is how ethnically and racially differentiated categories of women were produced, targeted, and deployed in British metropolitan and colonial state discourses concerning the management of women and reform of racial rule at home and abroad.

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