Science and religion came together to help shape the attitudes of the British and Europeans towards the rest of the world, whose inhabitants were increasingly regarded as socially inferior and spiritually ignorant. This lecture looks at how these ideas framed the growth of overseas Empire in the latter part of the nineteenth century, how Britain and those European states that possessed colonies governed them and what were the consequences for politics and ideology at home, above all in the growth of the Social Darwinism, racism and extreme nationalism that led to the end of the 'Victorian' era in the First World War.
This lecture is part of the series The Victorians: Culture and Experience in Britain, Europe and the World 1815-1914 This course of lectures looks at the Victorians not just in Britain but in Europe and the wider world. 'Victorian' has come to stand for a particular set of values, perceptions and experiences, many of which were shared by people in a variety of different countries, from Russia to America, Spain to Scandinavia and reflected in the literature and culture of the nineteenth century, up to the outbreak of the First World War. The focus of the lectures will be on identifying and analysing six key areas of the Victorian experience, looking at them in international perspective. The lectures will be illustrated and the visual material will form a key element in the presentations. Throughout the series, we will be asking how far, in an age of growing nationalism and class conflict, the experiences of the Victorian era were common to different classes and countries across Europe and how far the political dominance of Britain, the world superpower of the day, was reflected in the spread of British culture and values to other parts of the world.Support the show