Inside the Global Imaginary of the Pax Britannica: Nationalist Intersections, Planetary Texts from before and after the two World Wars

Main Article Content

Holly A. Laird


This paper takes a revisionary look at the Pax Britannica and the Pax Americana. At their peak, neither of them effected a peace but, rather, a global set of wars, land grabs, and sociocultural despoliations. Peace studies themselves have, perhaps inevi­tably, thereby (d)evolved into today’s Security Studies. Yet, as if a pastoral, planetary coexistence were attainable, myriads of literary, cultural, and thought workers in earlier eras have already located it, not only in the aftermath of the violent or at its margins, but also, by turns, pressing up against the violent, eluding, or transforming it. Through reconsideration of two novels on either side of the previous century’s two World Wars—Olive Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm of 1883 and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart of 1958—this paper reflects, first, the recent rise in “weak theory” and, second, the current eco – critical turn in modernist studies to the planetary to reconstruct ordinary moments of the concomi­tance of millennial destruction with, variously, the pacific, pacifying, and peaceful.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

Article Details

Peace, Global Blues, and National Songs