USM Open Source History Text: The World at War: World History 1914-1945

Bible as Gold

This painting acts as a response or companion piece to the Roma's "The East Offering its Riches to Britannia." Here, Queen Victoria is giving back what is supposed to represent Britain's "greatness." It is a bible. The implications here is important: Britain does not need to engage in direct economic exchange with colonial peoples. These people benefit by accepting the "gift" of British civilization. They are "uplifted" by British culture, which is seen as inherently culturally, intellectually, and morally superior. This is the ideology of the "civilizing process," a powerful screen for economic and social exploitation and violence.

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