Christian Ayne Crouch

Christian Ayne Crouch

Biography

Associate Professor of Historical Studies and American Studies at Bard College
Queen Victoria's Captives
Hutchins Fellow
2016-2017 Academic Year

 
 
 
 

Christian Ayne Crouch is Associate Professor of Historical Studies and American Studies at Bard College. She is the author of Nobility Lost: French and Canadian Martial Cultures, Indians, and the End of New France (Cornell University Press 2014) which received the 2015 Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Prize of the French Colonial Historical Society for the best book in French colonial history, 1600-1815. A scholar of the Atlantic world, borderlands, and intercultural exchange, she is currently researching and writing Queen Victoria's Captives: A Story of Ambition, Empire, and a Stolen Ethiopian Prince, centered on Ethiopia's intersection with European and Ottoman imperial aspirations from the 1850s to the 1880s.

Project Description

Queen Victoria's Captives

Queen Victoria's Captives revolves around the history of the 1867-68 British military expedition to Ethiopia to rescue European hostages held by Emperor Tewodros. Widely publicized in its day, the Magdala Campaign "liberated" these Europeans and brought Tewodros' treasury and orphaned son Alemayu as spoils of war to England. Despite these triumphs, Ethiopia did not ally with a British sphere of influence. Rather Magdala put into motion unexpected actors and events that challenged both British government and the British public's orderings of the world. Using textual, oral, and visual archives, this book uncovers the story of the Magdala captives, both those freed and those made by the campaign, and the entangled, unfulfilled expectations of British and Ethiopian imperial ambitions. Prince Alemayu, for one, challenged British ideas of race and colonialism despite being a hostage by his presence as a royal ward (1868-1879) at the heart of Britain's empire. This work connects these past narratives to the present, showing the potent unresolved legacy of the campaign through Ethiopia's continuing demands for repatriation of national patrimony and current issues of public pressure on Western states' to liberate their hostage citizens and recognize state's roles in the growing crisis of forced migration.


2016-2017: Hutchins Fellow

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