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This article seeks to intervene in the debate over the legacy of the British Empire, using the British Union of Fascists (BUF) as a case-study. It will argue that, during the interwar period, the BUF drew heavily on earlier constructions of racialized imperial masculinity in building their ‘new fascist man’. The BUF stand out in the period following the First World War, where hegemonic constructions of British masculinity were altogether more domesticated. At the same time, colonial policymakers were increasingly relying on concessions, rather than force, to outmanoeuvre nationalists out in the Empire. For the BUF, this all smacked of effeminacy and they responded with a ‘new man’ based on the masculine values of the idealized imperial frontier. By transplanting these values from colony to metropole, they hoped to achieve their fascist rebirth of Britain and its Empire. This article charts the BUF’s construction of this imperial ‘new fascist man’ out the legacy of earlier imperialists, the canon of stories of imperial heroism, and the gendered hierarchies of colonial racism.

Open Access
In: Fascism
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Abstract

The drive to decolonise is of central importance to the study of fascism, which after all was and remains a politics rooted in specific conceptions of colonialism and race. In this article, we have invited both leading academics and early career scholars to reflect on how we might ‘decolonise’ fascist studies. Their comments approach fascism in a range of contexts, and offer reflections on how to frame future research questions, approach methodological issues, and consider how fascism studies might develop a more overt and clear stance on the problems posed by decolonising the subject area more broadly. It is hoped that these commentaries will enrich the field of fascist studies and, in turn, do more to relate it to the work of scholars in other relevant areas of study, particularly those working on critical theories of race and racism. Contributors to this debate are: Leslie James, Raul Carstocea, Daniel Hedinger, Liam J. Liburd, Cathy Bergin, Benjamin Bland, Evan Smith, Jonathan Hyslop, Benjamin Zachariah, and Caroline Campbell.

Open Access
In: Fascism