Studying imperialism at Sydney University, I originally feared, would be a sorry task in as much as the course would turn out to be simply an apologetic, left-wing take on “facts” and slaughtering of British history by someone spouting isolated scenarios, situations and events and rhetoric from an authoritative position. Why is that? Well, lets face it, every other subject, bar the sciences and maths (and even then I think they probably deal with negative numbers which are left of 0), are exactly like that. However, I now regret not having taken this course significantly earlier. And it’s because of one person: Prof. Bernard Porter. He is the “replacement” lecturer (though should, by far, be the permanent), shipped in from Sweden (I believe), originally hailing from Britain no less.
Anyone who may have an interest in the topic will know that Porter is the authoritative voice on British imperialism. And he is regarded as so because he comes off, in his writings and lectures, as a-political; that is to say he is neither defending nor trashing the process of imperialism, but simply presenting the facts, refraining from judgment and not skewing anything any direction for some hidden leftist, or rightist, agenda.
For anyone who hasn’t a clue about this topic, I’ll just say this: the man is cited in Wiki! You know you’re onto something, you know you’ve made it in life, you know you are set when you are referenced in the holy Wiki. But, my short-sightedness, he isn’t merely cited, no, his name is mentioned in article, complete with a proposed page! Oh the prestige!
The fact that he is my lecturer is probably of no mere interest to anyone, but, with the off chance that someone, somewhere, might have read his books, two of which, The Lion’s Share and Empire and Superempire: Britain, America and the World, now appear in my Favourite Books section of my profile (an achievement that may very well rival appearing in Wiki), or have had Porter for lectures himself: drop me a line.