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Artificial Islands: Adventures in the Dominions

Author/EditorHatherley, Owen (Author)
ISBN: 9781914420863
Pub Date09/08/2022
BindingPaperback
Pages345
EditionNew Ed
Dimensions (mm)197(h) * 130(w)
Should Britain form a new union with its old 'Dominions' in Canada, Australia and New Zealand? Are they really our closest allies and relations? And is there any reason why they should want to unite again with us?
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Great Britain has just left one Union, after years of bitter argument and divisive
posturing. But what if the island's future lies in another Union altogether, with some of
its former colonial "kith and kin" across the seas? Why be in a Union with your
immediate neighbours, when you could instead be in a trans-oceanic super-state with
our old friends in Canada, Australia and New Zealand? Welcome to the strange world of
the 'CANZUK Union', the name for a quixotic but apparently serious plan to reunify the
white-majority 'Dominions' of the British Empire under the flag of low taxes, strong
borders and climate change denialism.


Artificial Islands tests the idea that Britain's natural allies and closest relations are in
these three countries in North America and the Antipodes, through a good look at the
histories, townscapes and spaces of several cities across the settler zones of the British
Empire. These are some of the most purely artificial and modern landscapes in the
world, British-designed cities that were built with extreme rapidity in forcibly seized
territories on the other side of the world from Britain. Were these places really no more
than just a reproduction of British Values planted in unlikely corners of the globe? How
are people in Auckland, Melbourne, Montreal, Ottawa and Wellington re-imagining their
own history, or their countries' role in the British Empire and their complicity in its
crimes? And do they have any interest in a union with us?

Great Britain has just left one Union, after years of bitter argument and divisive
posturing. But what if the island's future lies in another Union altogether, with some of
its former colonial "kith and kin" across the seas? Why be in a Union with your
immediate neighbours, when you could instead be in a trans-oceanic super-state with
our old friends in Canada, Australia and New Zealand? Welcome to the strange world of
the 'CANZUK Union', the name for a quixotic but apparently serious plan to reunify the
white-majority 'Dominions' of the British Empire under the flag of low taxes, strong
borders and climate change denialism.


Artificial Islands tests the idea that Britain's natural allies and closest relations are in
these three countries in North America and the Antipodes, through a good look at the
histories, townscapes and spaces of several cities across the settler zones of the British
Empire. These are some of the most purely artificial and modern landscapes in the
world, British-designed cities that were built with extreme rapidity in forcibly seized
territories on the other side of the world from Britain. Were these places really no more
than just a reproduction of British Values planted in unlikely corners of the globe? How
are people in Auckland, Melbourne, Montreal, Ottawa and Wellington re-imagining their
own history, or their countries' role in the British Empire and their complicity in its
crimes? And do they have any interest in a union with us?

Owen Hatherley writes regularly on aesthetics and politics for, among others, the Architectural Review, the Calvert Journal, Dezeen, the Guardian, Jacobin, the London Review of Books and New Humanist. He is the author of several books, most recently Landscapes of Communism (Penguin 2015), The Ministry of Nostalgia (Verso, 2016) and The Chaplin Machine (Pluto, 2016), the last of which is based on a PhD thesis accepted by Birkbeck College in 2011. A book on European cities, Trans-Europe Express, will be published in 2018.

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