Racial Ideologies and Imperial Discourses: A New Historicist Reading of Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”


  • Hossein Zamani Alavijeh Faculty of Literature and Humanities, English department, Kharazmi University, Iran




The White Man’s Burden, Kipling, New Historicism, Imperialism, Discourse, Racism, Colonization, White Man, Colour


Set against the backdrop of the 19th-century apex of European colonial expansion and formation of New Imperialism, Rudyard Kipling's "The White Man's Burden", composed in 1899, emerges as a cultural artefact reflecting and actively participating in the racial and imperialistic discourses prevalent during this epoch. Generally criticized for perpetuating a one-sided narrative, the poem ignores the violence, exploitation, and cultural disruption wrought by colonial powers and presents an idealized vision of the colonizers' mission without acknowledging the harsh realities faced by the colonized. The present article offers a comprehensive New Historicist examination of Kipling's iconic poem by contextualizing it within the racial and exceptionalist socio-political and pseudoscientific milieu of the late 19th century United Kingdom and the complex web of imperial ideologies prevalent in the Victorian era. By engaging critically with Kipling's poem, this study aims to give insights into the intersections between literature, power, and historical context and offer a nuanced understanding of the legacies of imperialistic ideologies and their implications for our present-day understanding of empire and race.




How to Cite

Zamani Alavijeh, H. . (2024). Racial Ideologies and Imperial Discourses: A New Historicist Reading of Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”. Journal of Critical Studies in Language and Literature, 5(3), 7-13. https://doi.org/10.46809/jcsll.v5i3.263




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