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Roger Heacock

Abstract

Perceptions of people and events in Cyprus on the part of some of the formal and informal agents of the metropolis during the eighty-two years of British rule are the object of this paper, based on a close reading of a mix of historical records, official documents, newspaper reporting, literary accounts and autobiographies. A composite image of the country and its various linguistic groups emerges, as drawn by the scions of empire during their stay. Through the texts of officials and authors like Ronald Storrs and Lawrence Durrell, as well as articles in the Times of London and the framing and interpretation of census data, by way of examples, it will be seen to what degree a racialised discourse was present (as in the cases of colonial Algeria or mandatory Palestine), the ways in which it distinguished between Greeks and Turks, and how it evolved and declined over time, most notably with the approach of the island’s independence. A historicised colonial discursive model is proposed.

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Keywords

colonialism, imperial discourse, racialism, Cyprus, decolonisation

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