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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Nov. 21: History Forum Lecture

Visiting instructor Justin Biel to discuss British "Imperial Interference."

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 11-13-2013

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato’s fall History Forum lecture will be presented by visiting speaker Justin Biel on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. in Armstrong Hall 211 on campus.

Biel’s presentation is titled “Naïve Mapmakers or Peculiar Secularists? The British and Empire by ‘Toleration’” in a lecture that is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public. Refreshments will be served following the presentation.

Biel will discuss in his lecture that wherever in the world the British were in charge of drawing the borders—whether Palestine, Sudan, Iraq or Kashmir—that the enduring legacy of British imperial interference has been religious and ethnic strife. His lecture will address what gave the British the misplaced confidence to carve out administrative territories in the way that they did.

Biel will also discuss in his lecture that by the later nineteenth century, the British had spent at least a century honing an arsenal of techniques in colonial governance that they grouped under the heading “toleration.” Thus, beyond simple nonchalance about it, Biel’s lecture will describe that the British may even have welcomed religious and ethnic plurality in the colonies they administered.

Biel is completing a doctorate degree in history at the University of Minnesota. His dissertation examines how the British sought to strengthen their authority over Irish and Indian affairs in the late 18th century by enacting what they called “religious toleration.” He is currently a visiting instructor in the history department at Minnesota State Mankato.

Those who want more information about the lecture may contact Tao Peng, Minnesota State Mankato associate professor, by phone at 507-389-1611 or by email at

The History Forum Lecture Series is an opportunity for faculty, students, staff and community members to learn about the latest historical research from local and regional scholars. Lectures are presented twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring.

Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of History is part of the University’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,409 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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