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A pre-existing population of proud indigenous people are forced out of their homelands. Then they are materially, culturally and spiritually disenfranchised by a financially mighty imperial state. Their impoverishment is justified to them, and to the outside world, as being necessary for ‘progress’. All of this takes place in East Anglia, an often forgotten area of eastern England.
An innovative new take on the drainage of the Fens, framed in the language of colonialism, Imperial Mud upends the classical narrative of this being a triumph of technology over nature. The final destruction of England’s last lowland wilderness and the dispossession of its custodians was not a consequence of ‘progress’, but of the growing power of a centralised and militarised state.
Imperial Mud reimagines not just the history of the Fens, but the history (and identity) of the English people. And in reimagining the past, it invents a new future.