Timothy Parsons holds a joint appointment as an associate professor in the history department and the African and Afro-American Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of The African Rank-and-File: Social Implications of Colonial Military Service in the King's African Rifles, 1902-1964; The 1964 Army Mutinies and the Making of Modern East Africa, and The British Imperial Century, 1815-1914: A World History Perspective.
Conceived by General Sir Robert Baden-Powell as a way to reduce class tensions in Edwardian Britain, scouting evolved into an international youth movement. It offered a vision of romantic outdoor life as a cure for disruption caused by industrialization and urbanization. Scouting's global spread was due to its success in attaching itself to institutions of authority.