The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge
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AbstractThis study shows that debate over the relations among companies, states, and knowledge is not new, but rather was integral to the politics of the British East India Company. Reconstructing such debate among Company officials and critics from the 1770s to the 1830s, the study makes several further interventions. It argues against what has been perhaps the dominant narrative about Company and British-imperial ideology in this period, a narrative of reorientation from “Orientalist” to “Anglicist” cultural attitudes. It shows instead how the Company shifted from a commercial idiom of sovereignty, concerned with conciliating elites through scholarly patronage, to a territorial idiom, concerned with cultivating popular affection through state-sponsored education. Whereas the field of the history of knowledge has largely developed as a history of structures of knowledge, meanwhile, this study argues for a history of ideas of knowledge. Such an approach is needed to elucidate the category of knowledge and its discursive uses past and present.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:39947190
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