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Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1177/0019464616662143

Exchanging words and things: Vernacularisation of political economy in nineteenth-century Bengal

24 Nov 2016-Indian Economic and Social History Review (SAGE Publications)-Vol. 53, Iss: 4, pp 501-531
Abstract: There have been quite a few significant studies on the relationship between political economy as a discipline and the modes of colonial governmentality in India, emphasising the contradictions that were perceived to exist between the universality of the discipline and the irreducible concreteness of local conditions. In this article, I shall try to argue that a nuanced study of these contradictions would require exploring the modalities of vernacularisation of the economic discipline in the colony. The central focus of this article will be at three Bengali textbooks of political economy, mostly inspired by the famous Irish educationist Richard Whately’s textbook for children. A close reading of these books will demonstrate how a modality of translation was operative in the second half of the nineteenth century where the equivalence between ‘illustrations’ from the original and translated texts produced curious displacements and defined the vernacular domain on the basis of an exchange-based sociality grou... more


Book ChapterDOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511563195.010
01 Jan 1978-
Abstract: Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2. Economic ideas and British policy towards India 3. Economic ideas and famine policy 4. Economic ideas and economic relations 5. Economic ideas and land taxation 6. Economic ideas and taxation policies 7. Political economy and a policy of economic development 8. The state and the policy for economic development 9. Conclusion Select bibliography Index. more

3 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.4000/CHS.2135
Abstract: The article seeks to problematize the relationship between law and medicine by studying the tensions which accompanied the emergence of medical jurisprudence in British India during the second half of the nineteenth century. In a context of British government apprehension as to the legality of its rule in India, the article focusses on official concerns about the unmonitored circulation of toxic substances, particularly arsenic, which culminated in the Poisons Act (1904). The article investigates the role of toxic substances in historical narratives of expertise, and also traces the emergence of the idea of an autonomous native society in colonial and medical/forensic discourse, locating its articulation in exchanges between British and native salaried experts. more

Topics: Principle of legality (50%)

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.4000/OECONOMIA.6828
01 Sep 2019-
Abstract: The end of the nineteenth century witnessed the emergence of the idea of Indian Economics, which its proponents hoped would address the issue of the scientific method of studying the Indian economy, and help in laying out a path for economic development. Some of the best sources to study these views are textbooks written as introductions to Indian Economics during the early-twentieth century. This paper will explore the manner in which the textbooks dealt with these issues. more


BookDOI: 10.1515/9780691201429
Abstract: Preface and AcknowledgmentsCh. 1Whose Imagined Community?3Ch. 2The Colonial State14Ch. 3The Nationalist Elite35Ch. 4The Nation and Its Pasts76Ch. 5Histories and Nations95Ch. 6The Nation and Its Women116Ch. 7Women and the Nation135Ch. 8The Nation and Its Peasants158Ch. 9The Nation and Its Outcasts173Ch. 10The National State200Ch. 11Communities and the Nation220Notes241Bibliography263Index273 more

Topics: Nationalism (56%), Colonialism (54%)

2,786 Citations

Open accessBook
01 Jan 1963-
Abstract: "A Rule of Property for Bengal" is a classic work on the history of colonial India. First published in 1963, and long unavailable in this country, it is an essential text in the areas of colonial and postcolonial studies. In this book, Ranajit Guha examines the British establishment of the Permanent Settlement of Bengal the first major administrative intervention by the British in the region and an effort to impose a western notion of private property on the Bengal countryside. Guha s study of the intellectual origins, goals, and implementation of this policy provides an in-depth view of the dynamics of colonialism and reflects on the lasting effect of that dynamic following the formal termination of colonial rule.By proclaiming the Permanent Settlement in 1793, the British hoped to promote a prosperous capitalist agriculture of the kind that had developed in England. The act renounced for all time the state s right to raise the assessment already made upon landowners and thus sought to establish a system of property that was, in the British view, necessary for the creation of a stable government. Guha traces the origins of the Permanent Settlement to the anti-feudal ideas of Phillip Francis and the critique of feudalism provided by physiocratic thought, the precursor of political economy. The central question the book asks is how the Permanent Settlement, founded in anti-feudalism and grafted onto India by the most advanced capitalist power of the day became instrumental in the development of a neo-feudal organization of landed property and in the absorption and reproduction of precapitalist elements in a colonial regime.Guha s examination of the British attempt to mold Bengal to the contours of its own society without an understanding of the traditions and obligations upon which the Indian agrarian system was based is a truly pioneering work. The implications of "A Rule of Property for Bengal" remain rich for the current discussions from the postcolonialist perspective on the meaning of modernity and enlightenment." more

Topics: Permanent Settlement (59%), Private property (55%), BENGAL (54%) more

216 Citations

BookDOI: 10.1215/9780822381129
29 Dec 1999-
Abstract: The problem of translation has become increasingly central to critical reflections on modernity and its universalizing processes. Approaching translation as a symbolic and material exchange among peoples and civilizations—and not as a purely linguistic or literary matter, the essays in Tokens of Exchange focus on China and its interactions with the West to historicize an economy of translation. Rejecting the familiar regional approach to non-Western societies, contributors contend that “national histories” and “world history” must be read with absolute attention to the types of epistemological translatability that have been constructed among the various languages and cultures in modern times. By studying the production and circulation of meaning as value in areas including history, religion, language, law, visual art, music, and pedagogy, essays consider exchanges between Jesuit and Protestant missionaries and the Chinese between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries and focus on the interchanges occasioned by the spread of capitalism and imperialism. Concentrating on ideological reciprocity and nonreciprocity in science, medicine, and cultural pathologies, contributors also posit that such exchanges often lead to racialized and essentialized ideas about culture, sexuality, and nation. The collection turns to the role of language itself as a site of the universalization of knowledge in its contemplation of such processes as the invention of Basic English and the global teaching of the English language. By focusing on the moments wherein meaning-value is exchanged in the translation from one language to another, the essays highlight the circulation of the global in the local as they address the role played by historical translation in the universalizing processes of modernity and globalization. The collection will engage students and scholars of global cultural processes, Chinese studies, world history, literary studies, history of science, and anthropology, as well as cultural and postcolonial studies. Contributors . Jianhua Chen, Nancy Chen, Alexis Dudden Eastwood, Roger Hart, Larissa Heinrich, James Hevia, Andrew F. Jones, Wan Shun Eva Lam, Lydia H. Liu, Deborah T. L. Sang, Haun Saussy, Q. S. Tong, Qiong Zhang more

Topics: Modernity (53%), Literary criticism (53%), World history (52%) more

215 Citations

Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1080/01434630208666469
Abstract: This paper examines a crucial episode in the history of language policy in British colonial education: the Orientalist–Anglicist controversy of the 1830s over the content and medium of government education in India. The bitter dispute over colonial language-in-education policy during this period raised fundamental questions about the roles and status of the English language and the Indian vernacular and classical languages in the diffusion of Western knowledge and ideas on the subcontinent. At the heart of many accounts of the controversy, not least those of a polemical nature, is Thomas Babington Macaulay's famous Minute of 1835, which advocated the creation of a class of anglicised Indians who would serve as cultural intermediaries between the British and their Indian subjects. This paper reassesses Macaulay's influence on British language policy in 19th century India. It begins by examining the background to the Orientalist–Anglicist dispute in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and then moves on ... more

Topics: Language policy (54%), Modern language (53%), Colonialism (52%) more

90 Citations

Open accessBook
01 Jan 1978-
Abstract: This book examines the effect of Classical political economy — the economic and monetary writings of Adam Smith, Ricardo, Malthus, the Mills and others — on the policy-making of the British government in India in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Professor Ambirajan shows how the economic doctrines of laissez-faire individualism and the freedom of market forces were instilled into the British administrative class. The East India Company's college at Haileybury was the most obvious agent but it is clear that a whole nexus of taught and unconscious attitudes predisposed the administrators to accept the ideas and ideologies of the economists. more

Topics: Ideology (53%), Individualism (52%)

75 Citations

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