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The Scandal of Empire: India and the Creation of Imperial Britain


The Scandal of Empire: India and the Creation of Imperial Britain Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Many have told of the East India Company’s extraordinary excesses in eighteenth-century India, of the plunder that made its directors fabulously wealthy and able to buy British land and titles, but this is only a fraction of the story. When one of these men—Warren Hastings—was put on trial by Edmund Burke, it brought the Company’s exploits to the attention of the public. Through the trial and after, the British government transformed public understanding of the Company’s corrupt actions by creating an image of a vulnerable India that needed British assistance. Intrusive behavior was recast as a civilizing mission. In this fascinating, and devastating, account of the scandal that laid the foundation of the British Empire, Nicholas Dirks explains how this substitution of imperial authority for Company rule helped erase the dirty origins of empire and justify the British presence in India.

The Scandal of Empire reveals that the conquests and exploitations of the East India Company were critical to England’s development in the eighteenth century and beyond. We see how mercantile trade was inextricably linked with imperial venture and scandalous excess and how these three things provided the ideological basis for far-flung British expansion. In this powerfully written and trenchant critique, Dirks shows how the empire projected its own scandalous behavior onto India itself. By returning to the moment when the scandal of empire became acceptable we gain a new understanding of the modern culture of the colonizer and the colonized and the manifold implications for Britain, India, and the world.

About the Author

Nicholas B. Dirks is the Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and History, and Vice President for Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Faculty, at Columbia University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Map of India, 1792


1. Scandal

2. Corruption

3. Spectacle

4. Economy

5. Sovereignty

6. State

7. History

8. Tradition

9. Empire


Illustration Credits


Product Details

India and the Creation of Imperial Britain
Belknap Press
Dirks, Nicholas B.
Great britain
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
9 halftones, 1 map, , scattered
8.25 x 5.50 in

Related Subjects

Business » History and Biographies
History and Social Science » Asia » India » Ancient and General
History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » General History
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » Colonial America
History and Social Science » World History » Asia » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General

The Scandal of Empire: India and the Creation of Imperial Britain
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Product details 416 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674034266 Reviews:
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