Commodities and Culture in the Colonial World: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Commodities and Culture in the Colonial World

1st Edition

Edited by Supriya Chaudhuri, Josephine McDonagh, Brian H. Murray, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan


228 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138214736
pub: 2017-08-30
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315111766
pub: 2017-09-05
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Commodity, culture and colonialism are intimately related and mutually constitutive. The desire for commodities drove colonial expansion at the same time that colonial expansion fuelled technological invention, created new markets for goods, displaced populations and transformed local and indigenous cultures in dramatic and often violent ways.

This book analyses the transformation of local cultures in the context of global interaction in the period 1851–1914. By focusing on episodes in the social and cultural lives of commodities, it explores some of the ways in which commodities shaped the colonial cultures of global modernity. Chapters by experts in the field examine the production, circulation, display and representation of commodities in various regional and national contexts, and draw on a range of theoretical and disciplinary approaches.

An integrated, coherent and urgent response to a number of key debates in postcolonial and Victorian studies, world literature and imperial history, this book will be of interest to researchers with interests in migration, commodity culture, colonial history and transnational networks of print and ideas.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Supriya Chaudhuri, Josephine McDonagh, Brian H. Murray and Rajeswari Sunder Rajan

Part 1: Making and Showing

1. Mughal Delhi on my lapel: The charmed life of the painted ivory miniature in Delhi, 1827–1880, Yuthika Sharma

2. Plates and Bangles: Early Recorded Music in India, Amlan Das Gupta

3. The Overland Mail: Moving Panoramas and the Imagining of Trade and Communication Networks, John Plunkett

4. Exhibiting India: Colonial Subjects, Imperial Objects, and the Life of Commodities, Supriya Chaudhuri

Part 2: Place and Environment

5. The Composition and Decomposition of Commodities: The Colonial Careers of Coal and Ivory, Stephen Muecke

6. Profaning Water: The Sacred and Its Others, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan

7. Settling the Land: the Village and the Threat of Capital in the Novel in Goa, Rochelle Pinto

Part 3: Labour and Migration

8. (Re)Moving Bodies: People, Ships and other Commodities in the Coolie Trade from Calcutta, Nilanjana Deb

9. Anxiety, Affect and Authenticity: The Commodification of Nineteenth-Century Emigrants’ Letters, Fariha Shaikh

10. Towards a Genealogy of the Village in the Nineteenth-Century British Colonial World: Mary Russell Mitford and Henry Sumner Maine, Josephine McDonagh

Part 4: Texts in Motion

11. Indigo and Print: the strange case of the 'Indigo-Planting Mirror' Abhijit Gupta

12. Al Jabr w’al Muqabila: H.S. Hall, Macmillan and the Coming Together of Things Far Apart, Rimi B. Chatterjee

13. Ulysses in Darkest Africa: Transporting Tennyson with H.M. Stanley and Edwin Arnold, Brian H. Murray

14. The Traffic in Representations: the case of Kipling's Kim, Isobel Armstrong

About the Editors

Supriya Chaudhuri is Professor Emerita in the Department of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

Josephine McDonagh is Professor in the Department of English at the University of Chicago.

Brian H. Murray is Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century English Literature at King’s College London.

Rajeswari Sunder Rajan is Global Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at New York University.

About the Series

Intersections: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories

This series is concerned with three kinds of intersections or conversations: first, across cultures and regions, an interaction that postcolonial studies have emphasized in their foregrounding of the multiple sites and multi-directional traffic involved in the making of the modern; second, across time, the conversation between a mutually constitutive past and present that occurs in different times and places; and third, between colonial and postcolonial histories, which as theoretical positions have very different perspectives on the first two ‘intersections’ and the questions of intellectual enquiry and expression implied in them. These three kinds of conversations are critical to the making of any present and any history. Thus the new series provides a forum for extending our understanding of core issues of Human society and its self-representation over the centuries.

While focusing on Asia, the series is open to studies of other parts of the world that are sensitive to cross-cultural, cross-chronological and cross-colonial perspectives. The series invites submissions for single-authored and edited books by young as well as established scholars that challenge the limits of inherited disciplinary, chronological and geographical boundaries, even when they focus on a single, well-recognized territory or period.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General