Edney’s Mapping an Empire provides rich insights into the role of the military in knowledge production and the transformative power of the colonial state.[11] Edney’s spatial history traces the British surveys of India from 1765 (when the Company became diwan of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa) and the Company state’s use of this cartographic knowledge to frame a new and increasingly coherent image of India. In part because of the consolidation of Mughal power over the bulk of the region, the British moved away from older conceptualizations of Asia inherited from Ptolemaic and Renaissance geography to view the whole ‘subcontinent’ as ‘India’. But, as Edney shows, this new image of India was only consolidated, elaborated, and endlessly reproduced with the rise of the Company as a territorial power. Maps produced by James Rennell and other military surveyors and Company
cartographers excised Southeast Asia, Afghanistan, and Central Asia to focus solely on ‘India’.

Edney suggests that with this shift in representational practice ‘Modern India was born’.[12] Moreover, in framing India’s ‘national boundaries’, this new cartographic conception both reflected and reinforced the Company’s ambitions to extend its power beyond coastal entrepots to operate throughout India. As the region was reframed, the Company worked hard to legitimate the superiority of European cartography: its ‘scientistic ideology’ simultaneously disputed the value of South Asian geographical knowledge and disseminated new European spatial and disciplinary models.

Thus, mapping was not only at the heart of the Company’s political and economic power in South Asia, but also was a crucial element in its drive to ‘rationalise’ and ‘modernise’ the ‘native mind’. [13]

-

11 Edney reminds us that ‘[m]ilitary reformers of the later 1700s positioned mapmaking at the core of “military science”.’ Matthew H. Edney, Mapping an empire: the geographical construction of British India, 1765-1843 (Chicago, 1997), 18. Also see Matthew H. Edney, ‘British military education, mapmaking, and military map mindedness in the later Enlightenment’, Cartographic Journal 31 (1994), 14-20.

12 Edney, Mapping an empire, 9.
13 Ibid., 309-18. 14

ARCHIVE, DISCIPLINE, STATE: POWER AND KNOWLEDGE IN SOUTH ASIAN HISTORIOGRAPHY. Tony Ballantyne. University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 3, 1 (June, 2001): 87-105. 

Two images of India that are recognisable to people today in both Britain and the USA are those of poverty and mystery. What ‘sells’ a country like India to the West, as seen in tourism advertisements for example, is its ‘exotic culture’ in the context of its economic poverty. In her exoticism and her misery, the ‘Indian woman’ has embodied the subcontinent itself: attracting and repelling at the same time, she is as absent in the construction of her image as India has been. As Said says: “in discussions of the orient, the orient is all absence, whereas one feels the orientalist and what he [sic] says as presence”. Said’s quote is significant because, as Billie Melman has shown, although he uses examples of the construction of women in literature as descriptive illustrations of orientalist discourses, he does not incorporate an analysis of gender into his conceptual approach. Liddle and Joshi, for example, show how gender formed one of the pillars on which imperialism was built, and that the divisions of gender mediated the structure of imperialism; and Sangari and Vaid demonstrate that both the coloniser and the colonised used the image of Indian women and the notion of Indian tradition in relation to gender to contain political and cultural change in both Britain and India. Although this orientalist discourse was largely constructed by men, Western women also contributed to it.

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Feminism, Imperialism and Orientalism: The Challenge of the ‘Indian Woman’

Ramusack identifies the approach of most Western feminists of the time as “maternal imperialists”, including those who supported Indian nationalism but still believed that the colonial government improved the condition of women. As Jayawardena makes clear, they saw Indian women as their special burden, and saw themselves as the agents of progress and civilisation. The subject Indian woman in a decaying colonised society was the model of everything they were struggling against and was thus the measure of Western feminists’ own progress. British feminists saw Britain as the centre of both democracy and feminism, and when they claimed political rights they also claimed the right to participate in the empire, seeing female influence as crucial for the empire’s preservation. They sought power for themselves in the imperial project, and used the opportunities and privileges of empire as a means of resisting patriarchal constraints and creating their own independence.

The truth.

(via mehreenkasana)

(via fascinasians)

deafmuslimpunx:

Indian author Pankaj Mishra. (Photo: V. Ganesa) (source: The Hindu)
^ I gotta have a copy of this new book.

 The book is about a fascinating period in Asian history, the 19th and early 20th centuries when men and women were formulating a response to that very aggressive presence in their lives: Western colonialism and imperialism. They are fairly obscure figures, not men valorised in history text books such as Gandhi, Nehru or Mao Zedong. Men like Jamal al-Afghani and Liang Qichao and there are reasons why they are not as famous as the men they inspired later. “They are not known much,” Pankaj says, “because they don’t belong to the kind of triumphalist nationalist narratives, both of the West and the East. The histories we are told are nationalist histories and they talk about the emergence of the nation state from Western imperialism and they talk of the generation that led that struggle and the mass movements and then assumed power when the Europeans left. But these were the first generation and because they incarnated so many political ideas and tendencies, they almost seem like, in retrospect, confused or incoherent figures as opposed to the people like Mao Zedong who came later.”
Why the choice of these men to tell the story of Asia’s response to colonialism? Because, sometimes marginal figures tell you more about historical moments and their societies. When one reads about the histories of Egypt or China in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, he says, one keeps coming across references to these men. Both were born in traditional Asian families but were curious about the politics and ideologies of their time and were great travellers. But one never gets to know more. Who exactly are they as persons, politically, intellectually, what was the larger shape and trajectories of their lives? One never got a sense of what their journeys were. But there were connections between them. Liang Qichao admired Tagore who himself had travelled to Cairo to meet one of al-Afghani’s disciples and “suddenly as I read more widely, this world of Asia began to emerge more systematic than before in its response to the West.”

deafmuslimpunx:

Indian author Pankaj Mishra. (Photo: V. Ganesa) (source: The Hindu)

^ I gotta have a copy of this new book.

The book is about a fascinating period in Asian history, the 19th and early 20th centuries when men and women were formulating a response to that very aggressive presence in their lives: Western colonialism and imperialism. They are fairly obscure figures, not men valorised in history text books such as Gandhi, Nehru or Mao Zedong. Men like Jamal al-Afghani and Liang Qichao and there are reasons why they are not as famous as the men they inspired later. “They are not known much,” Pankaj says, “because they don’t belong to the kind of triumphalist nationalist narratives, both of the West and the East. The histories we are told are nationalist histories and they talk about the emergence of the nation state from Western imperialism and they talk of the generation that led that struggle and the mass movements and then assumed power when the Europeans left. But these were the first generation and because they incarnated so many political ideas and tendencies, they almost seem like, in retrospect, confused or incoherent figures as opposed to the people like Mao Zedong who came later.”

Why the choice of these men to tell the story of Asia’s response to colonialism? Because, sometimes marginal figures tell you more about historical moments and their societies. When one reads about the histories of Egypt or China in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, he says, one keeps coming across references to these men. Both were born in traditional Asian families but were curious about the politics and ideologies of their time and were great travellers. But one never gets to know more. Who exactly are they as persons, politically, intellectually, what was the larger shape and trajectories of their lives? One never got a sense of what their journeys were. But there were connections between them. Liang Qichao admired Tagore who himself had travelled to Cairo to meet one of al-Afghani’s disciples and “suddenly as I read more widely, this world of Asia began to emerge more systematic than before in its response to the West.”

(Source: badass-bharat-deafmuslim-artista, via fuckyeahsouthasia)

Historian William Blum recently documented that, since 1945, the US has attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, has grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries and has dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 others.

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Passage to Ecuador: Chomsky, Assange, sham justice, sham democracies. (via London Progressive Journal)

Iraq has been torn to pieces by sectarianism since the US invasion and occupation, Libya is in turmoil in the aftermath of NATO intervention, Pakistan is being destabilised and a proxy war is being stoked by the US and its allies in Syria.

Filed under: Not surprised.

(via mehreenkasana)
vnpropaganda:

“Colonialists, International Traitors, Think Carefully Before You Take Vietnam”
Vietnamese Propaganda Art
vnpropaganda.com

vnpropaganda:

“Colonialists, International Traitors, Think Carefully Before You Take Vietnam”

Vietnamese Propaganda Art

vnpropaganda.com

darlingtonia-californica:

Qiying (耆英) was the Qing Dynasty statesman who negotiated with the foreign powers at the close of both Opium Wars.  In 1842, he negotiated the Treaty of Nanking with Britain, which
opened five trade ports where the British could trade freely, as opposed to the previous system where strict Chinese regulations forced foreign merchants to trade only with approved middlemen at Guangzhou (Canton) and only in silver, giving China massive economic advantage;
ceded Hong Kong as a colony to the empire; and
forced the Qing government to pay an indemnity of twenty-one million silver dollars to Great Britain, which included the cost of the illegal opium Lin Zexu (林则徐) had confiscated from British smugglers.
This treaty was followed by the Treaty of Whampoa with the French (1844), the Treaty of Wanghia with the United States (1844), and the Treaty of Canton with Sweden-Norway (1847).  These were the first of the agreements now known as the Unequal Treaties (不平等條約).  Signed after a military defeat or with the threat of military action, the treaties compromised onto the sovereignty of East Asian nations to favor European and U.S. (and later, Japanese) imperialist business interests.  These and later treaties transformed China into a semi-colonial state
The negotiations of new treaties at the conclusion of the Second Opium War, which would gave the British Empire further rights over the Chinese, was to be headed by Qiying again in 1858.  But he was humiliated by the British interpreters, who revealed documents they had captured during the attack on Guangzhou where Qiying expressed contempt for the British.  He left negotiations for Beijing, but was arrested for abandoning his imperial post.  He was sentenced to death but was allowed to commit suicide instead.

darlingtonia-californica:

Qiying (耆英) was the Qing Dynasty statesman who negotiated with the foreign powers at the close of both Opium Wars.  In 1842, he negotiated the Treaty of Nanking with Britain, which

  1. opened five trade ports where the British could trade freely, as opposed to the previous system where strict Chinese regulations forced foreign merchants to trade only with approved middlemen at Guangzhou (Canton) and only in silver, giving China massive economic advantage;
  2. ceded Hong Kong as a colony to the empire; and
  3. forced the Qing government to pay an indemnity of twenty-one million silver dollars to Great Britain, which included the cost of the illegal opium Lin Zexu (林则徐) had confiscated from British smugglers.

This treaty was followed by the Treaty of Whampoa with the French (1844), the Treaty of Wanghia with the United States (1844), and the Treaty of Canton with Sweden-Norway (1847).  These were the first of the agreements now known as the Unequal Treaties (不平等條約).  Signed after a military defeat or with the threat of military action, the treaties compromised onto the sovereignty of East Asian nations to favor European and U.S. (and later, Japanese) imperialist business interests.  These and later treaties transformed China into a semi-colonial state

The negotiations of new treaties at the conclusion of the Second Opium War, which would gave the British Empire further rights over the Chinese, was to be headed by Qiying again in 1858.  But he was humiliated by the British interpreters, who revealed documents they had captured during the attack on Guangzhou where Qiying expressed contempt for the British.  He left negotiations for Beijing, but was arrested for abandoning his imperial post.  He was sentenced to death but was allowed to commit suicide instead.

(Source: optimistic-red-velvet-walrus)

Against the British Empire

mehreenkasana:

afraid-to-run asked: can you please recommend good books to recommend to ignorant english folk about the british empire in all it’s disgusting glory?

My answer:

Good question. I can speak from the South Asian experience of it; the Subcontinent - present day India, Pakistan, and to an extent Afghanistan. Before getting in the books I’d recommend, you should tell those who support British imperialism that life back then wasn’t as glorious as historians make it look like. With the basics:

  • Indian economy was the second largest economy in the world until the British came. During British rule (1857 to 1947) Indian economy grew at zero percent. That India did not grow for 90 years (when Industrial revolution was rewarding Europe and the US) is a tragic outcome of colonial rule’s lack of interest and incompetence. Credit goes to laissez faire capitalism pursued by India after 1992 and American capital market’s confidence and investments in India for India’s emergence as the second fastest growing economy in the world today. 
  • The subcontinent suffered too many famines during the British rule mostly attributable to mismanagement by the Empire.
  • The British Empire encouraged biased stratification in the subcontinental societies based on caste, color and creed. This continues to exist in modern day South Asia where social markers like these control the fates of many.
  • Many pro-Empire theorists argue that the British built modern cities with modern conveniences but it should be noted that these were exclusive zones not intended for the “natives” to enjoy.
  • There is another popular belief about British rule: ‘The British modernized Indian agriculture by building canals.’ But the actual record reveals a completely different story. “The roads and tanks and canals,” noted an observer in G. Thompson’s “India and the Colonies”, ”which Hindu or Mussulman (Muslim) governments constructed for the service of the nations and the good of the country have been suffered to fall into dilapidation; and now the want of the means of irrigation causes famines.” Montgomery Martin, in his standard work “The Indian Empire”, in 1858, noted that the old East India Company “omitted not only to initiate improvements, but even to keep in repair the old works upon which the revenue depended.” They screwed the natives over again.
  • In the early 1800s imports of Indian cotton and silk goods faced duties of 70-80%. British imports faced duties of 2-4%! As a result, British imports of cotton manufactures into India increased by a factor of 50, and Indian exports dropped to one-fourth. A similiar trend was noted in silk goods, woollens, iron, pottery, glassware and paper. As a result, millions of ruined artisans and craftsmen, spinners, weavers, potters, smelters and smiths were rendered jobless and had to become landless agricultural workers. They screwed us over again.
  • Reactionary borders.
  • And many other reasons why you should logic-slap those who support Empire(s).

The books I would suggest are: M. M. Ahluwalia’s Freedom Struggle in India. Shah, Khambata’s The Wealth and Taxable Capacity of India. G. Emerson’s Voiceless India.Brooks Adams’s The Law of Civilization and Decline. J. R. Seeley’s, Expansion of England. H. H. Wilson, History of British India. D. H Buchanan’s Development of Capitalist Enterprise in India.

Slightly unrelated but you should Gender and Community Under British Colonialism: Emotion, Struggle and Politics in a Chinese Village by Siu Keung Cheung as well. Hope this helps.

(via fuckyeahsouthasia)


A shocked mandarin in Manchu robe in the back, with Queen Victoria (UK),William II (Germany), Nicholas II (Russia), Marianne (France), and a samurai (Japan) cutting up a king cake with Chine (“China” in French) written on it. French Political Cartoon on Imperialism.

The phrase "sick man of Asia" or "sick man of East Asia" originally referred to China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it was riven by internal divisions and forced by the great powers into a series ofUnequal Treaties, culminating in the Japanese invasion of China during World War II. The phrase was intended as a parallel to “sick man of Europe”, referring to the weakening Ottoman Empire during the same period. 
Early in the 19th century, serious internal weaknesses developed in the Qing dynasty, greatly exacerbated and taken advantage of by Western powers. These intentionally opened China up to Western, Japanese, and Russian imperialism. In 1839, upon a flimsy British pretense, China found itself fighting the First Opium War with Britain. China was defeated, and in 1842, agreed to the humiliating provisions of the Treaty of Nanjing. Hong Kong Island was ceded to Britain, and certain ports, including Shanghai and Guangzhou, were opened to British trade and residence. Britain’s demands included most-favored nation status. In 1856, the Second Opium War broke out. The Chinese were again defeated, and now forced to the terms of the 1858 Treaty of Tientsin. The treaty opened new ports to trade and allowed foreigners to travel in the interior. Christians gained the right to propagate their religion—another means of Western penetration. The United States and Russia later obtained the same prerogatives in separate treaties.
Toward the end of the 19th century, China appeared on the way to territorial dismemberment and economic vassalage—the fate of India’s rulers that played out much earlier. Several provisions of these treaties caused long-standing bitterness and humiliation among the Chinese: extraterritoriality (meaning that in a dispute with a Chinese person, a Westerner had the right to be tried in a court under the laws of his own country), customs regulation, and the right to station foreign warships in Chinese waters.
— Wikipedia

A shocked mandarin in Manchu robe in the back, with Queen Victoria (UK),William II (Germany), Nicholas II (Russia), Marianne (France), and a samurai (Japan) cutting up a king cake with Chine (“China” in French) written on it. French Political Cartoon on Imperialism.

The phrase "sick man of Asia" or "sick man of East Asia" originally referred to China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it was riven by internal divisions and forced by the great powers into a series ofUnequal Treaties, culminating in the Japanese invasion of China during World War II. The phrase was intended as a parallel to “sick man of Europe”, referring to the weakening Ottoman Empire during the same period. 

Early in the 19th century, serious internal weaknesses developed in the Qing dynasty, greatly exacerbated and taken advantage of by Western powers. These intentionally opened China up to Western, Japanese, and Russian imperialism. In 1839, upon a flimsy British pretense, China found itself fighting the First Opium War with Britain. China was defeated, and in 1842, agreed to the humiliating provisions of the Treaty of NanjingHong Kong Island was ceded to Britain, and certain ports, including Shanghai and Guangzhou, were opened to British trade and residence. Britain’s demands included most-favored nation status. In 1856, the Second Opium War broke out. The Chinese were again defeated, and now forced to the terms of the 1858 Treaty of Tientsin. The treaty opened new ports to trade and allowed foreigners to travel in the interior. Christians gained the right to propagate their religion—another means of Western penetration. The United States and Russia later obtained the same prerogatives in separate treaties.

Toward the end of the 19th century, China appeared on the way to territorial dismemberment and economic vassalage—the fate of India’s rulers that played out much earlier. Several provisions of these treaties caused long-standing bitterness and humiliation among the Chinese: extraterritoriality (meaning that in a dispute with a Chinese person, a Westerner had the right to be tried in a court under the laws of his own country), customs regulation, and the right to station foreign warships in Chinese waters.

— Wikipedia

Made rebloggable by multiple requests.

Made rebloggable by multiple requests.