South Asia Brown Bag Series: Imperial Native Policies in Global Context: Reframing the Transformation of Company Rule in Bengal, 1757-1773

Event time: 
Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 4:30pm to 6:30pm
Luce Hall (LUCE), Room 202 See map
34 Hillhouse Ave.
New Haven, CT 06511
(Location is wheelchair accessible)
Event description: 

Between 1757 and 1765, the British East India Company forever transformed the scope and nature of its operations in Bengal. Previously, the Company had projected Britain’s commercial presence into this region by allying with Mughal nawabs and exchanging terms for concessions on the ground. From mid-century, the EIC de-centered negotiation as its primary form of engagement with this region’s indigenous leadership and replaced it with more economically and militarily interventionist modes of territorial empire. Yet if the transformation of Company rule in Bengal has received extensive scholarly attention, very few scholars have ever examined its linkages to two comparable imperial transformations taking place concurrently: the suppression of semi-sovereign Highland Scottish chiefdoms after 1746, and the reorganization of North American Indian affairs after 1748. This paper advances a new interpretive lens to suggest that the cataclysmic changes facing native communities of Scotland, North America, and Bengal were in fact linked – linked not just by measures and men, but also by the personal, institutional, and ideological networks that tethered these individuals within the British imperial system as a whole. By centering the leading metropolitan policymakers who originated these new visions for native governance, and by highlighting the similar ways in which they mobilized formal state structures, institutions, and governing boards to authorize and disseminate these evolving modes of rule, this paper offers a re-examination of linking imperial contexts to tell a new, more interconnected story about the changing relationship between indigenous polities and the eighteenth-century British state.

Open to: 
Yale Community Only