This study investigates the contribution made by outsiders in accumulating knowledge from the days of the East India Company until the early twentieth century, when photography became an important tool for recording information. It focuses on heterogeneous voices on the periphery, who interacted with the indigenous population to produce knowledge in original or unexpected ways that extended beyond the limits prescribed by the term ‘colonial.’ Largely unrecognized today, their endeavors to satisfy their own intellectual curiosity, or improve their material circumstances, produced a perspective on colonial life that stripped away conventions; where their ordinary everyday experiences sometimes became extraordinary, as they forged new networks throughout the subcontinent and beyond its frontiers. Their journeys and experiences offer a discursive historical construct as significant as official reports, censuses, and surveys, and contribute towards our understanding of the diverse creative processes through which intellectual histories of the colonial state were constructed.
Carol Ann Boshier is Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Her research focuses on the constraints and possibilities offered by social and intellectual exchanges between colonized and colonizing elites. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize.
Chapter 1: Spheres of Knowledge
Chapter 2: Indigenous Informants and Go-Betweens
Chapter 3: The Botanical Surveys of Francis Buchanan-Hamilton
Chapter 4: Francis Whyte Ellis: ‘A Nearly Perfect Embodiment of Orientalism as Colonial Policy’
Chapter 5: ‘The White Pundit’: William Johnson and the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India
Chapter 6: Dr Clement Williams: A British Merchant at the Court of King Mindon
Chapter 7: William Marshman Bailey: ‘The Right Sort’ of Political Officer and Collector
Chapter 8: J. P. Mills ICS: Collecting and Photographing the Naga Peoples of Northeast Burma
Chapter 9: The Last Word from the Women of the Empire
This excellent volume is a good reminder that many who served in the empire came to love and admire the Indic and Burmese cultures and made major contributions to knowledge…. Recommended. General readers and advanced undergraduates through faculty.