Interpreting Colonialism

BookInterpreting Colonialism

Interpreting Colonialism

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2004:09


September 21st, 2004

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This volume has its origins in an international seminar where eighteen scholars representing a number of academic fields were invited to consider the eighteenth-century colonial enterprise from a more global and interdisciplinary perspective. Among the issues that arose then, and that are more fully elaborated here, are: the nature and goals of the many colonial expeditions that were undertaken at the time; the manners and means in which these were carried out; the differences between them; and the similarities that they shared. Relying on a variety of sources that include historical archives, literary texts, travel journals, visual and material artefacts and critical studies, the authors explore eighteenth-century colonialism as it was practised and manifested around the world: Europe, Africa, the Americas, the South Pacific, and Asia. What emerges from their essays is the image of a Eurocentric practice with global implications whose themes, despite the diversity existing among the preponderant colonial powers, were oft repeated.
As a result, the essays presented here are grouped into four sub-headings – Representations, Mercantilism, Religion and ideology, and Slavery – each of which is integral to an understanding of colonial and post-colonial theories and of their respective consequences and interpretations. The motives of colonisers, as well as their critics, were both multiple and shared during the eighteenth century. These engendered complex sets of arguments – philosophical, political, economic, and social – which the contributors to this volume examine in detail in such disparate geo-political areas as Mexico and Thailand, Senegal and China.

'The voyage across methodologies, histories, lands, and cultures will be as eye-opening yet bumpy as any such excursion around the colonial world must be. [...] Among the many virtues of the contributions is that they move well beyond schematic depictions of colonial power, taking various approaches to the dynamics of colonial relations and examining the agency, and even at times the complicity, of colonialized subjects. [...] Taken as a whole, the impressive undertaking may be considered under the rubric of “critical global studies”, as Felicity Nussbaum calls the project informing The Global Eighteenth Century (2003), a collection to which Interpreting Colonialism provides a welcome and worthy complement.'
Eighteenth-Century Fiction

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half Title2
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
I. Representations14
L’image de l’Autre dans le Journal de voyage de Robert Challe16
Prolégomènes à un anti-colonialisme futur: Histoire des deux Indes et Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville de Diderot29
The travelling portrait: women and representation in eighteenth-century Senegal46
Tahiti, 1767-1777: the view from the shore80
Lost history: 18th-century European travel literature and the writing of the Thai past of the Ayudhyan period (1350-1767)103
II. Mercantilism124
From kingdoms to colonies: the enlightened idea of America in Charles III’s Spain126
Mules for the Indians: coerced consumption and domestic market in late colonial Spanish South America138
Debating England’s African trade: mercantilism, free trade, and the world’s commodities at Cape Coast Castle, 1730-1780152
Narrating the Far East: commerce, civility, and ceremony in the Amherst Embassy to China, 1816-1817173
The power to lend money without extracting interest: renegade capitalism in late eighteenth-century British India194
III. Religion and ideology220
Colonial evangelisation and native resistance: the interplay of native political autonomy and ritual practices in Villa Alta (New Spain), 1700-1704222
Casta as culture and the sociedad de castas as literature244
Material bodies, spiritual worlds: ideologies of the occult and regimes of discipline in the colonial French Caribbean273
Encounters in sixteenth-century Europe: Jews, black slaves and despots in William Godwin’s Travels of St Leon297
IV. Slavery314
Sugar, colonialism and the critique of slavery: Thomas Tryon in Barbados316
Tropes and chains: figures of exchange in eighteenth-century depictions of the slave trade335
The arts of abolition: race, representation, and British colonialism, 1768-1807358
Privileged dependency on the edge of the Atlantic world: Africans and Germans in the eighteenth century382
List of works cited406