Gender, Morality, and Race in Company India, 1765-1858
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Between 1765 and 1858, British imperialists in India obsessed continuously about gaining and preserving Indian “opinion” of British moral and racial prestige. Weaving political, intellectual, cultural, and gender history together in an innovative approach, Gender, Morality, and Race in Company India, 1765-1858 examines imperial anxieties regarding British moral misconduct in India ranging from debt and gift giving to drunkenness and irreligion and points out their wider relationship to the structuring of British colonialism. Showing a pervasive fear among imperial elites of losing “mastery” over India, as well as a deep distrust of Indian civil and military subordinates through whom they ruled, Sramek demonstrates how much of the British Raj’s notable racial arrogance after 1858 can in fact be traced back into the preceding Company period of colonial rule. Rather than the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 ushering in a more racist form of colonialism, this book powerfully suggests far greater continuity between the two periods of colonial rule than scholars have hitherto generally recognized.