Lezing: Richard Bourke, “Enlightenment and the British Conquest of India: the Case of Edmund Burke” (Amsterdam, 8 november 2013)

Edmund BurkeOp 8 november 2013 zal Professor Richard Bourke (University of London) een lezing geven aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Bourke bereidt op dit ogenblik zijn boek Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke (Princeton University Press) voor, en zal in Amsterdam spreken  over “Enlightenment and the British Conquest of India: the Case of Edmund Burke”. Meer informatie vindt u onderaan dit bericht of op de website van het Huizinga Instituut.

De lezing wordt gesponsord door het Huizinga Instituut. Inschrijven kan via huizinga-fgw@uva.nl.

“Enlightenment and the British Conquest of India: The Case of Edmund Burke

Between 1757 and 1765 the power and authority of the British East India Company on the subcontinent was dramatically increased to the point where it became a territorial sovereign in addition to its traditional role of inter-continental merchant. The Company immediately encountered intricate problems of governance, above all in its attempt to collect revenue from its newly acquired subjects. The new status of the Company drew the attention of the British government to its activities in the late 1760s, with major legislation aimed at controlling its operation implemented in 1773. From that point on, the question of how best to administer these conquered territories repeatedly asserted itself in British public life. This gave rise, in turn, to a debate about the nature of Indian society, based on divergent interpretations of the history of Asian politics. These new interpretations revised older enlightenment conceptions of the nature of oriental despotism, many deriving from Jesuit travel literature, and more immediately from Montesquieu. A key contributor to these debates was the British publicist and parliamentarian, Edmund Burke, who, culminating in his impeachment of the first Governor General of India, Warren Hastings, developed a theory at once of the ancient Indian constitution and the form of rule introduced by the East India Company in the aftermath of the Seven Years’ War. This Lecture will combine an investigation of Burke’s and other contemporaries’ views with an account of the main outlines of British policy in the east between 1757 and 1784.

Richard Bourke is the professor of History of Political Thought at Queen Mary (University of London) as well as a co-editor of the distinguished Cambridge University Press series Ideas in Context.”

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