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Title: The evolution of British imperial perceptions in Ireland and India, c. 1650-1800
Author: Chartrand, Alix Geneviève
ISNI:       0000 0004 7661 0606
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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This dissertation explores the correlation between British colonial experiences in Ireland and India c. 1650 - 1800. While the traditional characterisation of Ireland as a settlement colony and India as primarily a mercantile colony would suggest diverse imperial encounters, a comparative analysis of the two shows significant similarities. Temporal and/or geographical distances notwithstanding, the study's thematic approach reveals recurring patterns regarding the relationships between colonisers and the colonised. The six chapters of this dissertation explore different elements of empire, concluding that comparable socio-political and agrarian principles were consistently implemented in both colonies. The first chapter explores history writing as a tool of historical appropriation and indigenous reconfiguration. The second looks at escalating legal responses to colonial violence and colonial jurisdiction's role in defining social norms; the third considers the evolving forms of punishment dealt to 'deviant' colonial subjects. The fourth chapter looks at similar processes of agrarian reconfiguration that revealed broader imperial attitudes towards landownership and the fifth one elaborates on the use of visual representations of empire as propaganda tools to shape public opinion. In the final chapter, selected experiences of the Irish in India illustrate examples of colonial subjects' collaboration in imperial expansion. By adopting a more heuristic and thematic approach to colonial experiences, this study adds to the growing literature that necessarily complicates the distinctions between metropole and periphery. It challenges the use of single points of reference which have routinely privileged the accounts and experiences of Britons in the scholarly analysis of cross-cultural and imperial interactions. Blending early modern and nineteenth-century experiences with regional and global history, the chapters address the history of emotions, law, material culture, economy, and politics to argue that processes of influence and transformation were indicative of a more layered and evolutionary development in response to colonial challenges. Such experimental approaches provide a more sustained understanding of the processes of continuity and change in Britain's imperial evolution.
Supervisor: Sivasundaram, Sujit Sponsor: Cambridge Commonwealth Trust ; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Comparative history ; Ireland ; India ; British Empire ; Connected history ; Global history ; Early modern period ; Eighteenth century