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Unearthing the Past to Forge the Future

Colin Mackenzie, the Early Colonial State, and the Comprehensive Survey of India

Tobias Wolffhardt

454 pages, 6 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-689-8 $140.00/£100.00 Hb Not Yet Published (October 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-690-4 eBook Not Yet Published

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For much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the British East India Company consolidated its rule over India, evolving from a trading venture to a colonial administrative force. Yet its territorial gains far outpaced its understanding of the region and the people who lived there, and its desperate efforts to gain knowledge of the area led to the 1815 appointment of army officer Colin Mackenzie as the first Surveyor General of India. This volume carefully reconstructs the life and career of Mackenzie, showing how the massive survey of India that he undertook became one of the most spectacular and wide-ranging knowledge production initiatives in British colonial history.

Tobias Wolffhardt is a Research Fellow at the Bundeswehr University Munich. For his research on Colin Mackenzie he was awarded the German Historical Institute London’s Wolfgang J. Mommsen Prize in 2010

Series: Volume 6, Studies in British and Imperial History
Subject: Colonialism 18th/19th Century History
Area: Asia Europe

BISAC: HIS016000 HISTORY/Historiography; HIS015050 HISTORY/Europe/Great Britain/Georgian Era (1714-1837)

BIC: HBTQ Colonialism & imperialism; HBLL Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900


List of Illustrations
Note on the Text and Sources


Chapter 1. Scottish Experiences
Chapter 2. Building an East Indian Career
Chapter 3. On the Route: From Military Imperatives to the Tasks of Government
Chapter 4, Mackenzie’s Survey
Chapter 5. Mapping History, Producing Territory
Chapter 6. Knowledge for the Future
Chapter 7. The Past in the Present
Chapter 8. The Surveyor General



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