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The Global IndiesBritish Imperial Culture and the Reshaping of the World, 1756-1815$
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Ashley L. Cohen

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780300239973

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300239973.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

A Black British Racial Formation

A Black British Racial Formation

Julius Soubise in London and Calcutta

(p.78) Two A Black British Racial Formation
The Global Indies

Ashley L. Cohen

Yale University Press

This chapter uses the Indies mentality to relearn British racial discourse, focusing on Julius Soubise, the Afro-British assistant of celebrity fencing master Domenico Angelo. During his own lifetime, Soubise's celebrity rivaled that of his better remembered Afro-British contemporaries, Olaudah Equiano and Ignatius Sancho. Soubise's “life geography” overflowed the borders of the Black Atlantic: born in Saint Kitts, he grew up in London and spent the last two decades of his life in Calcutta. The chapter first details his time in London, where he catalyzed tropologies of Eastern royalty in order to fashion himself as a “Black Prince,” thereby carving out a racialized but still exalted place for himself in the beau monde. It then follows Soubise to Calcutta, tracing how his racial self presentation altered in his journey from metropole to colony, from the circum-Atlantic to India. While British ideas about race certainly traveled from the former to the latter, India's colonial racial formation was also shaped by Mughal precedents. Indeed, aspects of the subcontinent's Indo-Persian racial formation even migrated westward through imperial networks, influencing the evolution of racial ideologies in the British Atlantic world.

Keywords:   Indies mentality, British racial discourse, Julius Soubise, Black Atlantic, Eastern royalty, racial self presentation, India, colonial racial formation, Indo-Persian racial formation, British Atlantic

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